Welcome to the Office for Academic Affairs (OAA). Under the leadership of the Interim Provost and Senior Vice President, Dr. James M. Palmer, this office is responsible for establishing and enforcing policies and procedures that promote academic and student success at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU). Guided by the University’s mission, the OAA works to:
Ensure the highest academic standards within academic programs at PVAMU.
Create and maintain an environment that supports student learning and development.
Provide high quality, professional services to assist students, faculty and staff in negotiating the academic and student services systems at PVAMU.
Present opportunities for students to engage in a wide variety of activities that are intellectually stimulating, prepare them for post-graduate careers and increase the likelihood that they will successfully complete their programs of study at PVAMU.
Academic Insights is a newsletter, generated by the Office of Academic Affairs, highlighting the accomplishments of Prairie View A&M University faculty, staff, students, and alumni. To have a story featured in Academic Insights, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I have wanted to thank you for quite a long time. It is not for a single act or anything of that nature, but instead for opening my eyes and changing the way I see the world.” This statement is most likely a statement most teachers want to hear from one of their students at least once in their careers. Dr. James A. Wilson, Jr., a man who wears many hats at Prairie View A&M University, including being an instructor in PVAMU’s Honors Program, received that statement, as part of an email, from a student he taught more than a decade ago. “This young man took my course, The History of Images and Hollywood’s Construct of Black People, at the University of Texas in Austin about ten years ago,” said Wilson. “It was my first time teaching the course, which I had created. Interestingly, this year marks the ninth time I have taught this course at PVAMU, and each time, it is never the same experience. Given the political and cultural climate in the United States, this course still transforms me and my students every year.”
Each fall, students are taught, using a rigorous curriculum, how to examine “Hollywood’s” representation of black people and Africa and to explore and deconstruct images, myths, stereotypes associated with people of color. “We critique films that have presented constructs of black people over the years, including the first cinematic film, “The Birth of a Nation” (1915) in the early part of the century, to specific films such as “Imitation of Life” (1930), “Gone with the Wind” (1939), “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967), “Glory” (1989), “Do the Right Thing” (1989), “Precious” (2009), “The Princess and the Frog” (2010), “12 Years a Slave” (2013), “Dear White People” (2014), and “Moonlight” (2016),” said Wilson. “Each one has a “master narrative” that essentially makes black people and people of African descent look distorted. I want my students to think and challenge themselves by asking questions to deconstruct how stagnant images of black people are reinvented. Furthermore, I want them to ask themselves, ‘Am I conscious of a “master narrative?” If so, what can I do to replace these images that are being spread around the world?’”
Part of Wilson’s teaching philosophy is to encourage his students to move beyond their cognitive and intellectual comfort zones and take part in active discussions, thinking critically about what’s happening in global affairs. “By combining my passions as a historian and film enthusiast, I get to motivate my students and teach them life skills through these critiques,” said Wilson. “I believe every teacher should find their passion because when you are passionate about something, it encourages others. It converts the learning environment into one that is engaging and multifaceted in scope. We, as instructors, have the opportunity to transform lives each hour, each day, each month, and each year, and that is gratifying, indeed.”
PVAMU to Partake in Nearly $3 Million Grant from National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation awarded Prairie View A&M University, along with three other universities in The Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), Texas A&M University-College Station, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, and Texas A&M University-Kingsville, a $2.8 million grant. The grant will be used over the course of 60 months to develop, implement, and study a new model to help minority doctoral candidates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields achieve careers as professors in academia. “Two students from PVAMU will be represented in the model, accompanied by eight students from other TAMUS institutions,” said principal investigator Dr. Gloria Regisford, a professor in PVAMU’s Department of Biology. “The goal, along with my co-Investigators, Drs. Laura Carson, Ruby Stevens, Carmen Carter, and Richard Wilkins, is to help these doctoral students finish their dissertations, get their doctorates, and get them on the road to obtaining tenure-track faculty positions in STEM.”
According to Regisford, the students will begin their visits to PVAMU, along with four other collaborating Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), in the spring of 2018, and over the course of three years, seasoned faculty members will assist and mentor them, ultimately helping them develop their teaching, research, and service skills. “They will be exposed to the culture of an HBCU,” said Regisford. “Not to mention, these students will also bring their skills and research projects to the table which will help our university to form more research collaborations.” The model will also involve helping students with job planning, job searching, and networking within TAMUS. “What I find amazing is that we will have several universities inside The Texas A&M University System collaborating and working together as a unit, but yet, as individual institutions, all in the name of research. I believe this collaboration is nothing short of powerful,” said Regisford.
High Tunnel Workshop Helping Farmers to Increase Production
Growing plants and vegetables in cooler weather can be tricky sometimes, but Prairie View A&M University’s Cooperative Extension Program (CEP) knows all of the ins and outs to keep production going. “The College of Agriculture and Human Sciences, along with the CEP Agricultural and Natural Resources Unit, hosted a hands-on workshop on PVAMU’s Governor Bill and Vara Daniel Farm called Extending Your Growing Season: Crop Production in High Tunnel,” said CEP program specialist Dr. Kesha Henry. “We had speakers from PVAMU’s Cooperative Agricultural Research Center, Harris-Montgomery-Waller County Farm Service Agency, Virginia State University Cooperative Extension, and the USDA-National Resources Conservation Service demonstrate to 35 small-scale producers from Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina how to extend their growing season into the fall.”
So, what does High Tunnel mean? According to Henry, it’s an enclosed structure made up of polyethylene, polycarbonate, or plastic that features a frame that’s constructed of wood or metal. Farmers can use it to help protect their crops from wind, sun, excess rainfall, and cold temperatures. “As a result, High Tunnel helps producers extend their growing season by generating crops year-round, improving their plant’s health, increasing yields and incomes, among many other benefits,” said Henry. During the workshop, participants learned about pest control strategies, recommended planting space, and irrigation systems. In addition, they received information about high-value vegetables and medicinal plants they can produce. “Overall, it was an excellent workshop, and we look forward to continuing to provide educational programs that will help small-scale producers, and even people with small gardens at home, increase their incomes and improve the lives of members of their communities,” said Henry.
For more information about the High Tunnel workshop and upcoming events and programs in the College of Agriculture and Human Sciences, visit pvamu.edu/cahs, or send an email to email@example.com.