Incoming Prince George’s Community College President Dr. Charlene M. Dukes was formally introduced to the public yesterday at a community forum, though she is no stranger to the college.
Dukes, a 12-year veteran of the college, currently serves as vice president for student services, and though she says the prospect of being the center of attention at PGCC will take some getting used to, her collaborative style will go a long way towards continuing the progress achieved during the tenure of outgoing president Dr. Ronald A. Williams. Dukes is the first female to lead PGCC.
“As a vice president I could always say, ‘The president told me to do this.’ I think as the president, you are it, but my approach is one of teamwork and collaboration, and that collectively, we will do things to move the institution forward and meet the needs of students. So I will always both invite and engage people in dialogue and discussion prior to making any major decisions. We will work with the board of trustees in terms of setting policies, and my job will be to develop procedures to implement that policy.”
Since taking office in 1999, one of Williams’ chief goals was to raise the profile of PGCC, and one of the tangible results of his efforts has been the expansion of the honors academy, which allows a select few of the college’s top students to enter dual-enrollment programs with four-year colleges while on full scholarship. This emphasis on top-flight students has caused friction with college constituents who say PGCC’s focus on growing the honors academy came at the expense of traditional workforce training programs. However, Dukes doesn’t plan to roll back Williams’ momentum on efforts to enhance the college’s image, saying, “I think that what we will continue to do is to work and fight for the respect that we have so rightfully earned and deserve.”
Dukes adds, however, that she believes that the honors academy and the college’s workforce training programs are just different paths towards the same goal for every student — career success.
“The honors program has come a long way and we certainly look to expanding that program, because it says something to our community about quality. At the same time, we have a commitment to meeting the workforce needs of the region. … So what we do is really workforce development across the institution,” Dukes says.
Dukes holds a master’s and doctoral degree in administrative and policy studies with an emphasis in higher education from the University of Pittsburgh. She is also involved in a host of civic organizations, including the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, the National Academy Board of Directors, the Council of Law in Higher Education, and the local branch of the NAACP. Dukes also has been recently appointed to the Maryland State Board of Education by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). She takes office on July 1.
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