On August 15, 2016, Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins was selected by the Board of Trustees as the Interim President of Bennett College. Prior to her selection, Dr. Dawkins served as the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Bennett College.
“I am really honored to serve as the new Interim President,” said Dawkins. “Bennett is an outstanding institution with a committed faculty and staff willing to do what is necessary to advance the institution. We will continue to build on the great legacy of this institution during my tenure.”
Since December 2015, her leadership in this role of provost has impacted students, faculty and staff. During the last eight months as Provost Dr. Dawkins provided the leadership for the recruitment of new personnel, launched a leadership institute, restarted academic and living learning communities, increased professional development opportunities for faculty and staff, jump-started distance education courses, obtained approval of numerous new policies to increase enrollment and faculty governance, attained approval of an ESL (English as a Second Language) Center, traveled abroad to Colombia, South America with choir students and faculty, etc. Under her leadership, the institution received a UNCF Career Pathway grant and a Kenan Foundation grant to support foster care students. “Quick Start” was initiated to make the process of enrolling in Bennett more efficient. She is also changing the way we offer the curriculum so that students are able to secure the courses needed to graduate in four years. Furthermore, she, along with faculty, is promoting a theme across the campus to heighten student, faculty and staff awareness of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Prior to her arrival at Bennett College, she severed as the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Cheyney University. She was also the Acting President of Cheyney. Under Dawkins’ leadership at Cheyney, she revised institutional academic policies and practices, overhauled financial aid and admissions, and signed new/updated articulation agreements with University of the Sciences of Philadelphia, LaSalle University and the Community College of Philadelphia.
She also reinvigorated the International Program, established the Ad Hoc Advisory Committees on Retention and Admission Criteria, and promoted a culture of assessment, continuous improvement and data based decision making.
Prior to her arrival at Cheyney University, Dr. Dawkins served as provost, senior vice president for Academic Affairs, professor, the associate provost, vice president for Academic Affairs, and director for the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Academic Technology at Dillard University. Prior to that, Dr. Dawkins worked at Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) for 28 years serving as the chief academic/administrative officer/dean of the College of Professional Studies, former interim vice president for Academic Affairs, and chair and professor of Physical Education.
Dawkins assumed critical responsibilities at all three institutions for successful reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities, Commission on Colleges (JCSU and Dillard) and by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Universities (Cheyney). She also served as the Accreditation Liaison Officer at all three institutions and has made numerous presentations at SACSCOC Annual Conferences on topics such as Faculty Development, Learning Communities and Institutional Effectiveness.
Having worked extensively with faculty development throughout her career, Dr. Dawkins developed national and international perspectives on the contributory roles of faculty and universities in the expanding global society. Her leadership positions include past president of the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network (a network of faculty developers), former president and co-founding member of the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Faculty Development Network, board member of the Higher Education Teaching and Learning (HETL) Association and the Association for General and Liberal Studies (AGLS), and Resource Faculty for the Washington Center’s National Summer Institute on Learning Communities. She served on advisory boards including AAC&U’s Preparing Critical Faculty for the Future (PCFF) project in the sciences, the Brown-Columbia Universities Inter-Ivy League Pilot Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP), and the International Council for Educational Developers (ICED), 2011-2012 in Belgium.
Dr. Dawkins has been involved in strategic planning at the cabinet, college, and department levels for more than 26 years, with emphasis on academic program improvement and development, instructional technology, faculty development, design and implementation of institutional and program assessment systems, policy revision and development, managing enrollment and improving retention, and fiscal development through grant-writing and oversight of grant management. She has proposed and received grants at both JCSU, Dillard, and Bennett from private and federal sources totaling more than 28 million dollars.
Dr. Dawkins received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, M.A. from The University of Michigan, and B.S. from Johnson C. Smith University. She is married to Bobby G. Dawkins, Ph.D., who recently retired as a Senior Polymer and Fiber Associate in Research and Development from PBI Performance Products, Inc. They have two adult daughters: Malia Dawkins, M.A., who is an Actress, a Writer/Producer and an Account Manager for the NCompass International, and Demi Dawkins, M.D., who is in a Neurosurgery Residency at the University of Wisconsin.