Dr. James A. Wilson, Jr., Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of Faculty Innovation and Enhancement (FIE)

PRAIRIE VIEW, TX – The American Council on Education (ACE) announced Dr. James A. Wilson, Jr., Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of Faculty Innovation and Enhancement (FIE) at Prairie View A&M University, as an ACE Fellow for its 2019-2020 program. Thirty-nine Fellows were selected to begin work this fall following nominations by senior administration at each of their institutions and a rigorous application process.

“The ACE Fellows Program epitomizes ACE’s goal of enriching the capacity of leaders to innovate and adapt, and it fuels the expansion of a talented and diverse higher education leadership pipeline,” said Ted Mitchell, ACE President. “Each year I am impressed by how many former Fellows are named to prominent leadership roles, which makes it even more exiting to meet each new cohort. I’m left wondering, ‘Where will these Fellow end up?’

The ACE program combines retreats, interactive learning opportunities, visit to campuses and other higher education-related organizations, and placement at other higher education institutions to condense years of on-the-job experience and skills development into a single year. During placements, Fellows observe and work with the president and other senior officers at their host institutions, attend decision-making meetings, and focus on issues of interest. Fellows also conduct projects of pressing concerns for their home institutions and seek to implement their findings upon completion of the fellowship placement. After the fellowship year, Fellows return to their home institutions with new knowledge and skills that contribute to capacity-building efforts, along with a network of peers across the country and abroad.

“The ACE Fellows program is essential because it has a stellar track record of preparing leaders to take the helm of colleges and universities across the United States. The process of becoming a Fellow is rigorous, and it is designed to identify potential leaders who have been acknowledge for their diligent efforts to make constructive contributions to improve the quality of higher education in the United State as the world continues to become more interconnected globally than ever before. Colleges and Universities must be open to the richness of diverse leadership, and the ACE Fellows program creates a network of talented scholars and leaders who will be responsible for the ever-present transformations that will require ethical, responsible, creative, well-informed, and principled leaders,” said Wilson.

Wilson joined the ranks of the Academic Affairs Division of PVAMU in September of 2009 as Director of the Honors Program. As a result of nurturing high academic expectations and performers, 98-percent of the Honors students completed their degree in four years and entered top-ranked medical, law and graduate schools. Wilson also established a Confucius Institute on the PVAMU campus in 2014 and launched a partnership with Xi’an International Studies University (XISU) in Xi’an China. Furthermore, he sent PVAMU students to Ghana, South Africa, China, Korea, Taiwan, Costa Rica, France, and Italy.

Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing faculty and staff for senior positions in college and university administration through its distinctive and intensive nominator-driven, cohort-based mentorship model. More than 2,000 higher education leaders have participated in the ACE Fellows Program over the past five decades, with more than 80 percent of Fellows have gone on to serve as senior leaders of colleges and universities.

For more information about the ACE Fellows Program, click here.

PRAIRIE VIEW, TX – Debra L. Lee, Trailblazing Entertainment Executive, to deliver the address to Prairie View A&M University graduates and their families at the fall commencement on Sunday, December 16, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. The ceremony will take place at the Berry Center of Northwest Houston in Cypress, Texas.

According to a press release from the university, Up until May 2018, Lee served as the Chairman & CEO of BET Networks, the leading provider of entertainment for the African-American audience and consumers of Black culture globally.

During her tenure, Lee helmed BET’s reinvigorated approach to corporate philanthropy & authentic programming that lead to hits such as The New Edition Story, Being Mary Jane, The BET Awards, Black Girls Rock!, BET Honors and many more.

In September 2009, Lee managed the launch of Centric, a 24-hour music and entertainment network. Under her guidance, Centric was rebranded in 2014 as the first network designed for Black women. She also oversees the company’s current growth initiatives, including international distribution of the brand in Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, France, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

Prior to her being named Chairman and CEO, Lee was President and COO of BET Networks for almost 10 years, during which she guided the company to consistent increases in viewership, revenue, and earnings. She first joined BET as Vice President and General Counsel in 1986 after serving more than five years as an attorney with Steptoe & Johnson, a Washington D.C. based corporate law firm. Prior to that, she served as a law clerk to the late Honorable Barrington Parker of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment and Billboard’s Power 100, Lee’s achievements in her 30+ year career in the industry, as well as recognition as one of this country’s most respected business executives. Lee was honored with the Destinguished Leadership Vanguard Award by the National Cable & Telecommmunications Association and was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.

In February 2017, the GRAMMY Organization recognized Lee with the Salute To Industry Icons Award, on behalf of her major contributions to American music and culture. Lee is currently the first and only woman to receive the distinguished honor.

Lee is a committed philanthropist, holding a position on The Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, serving as President; is a member emeritus of the FCC’s Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age; and sits on the Board of Trustees for the American Film Institute, Brown Universirty’s Center for Slavery & Justive, The Paley Center for Media, and The USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors for former President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and in 2011 was appointed by President Obama to the White House Management Advisory Board during his tenure. Lee also currently sits on the Board of Directors for corporations like Twitter, Marriot and Washington Gas Light.

Lee earned her Juris doctorate at Harvard Law School, while simultaneously earning a master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government. She graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in political science with an emphasis in Asian politics. In 2014 she was awarded with a Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) from Brown University.

PRAIRIE VIEW, TX – The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) a grant of $500,000 to support its effort to establish an African-American Studies Initiative which will be housed in its Marvin D. and June Samuel Brailsford College of Arts and Sciences. Inspired by the Mellon Foundation award, an anonymous donor pledged an added $250,000 to help fund this initiative. The generous donation is eligible for a $250,000 university match, bringing the total support for the initiative launch to $1 million.

According to an press release by the university, the project, Enhancing the Humanities at PVAMU Through African-American Studies Program Initiative, is designed to selectively infuse African-American Studies content throughout the university’s liberal art offerings. The initial concept for the program was conceived when Prairie View President Ruth J. Simmons called for the creation of an African-American Studies program in her first campus — wide address. Having directed Afro American Studies at Princeton and Chaired the African-American Studies Department Visiting Committee at Harvard, President Simmons expressed surprise and disappointment that, given the University’s cultural legacy, it did not have a formal program in African-American Studies.

The Enhancing the Humanities at PVAMU through an African-­‐American Studies Program Initiative

The primary intent of the proposed program is to infuse PVAMU’s STEM-focused university with curricular content and programming that emphasizes the centrality and benefit of the Humanities and Social Sciences in undergraduate education. Funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, along with additional gifts and donations, will allow faculty to revise and expand existing courses in the PVAMU Core Curriculum, in addition to developing new courses within and across the disciplines, to form and propose an African American Studies Program (AAS).

The initiative will provide an interdisciplinary study of the experiences of people of African descent in America and abroad. Scholarly activities will provide students, faculty and the PVAMU community with a fundamental understanding of the social economic, cultural and historical issues framing the contribution of African-American communities in America.

To ensure the success of the initiative, highly respected scholars will work with a select cohort of PVAMU faculty to act as advisors, assist in establishing program priorities, review core courses themes and hold public lectures and workshops reflecting their respective fields in African-American Studies.

“By strategically embedding African-American theme, based courses within the core curriculum, all students will have an opportunity to select courses that expand their academic interests while enhancing their engagement in the humanities,” explained James Palmer, interim provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs.

Potential consultants include:

Melanye Price, Associate Professor of Africana Studies at Rutgers University, (Lead Consultant, PVAMU Alumna);

Henry Louis Gates Jr, Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and American Research at Harvard University;

Paula J. Giddings, Elizabeth  A. Woodson 1922 Professor Emerita at Smith College;

Nell Irvin Painter, Edward Professor of American History Emerita at Princeton University;

W.G. Selassie l, Ralph Bunche Associate Professor of U.S. History and African American Studies at Los Angeles City College; and

Cornel West, Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University.

COLLEGE STATION, TX –  Dr. Ruth Simmons, an accomplished university president with administrative experience in Ivy League Schools, a women’s university and a historically black college, has been named interim President of Prairie View A&M University.

Dr. Ruth Simmons, Ph.D.

Dr. Simmons, who retired as president of Brown University in 2012, will assume her duties July 1, following the June 12 announcement by PVAMU President George Wright that he is stepping down after 14 years to return to teaching history.

“I have served this University and the Texas A&M System for 14 years, and I am proud of the progress that we have made in that time,” Dr. Wright said. “But for all of us, the time comes to lay down the responsibilities that go with a job like this one and focus on other things.”

Dr. Wright had continued to teach and do research while serving as President, but he expressed a desire to devote his time to the classroom.

During President Wright’s tenure, Prairie View A&M enrollment grew from 6,500 to 9,000 while the university advanced academically, creating doctorates in education, engineering, nursing practice and juvenile justice. Both the Confucius Institute and the Honors College were also established under President Wright’s leadership.

“I want to thank President Wright for his steadfast leadership,” said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp. “He touched a generation of students and faculty, and he changed lives for the better. He is to be commended, and we will miss him greatly.”

Dr. Simmons was President of Brown University from 2001 to 2012. When she retired from Brown University, she returned to her hometown of Houston where her family still lives. Prior to her time at Brown, she was President of Smith College, the nation’s largest women’s university; a Vice Provost at Princeton University; and a Provost at Spelman College, a historically black college.

“We are fortunate to have such a high-caliber scholar and administrator who can step in without missing a beat,” said Sharp. “Dr. Simmons has been an important figure on the national stage for decades. She has the credentials to be president of any university in America. I am so excited to have her join us.”

Dr. Simmons, who attended the Houston public schools, attributed her education at Dillard University, a historically black college in New Orleans, as the pivotal opportunity in her life. She later got her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University.

It was important, Dr. Simmons said, to start before the fall semester. Her first order of business will be to meet with the university leadership and learn the issues facing the campus community.

 

Prairie View A&M University History and Mission

Prairie View A&M University is a state-assisted, public, comprehensive land grant institution of higher education. The unviersity was designated in 1984 amendment to the Texas Constitution as an “institution of the first class.” It is dedicated to achieving excellence and relevance in teaching, research and service. it seeks to invest in program and service that address issues and challenges affecting the diverse ethnic and socioeconomic population of Texas and the larger society including the global arena. The university seeks to provide a high quality educational experience for students who, upon completion of bachelors, masters, or doctorate degrees, posses self-sufficiency and professional competences. The experience is imbued by the institution’s values including, but not limited to, access and quality, accountability, diversity, leadership, relevance, and social responsibility.

For more information about PVAMU, visit their website at www.pvamu.edu.