By: Lorel Durant
Lincoln University students expressed mixed emotions over the news of Zizwe Poe’s move to an administrative position prior to spring break.
Poe, a tenured professor of history, formally accepted a position as Interim Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management. In this new role, Poe will be responsible for overseeing admissions, financial aid, the Learning Resource Center, Freshman Year experience, Sophomore Year experience, international recruitment and the advising center. He will continue to teach, but only on a part-time basis.
This moves comes as the university makes a shift to boost enrollment. According to the Presidents report at the Board of Trustees meeting earlier this month, the university currently has a total student enrollment of 1,994 students – a drop off of 56 students from last semester.
The move has left some students feeling sad, notably those who have worked closely with Poe, a self-described Pan-Africanist who has always left his door open for students.
“Im sad, said senior History major Denia Remulus, “He is the reason why I took the (History) class.”
Other students feel like it’s ultimately a move for the best, while others reminisced on his teaching style.
“Its a good thing,” said history major Andrea Carter, “Dr. Poe is more for the students than any other faculty member. He will make sure we receive the resources we need.”
“He’s real. He doesn’t sugar coat as much and he knows the dates off the top of his head,” said Alejandro Jones, a political science major.
Poe, who holds a Ph. D. from Temple University in Africalogy, joined the faculty of Lincoln University in 2001. During his time, he has taught a variety of courses in the Department of History and Political Science, but chiefly courses focused on the African American experience.
The educator has also served as the faculty representative on the Board of Trustees for the past three years, and has spearheaded efforts to create a Black Studies major at Lincoln.
But in accepting the move, Poe feels he is helping the university solve its long-term enrollment and financial issues.
“I told each of my classes why I accepted the job,” Poe said. “The university has significant financial challenges and there are two ways the university makes money. One stream is donation and the other enrollment.”
The admissions office has already set a recruitment goal of enrolling 625 freshman for the fall 2014 class. Professor Poe feels that the recruitment staff is experienced and he hopes to increase student enrollment and recruitment to the point of success.
“Success means students are graduate school ready and prepared to quickly rise in the ranks of ones career choice,” Poe said.
This is not Poe’s first time serving on the administrative side. Poe was an administrator for 11 years at the University of California. He was also an admissions counselor for the University of California Santa Cruz for 4 years and was on the Chancellors Events and Relations Committee at the University of California-Riverside. In addition, he was a director of African Student Programs at UCR.
He has already recognized that Lincoln must compete with a variety of schools to increase enrollment figures.
“Our competition is Howard, Harvard, and Yale,” Poe said, ” Our lesser competition includes Cheney and Temple, Though I have love for all the HBCU’s.”
Despite the move, the Black Studies minor program will continue with the aim of becoming a full-degree program.
“The ad-hoc committee will continue to push forward. We need more students to take it as a minor,” Poe said.
Jordan Denson, a tutor at the Learning Resource Center, is excited about Poe’s decision.
“I think it s a great move. He has and administration background. So, i’m all for it,” Denson said.