By Mark F. Gray, AFRO Staff Writer, [email protected]
Dr. Charlene Dukes, who has led the renaissance of Prince George’s Community College, announced she will retire at the end of the Spring 2020 semester. Dukes informed the members of the College’s faculty and staff during an address to them on Oct. 29. The process of initiating a national search for the ninth president of the College is expected to begin shortly.
“President Dukes is a talented educator and leader who is passionate about Prince George’s Community College, the County, and the region,” said Sidney Gibson, chair of Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) Board of Trustees in a statement. “We are pleased that she has served this community as president for 13 years.”
President Dukes became the PGCC’s eighth and first female president in 2007. In over a decade as leader of the five-campus-college, she was on the front lines of developing partnerships between the academic and business communities throughout the County. She has also been noted for her tenacity when advocating for resources that continue through construction projects which have changed the face of the campus and through academic realignment that embraces new technology to improve advising and other support programs. Under her leadership, collaborative partnerships, responsive degree and training programs, and a commitment to student success allowed PGCC to address diverse education and workforce development demands for its students.
Dr. Dukes played a pivotal role in developing partnerships with Prince George’s County Public Schools, leading to the development of the Academy for Health Sciences, the first middle college in the state of Maryland. It also includes a Teacher Academy, two P-Tech Schools and the 3D Scholars Program with University of Maryland Global Campus. She was also instrumental in two Information Technology Early College Academies with the Chesapeake Math and Information Technology Charter School’s north and south campuses.
She took the lead in the realignment of organizational restructuring and programs to the major components of the college’s 2019-2021 strategic plan that is focusing on student success, regional impact and organizational excellence. PGCC serves 40,000 students annually on its it’s flagship Largo campus and through its four satellite learning centers.
President Dukes also worked closely with former County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III as co-chair of the task force for the development of the Prince George’s County Promise Scholarship. The scholarship provides financial support for college students graduating from Prince George’s County Public Schools.
Her tenure will also be marked for the improvements to the facilities on the 52-year-old Largo campus and many of the College’s degree and extension sites. Dr. Dukes helped initiate the renovations to Bladen Hall and the Center for Health Studies. Her legacy will also be marked by the construction of the Culinary Arts Center and the Center for the Performing Arts, both of which have opened within the last year. As enrollment increased, she led initiatives for additional square footage at University Town Center and Laurel College Center. As her final semester begins, new construction and renovation will begin on the largest and oldest classroom building, Marlboro Hall.
President Dukes served as vice president for Student Services at PGCC prior to becoming president. Washingtonian magazine recognized her as one of the 100 most powerful women in the Washington Metropolitan Area in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017. She was also inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013. From 2007 through 2015, she also served on the Maryland State Board of Education and was president for those last three years.