Johnson C. Smith University - President

NC, Charlotte

The Board of Trustees of Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) invites nominations and applications for the position of president.

JCSU is a liberal arts institution with proud HBCU traditions and has a future aimed at becoming a premier professional liberal arts HBCU, providing students with high-quality academic, professional and personal learning experiences that lead to top career outcomes.

JCSU is serving approximately 1,100 students across 23 degree-seeking programs. In addition to being ranked the #1 private HBCU in North Carolina by U.S. News & World Report, JCSU has a national reputation for integrating the liberal arts with business, the sciences and technology in innovative, socially conscious ways, empowering tomorrow’s diverse entrepreneurial citizens and leaders.

As the only HBCU in the City of Charlotte, JCSU boasts strong community relationships and strategic partnerships with businesses, corporations and professional groups — partnerships that bolster the university’s emphasis on experiential learning, including internships and summer employment opportunities, in order to best prepare students for the world after graduation. JCSU plays an active role in the community, serving as a catalyst for building and sustaining assets and resources in surrounding neighborhoods and throughout the City of Charlotte.

The university seeks a seasoned and innovative leader to implement a progressive and evolving strategy for excellence and growth. The outgoing president and Board of Trustees have set forth a bold agenda for the university that will move the university towards its aspirations to be a top-10 HBCU. The university’s strategic plan, The Gold(en) Blueprint: Constructing Revolutionary Change, outlines four strategic pillars that provide a clear vision for the future of JCSU as a thriving institution that transforms the lives of students, drives the growth and prosperity of the Historic West End and contributes to Charlotte’s knowledgeable, highly-skilled and creative workforce. The University also recently received pledges in excess of $80 million as a part of the Mayor of Charlotte, Vi Lyles’ Racial Equity Initiative. The Racial Equity Initiative is a $250 million community-wide public-private partnership to advance racial equity in Charlotte. The funds from this initiative will be used to address inequalities and remove barriers to opportunity through four key workstreams: bridging the digital divide and establishing a Center for Digital Equity; investing in Charlotte’s six “Corridors of Opportunity” neighborhoods; transforming JCSU into a top-tier, career-focused HBCU; and ensuring organizations commit to racial equity through advancing more Black and Brown leaders within their individual corporations. Along with promoting academic excellence, bolstering career outcomes and increasing student recruitment and retention, the initiative aims to make the school and its graduates more competitive, open doors to corporations and put individuals on the path to leadership.

JCSU’s next president will be an experienced senior leader with extraordinary vision and have the ability to lead innovation in higher education. Over the next three to five years, the president must address the university’s most pressing needs, which include the development of signature academic programs that are aligned to local and regional market demand; increase enrollment and retention of students; the implementation of a comprehensive talent management strategy for faculty and staff; and addressing critical infrastructure and facilities priorities.

JCSU seeks candidates who have a commitment to and understanding of the HBCU mission and of the diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds of JCSU’s student population. The ideal candidate will possess a combination of academic credentials, demonstrated transformational leadership within higher education and strong financial acumen. The successful candidate must have significant experience and evidence of success as a senior-level leader of an institution or organization of substantial complexity and the ability to build and retain a talented team. The president must exemplify the character and qualities expected in a highly visible and trusted university and community leader.

WittKieffer is assisting Johnson C. Smith University in this search. All applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in the leadership profile.

For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by April 3, 2023. Application materials should be submitted using the buttons below. Nominations and inquiries can be directed to Christine J. Pendleton, Darrien Davenport and Jevon Walton at

Johnson C. Smith University is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability or veteran’s status as it relates to student enrollment or hiring.