About Alabama State University
Alabama State University is a student-centered, nurturing, comprehensive and diverse public historically black University committed to achieving excellence in teaching, research and public service. The University fulfills its mission through fostering critical thought, artistic creativity, professional competence and responsible citizenship in its students; by adding to the body of knowledge to enhance the quality of life through research and discovery; and by helping to advance the state and nation through thoughtful public service. Offering baccalaureate through doctorate degrees, the University maintains a scholarly and creative faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and a living atmosphere in which all members of the campus community can work and learn in pleasant and rewarding surroundings. Consistent with its assurance that race, gender nor economic status inhibits intelligence, creativity or achievement, ASU offers a bridge to success for those who commit to pursuing the building blocks of development, focus, persistence and reward. Alabama State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools -- Commission on Colleges (SACS).
In order for a University to effectively fulfill its purpose, it must pursue a vision, and that vision must be sufficiently bold to shape the institution for decades to come. Thus is the vision of Alabama State University. Utilizing carefully husbanded human and monetary resources, the entire ASU constituency will contribute to the transformation of the University into an institution unlike the one that currently exists. Our vision is that by 2020, ASU will be transformed into a Level VI Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACS COC) classified institution, offering doctoral degrees in four or more major academic or professional disciplines. In realizing its mission, ASU will become one of the premiere comprehensive and diverse institutions of higher education in the State of Alabama through achieving excellence in teaching, research and public service.
Over the past 142 years, various social and historical changes have transformed Alabama State University into a broad, multicultural center of learning of which the primary purpose is to develop leadership, knowledge and service for a complex technological society. Recently, this transformation has gained a new momentum.
After decades of intentional limitations to the mission of Alabama State University and its operations by state policies and low funding, a group of alumni and others sued the State of Alabama in 1981, alleging purposeful discrimination and mission denial. This suit resulted in a case before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Knight vs. Alabama, which was heard by United States District Judge Harold J. Murphy. In a decree that was handed down August 1, 1995, and amended on September 26, 1995, Judge Murphy ordered a major change in the support of Alabama State University by the State of Alabama.
The 1995 decrees for the first time opened ASU’s mission to facilitate the provision of educational opportunities for black students in all fields of human knowledge and for the development of bold new programs and activities. As part of his wisdom, Judge Murphy reasoned that a rich future for Alabama State University should be based not only upon annual state appropriations that rested upon the whims of the Legislature, but upon vested and endowed resources as well.
Accordingly, the decree provided for a Trust for Educational Excellence which required the State of Alabama to provide $1 million a year for an endowment at Alabama State University for 15 years and to match dollar for dollar up to $1 million for any year in which the University raised that sum of money during the same 15-year period. The decree also provided an earmarked diversity scholarship fund of $1 million per year to permit the University to recruit non-black students and a special funding agreement for new undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including two doctoral degrees. The judge also ordered that Alabama provide the facilities in which to conduct the research and teaching that the new programs would require.
This plan is based upon a strategic planning process that started 15 years ago and seeks to build upon the platform constructed as a result of Knight vs. State. The long-term “key strategic directions" or goals and short-term underlying “implementing objectives" described later in this strategic plan define two aspects of the University's basic strategy. First, they indicate the relationship between ASU and its present competitive external environment. Second, they establish the broad parameters within which the University will make major decisions and chart a course of progress toward the vision of becoming a highly competitive Category VI University by the year 2020.
This new round of strategic planning gives a full University-wide focus on the emerging strategic issues and opportunities as the year 2020 approaches. The direction Alabama State University is taking at this point in its development mandates that planning efforts become more formal, integrated and explicit so that the University can move to the forefront of innovation and educational change.
All of the University’s goals are important, yet a fundamental issue facing ASU is the one of securing its vital niche in the higher education structure of Alabama by enhancing the high quality of instruction provided to learners.
The University’s administration realizes that it must develop and implement even more effective strategies to capitalize on the many opportunities available in the diverse markets it serves, not only in Alabama, but also across the South and the nation.
The Alabama State University Board of Trustees and administration are solidly committed to the strategic planning process, as are members of the faculty and staff to its implementation. The University’s leadership is committed to cooperation and working hard to assist the University in building the academic programs, facilities and culture of learning that will be required to provide for its students an education appropriate to cope with the challenges and realities of the 21st century.