Education

Incoming Shaw president hopes to hit the ground running

Posted June 5, 2015

Tashni Dubroy isn't much older than many of the students at Shaw University, but when the 34-year-old officially begins as its president on Aug. 1, she's got big plans for the oldest historically black university in the South.

Dubroy said the university needs to have more innovative programs and become a bigger player in the technology industry. Shaw's Board of Trustees announced Dubroy's appointment on May 30 after she previously served as the special assistant to the president for process optimization and as the chair of the department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Dubroy said she hopes to be a role model for students.

"I want to be able to say to them, 'Here is an example of what you can achieve if you work hard, study, stay true to your character and to your dream,'" she said.

Dubroy graduated from Shaw in 2002 before getting a doctorate in chemistry from North Carolina State University.

She said Shaw, which sits on the edge of downtown, within walking distance of big banks and innovative companies, has been "absent to long."

"Companies like Red Hat often overlook Shaw University and head over to Hillsborough Street (to N.C. State) for talent," she said. "I can't say I blame them right now, because we haven't positioned ourselves as a strong competitor in the technology industry."

Dubroy said the school has to make changes to become competitive. She said she'd like to see the school explore unique majors and programs that fit directly to what innovative companies need.

"We need to have more innovative programs. We need to be more responsive to the job market," she said. "In addition to that, we've got to fund-raise."

Like many other HBCUs across the country, Shaw has struggled with finances and retention. Dubroy said she's already reaching out to community and corporate leaders to form partnerships.

"I have to brand and market this university like I've never done before, because the world needs to know about Shaw University," she said. "I have to look at a localized strategy. I have to say what are Shaw's strengths, what are the weaknesses, where are the opportunities and who out there is a threat to us."

Although some have questioned if she has the necessary experience to become president, Dubroy said she's focused on the work ahead.

Dubroy moved to the United States from Jamaica when she was 18, and she became a citizen in 2010. One of seven children, she's the second Jamaican to serve as president of Shaw. Dr. Talbert O. Shaw, the school's 12th president, was also from Jamaica.

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