Enhance Academic Excellence

Strategic Priority 1

Since 2014, before even the start of Howard Forward, President Frederick and the Board of Trustees have set ambitious goals and invested heavily to improve academics, including increasing enrollment, retention, and graduation rates. This investment saw the university surpass its original enrollment goal of 10,000 in 2020 (enrolling 10,859 students) and setting a new goal of 12,500 by 2024. Retention rates from freshman to sophomore and junior years have risen notably since the start of Howard Forward. And graduation rates have been trending upward steadily – in 2022 U.S. News ranked Howard University second among HBCUs for four-year graduation rates.


Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Student Success

  • We conducted and completed academic prioritization and reorganization to realign academic offerings with national and global priorities, so that at least 70% of programs are in areas of demand, and result in our students having the skills and mindsets needed to be competitive in the workforce of the future.

  • Promote the development and integration of strategic and effective distance learning options, to 20% of course offerings being offered online.

Academic Innovation

  • To drive Howard’s development of new and innovative academic programs, including both degree and certificate programs, Howard has established the Academic Innovation Office (AIO).

  • The inaugural head of the AIO is Dr. Barron Harvey, former Dean of the HU College of Business.  Under his leadership, multiple new academic programs will be introduced each year that allow Howard’s students to remain at the cutting edge of in demand fields, as well as knowledge needed to address societal, cultural and technological developments.  These programs are partnering with our eLearning & Online Instruction initiative to ensure that new academic programs are available in multiple formats that meet the needs of our students.

  • Invest in state-of-the-art, sliding-edge technology across all programs, to result in at least 40% of the classrooms campus-wide being equipped with technology needed to enhance teaching and learning across the curriculum. 

  • Create new and innovative physical and virtual learning spaces with enhanced technology to support the research enterprise, and exceed standards for sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Recruitment, Retention and Access to Education

  • Incorporate data analytics and artificial intelligence to target and matriculate a diverse mix of high potential undergraduate, graduate and professional student body, to achieve and maintain a 1st year retention rate of 95% and above.

  • Develop and implement an innovative strategy for increasing need- and merit-based funding to increase access, and ensure a Howard University education is affordable for all students, in turn progressively decreasing the drop-out rate due to financial hardship, to zero.

  • Promote and champion University policy changes, financial and academic programs and strategies that drive student success, to propel the University towards a top 50 ranking in U.S. News and World Report.

  • Introduce academic support programs that improve student success, to increase four- and six-year graduation rates to 70% and 80%, or above, respectively, with special focus on sub-group performance in addition to overall attainment.


Professional Development

  • Provide additional educational development opportunities for faculty to increase rigor and quality of instruction that emphasizes retention through active learning and student engagement.

  • Devise and implement a new faculty and staff development plan to promote professional advancement and specialized skills training for university personnel.

Core Team

Kimberly L. Jones

Initiative Lead

Howard Forward: Enhance Academic Excellence

Kenneth Alonzo Anderson

Initiative Lead

Howard Forward: Enhance Academic Excellence

Okianer Christian Christian Dark

Initiative Lead

Howard Forward: Enhance Academic Excellence

Angela Dixon

Pillar Champion, Initiative Lead, Central Team Liaison

Howard Forward: Enhance Academic Excellence

Barron H. Harvey, PHD, CPA


Initiative Lead

Howard Forward: Enhance Academic Excellence

Sloan Sanford

Howard Forward: Enhance Academic Excellence

Ke'Anna Skipwith

Howard Forward: Enhance Academic Excellence

Anthony K. Wutoh

Pillar Champion

Howard Forward: Enhance Academic Excellence

Related Articles