I am Black history. I am Black excellence. I am Charlie Nelms, who is an educator and administrator. I served as the tenth chancellor of North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina.
I was born in Crawfordsville, Arkansas in 1946, and I enrolled at Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) on academic probation with an ACT of 4, where I graduated with bachelor’s in agronomy and chemistry in 1969. I earned a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs and a doctorate in higher education administration from Indiana University. I served as chancellor of Indiana University East from 1987 to 1994 and chancellor of University of Michigan-Flint from 1994 to 2001, during which I resolved a significant campus budget deficit and reversed a four-year enrollment decline. I then returned to Indiana University system as vice president for Institutional Development and Student Affairs. Since taking the helm at NCCU, I improve retention and graduation rates, I reorganized the University College to provide intensive academic support and skills training for underprepared freshman and sophomores. Two years into my chancellorship, U.S. News & World Report ranked NCCU as the top public historically black college and university in the nation. During the 2009-10 academic year, NCCU observed its centennial. The physical appearance of the campus has been transformed into redesigned green spaces and a dramatic overhaul of the Fayetteville Street corridor. A new nursing building and residence hall were under construction; a much-needed parking deck opened in August 2010.
In 2011, I published “A Call to Action”, a policy directive intended to spur a national dialogue concerning the revitalization of the historically black colleges and universities as an important sector of American higher education.
On July 26, 2012, after completing a five-year commitment to serve NCCU, I announced my retirement, effective August 6, 2012.
I am currently a contributing writer for The Huffington Post on educational issues and has founded Destination Graduation, a non-profit organization focused on increasing retention and graduation rates at the nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
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