Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond Named President for the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

WASHINGTON, DC – Central State University outgoing president Cynthia Jackson-Hammond has been named the new President of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the CHEA Board of Directors announced Thursday. She was elected by a unanimous vote of the CHEA board following an extensive presidential search. She will begin as CHEA’s President on August 1, 2020.

“The CHEA Board of Directors reached out to many leaders in higher education to fill this position,” said Board Chair Orlando L. Taylor. “We knew we needed extraordinary leadership to continue the remarkable record of Dr. Judith Eaton, the founding president of CHEA, and Cynthia Jackson-Hammond stood out among the array of gifted candidates we considered. She brings an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience relative to accreditation and quality assurance, as well as strong background and history in effectively networking and interacting with higher education leaders, governmental officials and legislators.”

Dr. Jackson-Hammond is retiring as President of Central State University on June 30, 2020. She became the historically black university’s first female President on July 1, 2012. As President, she led efforts to develop Six Compelling Priorities, which have since guided the university. The Compelling Priorities are: provide a quality academic/collegiate experience for all students; Focus on targeting student enrollment; improve retention rates; reduce time to degree completion; development of graduates with the knowledge, skills and dispositions for advanced studies and professional careers; and increase efficient and effective institutional operations. The tenets used to rebrand the university are Service … Protocol… Civility, now a registered trademark for Central State University. New, focused mission, vision and strategic plans also were developed for the university.

The University welcomes Dr. Jack Thomas as President-Elect beginning July 1, 2020. Previously, he served as President of Western Illinois University (WIU) in Macomb, Illinois.

“I am pleased to serve as president of CHEA and look forward to continuing advocacy of accreditation, member institutions and the work of all recognized accrediting organizations,” said Dr. Jackson Hammond.

Dr. Jackson-Hammond’s higher education experience spans more than 30 years and includes faculty status and tenured professorships, in addition to senior administrative leadership positions. She recently served on the boards of the Thurgood Marshall College Foundation, the 1890 Land-Grant Council of Presidents and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Executive Committee.

She received a bachelor’s degree from Grambling State University, master’s degree in education from the University of Louisiana in Monroe and doctorate in education from Grambling State University.

“I am thrilled that Cynthia will be taking the helm at CHEA,” said outgoing CHEA President Judith Eaton. “Cynthia is the best. She is a seasoned executive, with years of experience and a depth of understanding of effective leadership in higher education that will be of enormous value and move CHEA forward. These are challenging times and the board of directors has chosen a president who will not only lead but prevail and who brings to the position a love of higher education and a heartfelt understanding and commitment to the vital role of quality in higher education in our society.”


About Council for Higher Education Accreditation

A national advocate and institutional voice for academic quality through accreditation, CHEA is an association of degree-granting colleges and universities and recognizes institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations. For more information, visit CHEA’s website at www.chea.org.

About Central State University

Central State University, an 1890 Land-Grant institution, prepares students with diverse background and experiences for leadership, research and service. The University fosters academic excellence within a nurturing environment and provides a strong liberal arts foundation leading to professional careers and advanced studies. For more information, visit www.centralstate.edu.

During the annual meeting of The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) in New Orleans, Louisiana, the SACSCOC Board of Trustees voted to remove Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) from probationary status.

Dr. Everett B. Ward, Saint Augustine’s University president, announcing the news at a press conference.

In January 2019, the University will be notified by official letter of the commission’s decision. A year ago, SACSCOC Special Committee placed SAU on probation to give the University time to continue to make additional improvements, before a Special Committee of SACSCOC visited the campus two months ago to access the institution’s financial stability and institutional effectiveness.

“I am extremely pleased that Saint Augstine’s University has been removed from probationary status,” said Dr. Everett B. Ward, Saint Augustine’s University president. “The SACSCOC decision underscores that the SAU turnaround strategy with support from alumni, faculty, students and community partners is moving the University forward.”

“I would like to especially highlight and thank the Episcopal Church for its unwavering support. From President Bishop Michael Curry’s letters and encouragement, to the Church’s HBCU Committee and their consultants’ foundational, administrative, and advisory support, and to all who offered gifts of prayer as well as financial contributions.”

Financial stability has been a priority of Dr. Ward’s administration since his appointment as interim president in April 2014. The administration, along with external partners, implemented a plan to address all the issues of compliance identified by SACSCOC. By strengthening the University’s financial landscape, which includes improved internal controls, an increase in alumni giving and ending the Fiscal Year 201 with a surplus, Saint Augustine’s administration is positioned to increase enrollment and additional academic programs.

“The Saint Augustine’s University Board of Trustees is delighted to hear of the commission’s decision that ensures a positive future for the university,” said Rev. Dr. Hilton Smith, Board of Trustees Chairman. “We commend the university’s administration and staff to working vigorously over the past four years to address issues relating to financial stability and internal controls. From the beginning, the Board of Trustees and the University’s leadership team worked seamlessly to take Saint Augustine’s University to higher heights. We are also grateful to our external partners for assisting the University during this accreditation review process.”

“As a contributor of major financial, administrative and advisory support during this accreditation period, the Episcopal Church and the Presiding Bishop applaud the University’s academic accomplishments and its continued commitment to the greater community and Episcopal HBCU’s tradition,” said the Very Rev. Canon Martini Shaw, Episcopal Church’s Executive Council HBCU Committee chair.

Watch the full Press Conference.

About Saint Augustine’s University

Founded in 1867 by the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, the mission of Saint Augustine’s University is to sustain a learning community in which students can prepare academically, socially and spiritually for leadership in a complex, diverse and rapidly changing world. For more information, visit www.st-aug.edu.