Cheyney University announces new Provost

Updated:  8/01/2013 11:39 AM CST BY TOM JOYNER FOUNDATION



Contact: Public Relations Director

Gwen Owens, 610 399-2121 or

Pam Carter, 610 399-2515

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  New Provost Set to Start at  Cheyney University in August

Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins will become Cheyney University of Pennsylvania’s new provost on August 5, 2013


CHEYNEY, PA- July 23, 2013 — Cheyney University of Pennsylvania President Michelle Howard-Vital has announced that Phyllis Worthy Dawkins, PhD, will become CU’s new Provost effective August 5, 2013.

Previously serving as Provost, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Education/Psychology at Dillard University, Dr. Dawkins has also fulfilled the roles of Associate Provost, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Director for the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Academic Technology at Dillard since 2009. At Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU), she was the former Chief Academic/Administrative Officer/Dean of the College of Professional Studies, former Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs, Chair, and a Professor of Physical Education.

Dr. Dawkins is excited about moving to the Philadelphia region.  “It is such a beautiful area,” she said while taking care of business on campus this week.  “The countryside and green grass is so beautiful.  I’ve been to more than 60 HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and this is probably one of the prettiest campuses.  It’s in a great location and I just love the quad because I love old buildings.”  Dawkins says she’ll probably spend most of her lunch time sitting on the historic quadrangle that is synonymous with Cheyney University.

Dr. Dawkins’s Experience

Dr. Dawkins has a strong track record.  She assumed critical responsibilities at both Dillard and JSCU for successful reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities (two at JCSU and one at Dillard). She has also served as the Accreditation Liaison Officer at both institutions and has made numerous presentations at Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Annual Conferences on topics such as Faculty Development, Learning Communities and Institutional Effectiveness. Dr. Dawkins is trained to chair on- and off-site committees for SACS and provides accreditation and institutional effectiveness consultation to other colleges and universities.

As a recognized leader in accreditation, Dr. Dawkins served on the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, Section III Accreditation, Department of Education, representing UNCF (United Negro College Fund) and minority serving institutions.

Dr. Dawkins has been involved in strategic planning at the cabinet, college, and department levels for more than 25 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 and Dillard from private and federal sources totaling more than 28 million dollars.

“I strongly believe in working with visionary people, successful people and people who are interested in being leaders” Dawkins said.  “It takes a lot of leaders to change a culture and it takes a lot of people with vision to move a campus into the future.”  In coming to Cheyney University and taking over as Provost, Dawkins says it’s not about her–“It’s about what we can collectively do together to grow Cheyney and put it in the forefront of higher education.”

Dr. Dawkins is coming to Cheyney University for the opportunities.  She’s moving from the south to north for the first time in her life.  She’s leaving a private higher education experience for a public one.  And she’ll be dealing with on campus unions for the first time in her career.

“I would love to diversify Cheyney’s campus,” Dawkins asserts.  “I’d like to bring in students from India, Ghana, China, and Brazil.”  She brought Brazilian students to Dillard through the HBCU Brazilian Alliance which comes out of the White House Initiative on HBCU’s.  In addition, she hopes to work closely with Cheyney University faculty, expand online, weekend and evening classes and help grow CU’s graduate programs.

More about Dr. Dawkin’s

Having worked extensively with faculty development, Dr. Dawkins has developed national and international perspectives on the contributory roles of faculty and universities in the expanding global society. 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), Resource Faculty for the National Summer Institute on Learning Communities, and member of two Advisory Boards: AAC&U’s Preparing Critical Faculty for the Future (PCFF) project in the sciences, and the Brown-Columbia Universities Inter-Ivy League Pilot Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP).  Dr. Dawkins has participated with these various organizations by traveling to Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Ghana, Jamaica, and next week to India.  She also serves on the Melton Foundation Board which is composed of institutional members from China, Chile, India, Germany and the U.S.

Dawkins received the Doctorate of Philosophy from The Ohio State University, Master of Arts from The University of Michigan, and Bachelor of Science from Johnson C. Smith University. In addition, Dr. Dawkins received leadership certificates from Harvard University, Hampton University, and UNCF. She and her husband, Dr. Bobby G. Dawkins, have two daughters.

About Cheyney

A liberal arts university, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania hosts signature programs such as the Keystone Honors Academy, the Call Me Mister teaching program, the Aquaculture Research and Teaching Laboratory and the accredited Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management program.  Recognized as the first institution for higher learning for African Americans, Cheyney University recently celebrated its 175th Anniversary.  The University offers baccalaureate and graduate degree programs at two locations, Cheyney and Philadelphia, PA – Center City.  For more information, please visit the website at

For more information on this and other events, please contact Gwen Owens, Director of Public Relations, 610-399-2121 or via email at


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