City of Wilmington, Delaware

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January 14, 2022

Dr. Francine Edwards, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, has been named by the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions among its select group of the 2021 MSI Aspiring Leaders.

Dr. Edwards is among the group of 14 MSI selectees from across the country who will come together on April 29-May 1 for a three-day MSI Aspiring Leaders Forum at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. The forum will include a variety of sessions on topics such as presidential fit, fundraising, mentoring strategies, trustee relationship management, as well as crisis communications, and media management.

Each member of the 2021 Aspiring Leaders cohort will participate in a two-year program, in which mid-career leaders from the education, nonprofit, and business sectors will mentor them in an effort to prepare the next generation of MSI presidents.

Dr. Edwards’ mentor will be Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, President, and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University, a private HBCU in Austin, Texas. 

“It is an honor to be part of the third cohort of MSI Aspiring Leaders,” Dr. Edwards said. “The important work done in higher education cannot be complete without ongoing training, and I am fortunate to be part of a program that provides mentorship and insight from today’s top academic leaders.”  


Submitted Photo Dr. Francine Edwards

Dr. Edwards added that she thanks Provost Saundra Delauder and Dr. Akwasi Osei, interim Dean of the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, for supporting her in this leadership development opportunity.

Prior to the recent elevation to her current leadership position, Dr. Edwards was the Dean of the College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences. She began her tenure at Delaware State University as a Mass Communications faculty member in 2006.

Del State’s Dr. Charlisa Edelin, Chair of the Department of Visual/Performing Arts, was a selected member of the first cohort of the 2017 Aspiring Leaders.

The Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) brings together researchers and practitioners from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions.

CMSI’s goals include: elevating the educational contributions of MSIs; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation’s economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSIs’ academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities.