“Accountability: We are Retention Ambassadors” | Coppin State University

“Accountability: We are Retention Ambassadors”

Published Friday, August 16th, 2019

Newly appointed Interim President Dr. Mickey L. Burnim greets returning faculty and staff while sharing his thoughts on how to strengthen Coppin's student-centered efforts.

The Talon Center was filled with an air of anticipation as faculty and staff gathered for the official opening activities of Coppin State University’s 2019-2020 academic year. The day was filled with sessions ranging from understanding one’s benefits and financial planning to strengthening retention. The most anticipated session was the keynote speaker, Dr. Mickey L. Burnim, Interim President. Dr. Leontye Lewis, Provost, described him as “…having a strong track record of working with HBCUs and brings with him a wealth of knowledge.” 

A self-proclaimed servant leader, Dr. Burnim’s goal is to continue to serve with enthusiasm and vigor. He will honor the legacy and vision of Fanny Jackson Coppin and serve the mission of the institution. He will also prepare the campus for the next president. Until then, the entire campus will be “laser-focused” on what is important — the student. Everything the administration, faculty and staff do this academic year will be to: increase enrollment; improve the retention rate; support faculty; and enhance a student-centered culture. Dr. Burnim has charged all with the task of enhancing the student experience by being pleasant and ensuring students have the necessary resources for success. This, he shared, is how we strengthen our campus-wide student-centered efforts.

“We are all here for the benefit of the students through our service. Together we will be accountable.” He continued, stating, “We should all start our academic year with optimism, enthusiasm, excitement and a real strong desire to make a difference. We should do the best we can.”

Faculty teach to make an impact. Through their students, faculty help to improve their families, communities, state, nation, and ultimately the world, by keeping these five targets top-of-mind:

  • Embrace their calling by informing, challenging, and encouraging their students.
  • Use the tools at their disposal, such as the high-touch, engagement system CIVITAS to demonstrate concern for students and increase communication.
  • Realize every faculty member has some responsibility for enrollment and retention.
  • Encourage students to enroll early for the next semester.
  • Remember attitude is everything.

Dr. Burnim also challenged staff to improve the student experience through their service and take time to encourage them. Everyone has a role to play in creating a student-centered environment.

Dr. Burnim closed by imploring thoughtful kindness for those we serve.


“But it was in me to get an education and teach my people.”

Fanny Jackson Coppin