Calhoun brings wealth of experience to new position as Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs

October 21, 2020

Mississippi Valley State University announced Dr. Thomas J. Calhoun, Jr. as the new Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.

Calhoun comes to MVSU after most recently being the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Strategic Matriculant Services at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Fla.  

As a seasoned student-focused educational administrator, Calhoun has held the positions of Vice President for Student Engagement and Enrollment Management at Kentucky State University, President of Chicago State University, and at the University of North Alabama, he was Vice President for Enrollment Management, Interim Provost, and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs.  

He was Assistant Dean for Student Academic Services at the University of Washington College of Engineering. Early in his career, Calhoun was a laboratory technician in the Biology Department at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. He taught experimental laboratory methods in molecular biology. He subsequently directed a science and technology program at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.  

Calhoun believes his immense experience will serve as an excellent guide in his new role at MVSU. 

“I have held senior leadership positions at several different universities, and each of those appointments has helped me to sharpen my leadership insights,” said Calhoun. Along the way, I have made many mistakes, and in so doing, I have learned some things about what works and what does not work so well,” he added. 

Calhoun also expressed the foundational values he obtained related to developing strong relationships to promote university growth. 

“Having the ability to establish trusting relationships with colleagues is foundational to success. People will follow credible leaders when the goals are made clear, and vision is shared,” he explained. Under such conditions, there are limitless possibilities for personal, professional, and institutional growth,” Calhoun said. 

On arrival at MVSU, Dr. Calhoun spent most of his time making the rounds to visit with colleagues who report to his area and those in other university departments with whom he will collaboratively work.

“Establishing these professional relationships will, I surely hope, help me to be effective in creating and leading the important initiatives in the area of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. Let me say I am delighted with the reception that I have received and eagerly look forward to helping to keep “Valley in Motion,” he said.  

Dr. Calhoun said he is bringing his excitement about all the enormous possibilities and potential at MVSU. 

“We are the source of life-altering opportunities not just to students, but to their families, to the greater Mississippi Delta region, and the State of Mississippi overall. MVSU must become better mobilized to realize stronger returns on recruiting efforts, and I view it as one of my key responsibilities to energize that mobilization. It can take many forms, some of which might be viewed as non-traditional, but in this challenging era, we must all find ways to be productively innovative.”

Dr. Calhoun said productively innovative means that “new ideas will be viewed as good ideas only if they lead us toward our goals. In Enrollment Management, the goal is to grow enrollment in a meaningful way. And so, at the core of my assignment from the university president is to actualize our recruitment and enrollment efforts such that we trend toward enrollment growth.”

With the MVSU family, Dr. Calhoun feels the institution has all it needs to make a difference. 

“All of the talents are in place at MVSU, and I see my job as to help mobilize our very talented and committed faculty, staff, and students to be effective and attractive ambassadors for the university,” he said.  

“There is a pride in MVSU that emanates from this campus in a real way. Our students are great, and our staff and faculty are committed to high quality in their work. We surely can improve in all areas, and I hope to be able to help in a way that is in keeping with President (Jerryl) Briggs’ vision,” he continued. 

Dr. Calhoun holds bachelor’s degrees from Tuskegee University in Philosophy and Biology, a Master of Science degree in Biology from Clark Atlanta University, a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration from the University of Chicago, a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Washington. 

Additionally, Dr. Calhoun is an ordained Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He holds the Master of Divinity degree from Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.