Morehouse College Strategic Plan
Acuity + Integrity + Agency
Academic excellence, developing a keenness of thought, being well-read, well-spoken, creative thinkers—these are all elements of acuity. Espousing acuity means welcoming challenge, critical self-reflection, and continuous learning, and aspiring not just to intellectual excellence, but to an abounding personal excellence. It means striving for the best, seeking truth, and engaging in evidence-based analysis. Acuity is not just amassing knowledge, but building understanding.
Truth, awareness, and morality are pillars contributing to our definition of integrity. Integrity is about cultivating the courage to do what is right and standing firm with the same high principles in all situations, even when no one is looking. Integrity is a pursuit of wholeness—discovering one’s true, full self and working to be that person, as complex as that identity may be, privately and publicly, personally and professionally, in thought and in action. We must produce men who seek to be “steadfast, honest, true” and this principle must live in the way we conduct our work.
Developing acuity and practicing integrity are a part of growth, and growth is an act of will, an expression of agency. Those who demonstrate agency take charge of their circumstances, assert themselves through rigorous academic pursuits to refine and test their capabilities, challenge their (and others’) assumptions, and actively seek new roles and responsibilities for themselves. Those who exhibit agency push themselves to their limits, fully believing they have within them the ability to learn, grow, and successfully adapt to the changing and unknowable future.
Morehouse has graduated countless scholars who have performed at the highest levels in their respective disciplines with unmatched integrity. And while Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. may be the most recognized of these alumni, he was also a powerful example of acuity and agency distinctive of students who have been inspired by mentors at Morehouse. The College has graduated entrepreneurs, disruptors, educators, and advocates who exemplify agency and like King, they have gone on to utilize their independent spirit and to make their marks on a universal society.
We will continue to prepare men who demonstrate acuity, practice integrity and exhibit agency.
Every quality we hope to nurture in our students requires developing independence, but we know that there is at least as much to be gained in developing the right interdependence. One of the most unique and profoundly powerful forces at Morehouse is the sense of brotherhood. Brotherhood is more than just the easy flow of laughs and applauding of achievement. It is a commitment to standing together with fellow students. It is the spirited exchange of ideas where you listen and you are heard. It is a willingness to challenge friends when their actions contradict our expressed values. And it is supporting each other through struggles ranging from academic lows to waning faith.
Brotherhood means working in collaboration, learning as much from each other as from the classroom. It is abundantly present among the men of Morehouse, but is intended to extend beyond fellow students. As an institutional ideal, brotherhood extends to all the faculty and staff in the way we work and learn together, challenge and support each other. The goal is to achieve our most important objective—the making of men. And beyond the ‘House, brotherhood represents a value to be sought in all the personal, local and global communities our students will find themselves within.
We celebrate our alumni who continue to take the value of brotherhood with them when they depart and extend it into their own communities. We will continue to shape men who commit to brotherhood.
It is perhaps the case that no principle is so persistently held at Morehouse as that of being “attendant to the social justice needs” of the brothers and sisters of one’s generation. That means having the awareness to see and understand those needs, and possessing the spirit, respect, and ethic that compel one to take action. It means finding allies, developing relationships, having the capacity to lead and the humility to follow when needed for the sake of getting done the work that is needed. And ultimately, it means using the full power of acuity, integrity, agency, and brotherhood to have a positive impact. In short, we expect and push our students to not only do well for themselves, but to do good in the world—to lead consequential lives. Moreover, we will continue pushing to ensure that Morehouse remains consequential as an institution.
This requires identifying challenges, recognizing one’s responsibility and power to make a difference, having the capacity to confront adversity with intelligence and compassion, and taking the steps necessary to promote change. Indeed, the names of the men who have been major players on the world stage are legion and there are thousands of Morehouse Men who may not be well known but who have, nevertheless, made important contributions. We will continue our rich tradition of producing men who strive to lead consequential lives.
Morehouse is the number one baccalaureate origin institution for black male doctorate recipients in science and engineering, life sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, education, and the humanities over the decade ending 2012, according to the National Science Foundation. We are the top producer of underrepresented minority physics baccalaureates among non-Ph.D. granting institutions over the three years ending in 2013, as measured by the American Physical Society. The College is the only non-majority college or university to produce four Rhodes Scholars.
There are many institutions that can lay claim to having graduated CEOs and athletes, artists and politicians, teachers, leaders, scholars and doctors, but only a small few to graduate a Nobel laureate in peace, an Olympic gold medalist, Grammy winner and Academy Award nominee, a surgeon general, cabinet secretaries and U.S. Congressmen. We are one such institution. Our mission is clear and our successes abundant.
In this strategic plan, we trumpet the tremendous value proposition inherent in a student embrace that focuses on building acuity, integrity and agency; promotes brotherhood; and challenges students to be consequential in the world. While this value is evidenced by the accomplishments of our alumni, it begins with a faculty and staff who have high expectations for these students, works to help students hear “the sound of the genuine,” These words are also from Howard Thurman and help students, in the words of Howard Thurman, realize that “the most important thing in life for any man at any time is the development of his own best self, the incentive to actualize his own potential.”
Continuing this work into the 21st century will require us to ensure that these ideals live in how we do every part of our work. It means creating a culture of acuity, integrity, and agency at the institutional level. Morehouse must be a place of learning not just among students, but among faculty, staff, administrators, and trustees. It must be a place of ethical behaviors and practices. And it must be a place where we each take responsibility and are held accountable. It means extending brotherhood to the entire Morehouse community to promote collaborative thinking and support. And it means striving to ensure that Morehouse strengthens its ability to have an impact in the world, maintains a voice in the important conversations that shape our world and the lives of black men, in particular, and ultimately becomes consequential.