Jackson State University President Carolyn Meyers, Ph.D., on Monday held a news conference to discuss the institution’s plans for its Madison location.
Meyers said JSU’s entire community is “excited” about the project as it is an opportunity to continue to address the educational needs of the Jackson-metro area. The campus will accommodate non-traditional students by offering evening, weekend and online courses.
“We’ve looked at the demographics of our area. The fastest-growing segment of learners is the 25- to 35-year-old group. These are the people who work, who have children, but still have educational aspirations,” Meyers said. “We want to enable them to conveniently have the opportunity to fulfill those aspirations through our programs at Jackson State University. This can be a valuable resource to developing a workforce for the whole state of Mississippi.”
Meyers also discussed the Jan. 10 meeting she, David Hoard, vice president of Institutional Advancement, and Eric Stringfellow, interim executive director of University Communications, had with Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler.
Meyers said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss JSU’s plan for a Madison branch. Butler also was informed that the new location’s programs would be geared toward non-traditional students and that classes would start in the summer.
“That was a thrill for me. I have long admired her, and I’m impressed with her leadership. We shared our plan. We continue to look forward to a fruitful relationship with Madison, the surrounding counties and cities and the leadership,” Meyers said.
During the Jan. 10 meeting, Butler asked the university to be mindful of the signage protocols within the city of Madison. Meyers said the university would respect all of the city’s signage regulations.
The Madison mayor also asked that JSU establish a working relationship with Holmes Community College. Meyers has already scheduled a meeting with the community college’s president to “talk about how we can ease that transition from the community college world to Jackson State University and establish an up-close, personal, one-on-one relationship with them.”
Meyers said she left the Jan. 10 meeting with the impression the city supported the plan. No concerns or objections had been expressed, Meyers said.
The university had adhered to the policies of the Mississippi Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning in regard to the campus expansion. IHL approved the project earlier this month.
Meyers said the campus programming is still evolving. She said some of the programs offered will be selected, in part, based on how they tie into long-term, state economic development plans, such as Blueprint Mississippi. The focus could include health care administration, public policy and business.
“As we learn more about the aspirations of the students in that area, we will try our best to accommodate them,” Meyers said.
Meyers also explained that the Madison location fits into the university’s enrollment management plan. She said the university would like to open other campuses throughout the metro Jackson area over the next three to four years to give the community more educational options.