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 email@example.com.
School of Architecture Professor Shares Love of Art with Students
Prairie View A&M University Assistant Professor of Practice Ann Johnson is a practicing visual artist who continually has her work featured in art exhibitions across the country. She also curates numerous art exhibitions and is an annual national fine arts judge for NAACP Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics or ACT-So.
“Most recently, I chaired the University’s 3rd Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition,” said Johnson. “We had dozens of students submit paintings, drawings, printmaking, sculptures, mixed media, and photography which encompassed this year’s theme, ‘The Awakening: Know Who You Are Before They Have to Tell You.’”
Johnson, an instructor of 22-plus years, teaches African American Art and Introduction to Visual Art at PVAMU, as well as the Fine Art courses – painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, craft design, and book arts.
“I like to explore various topics in my lecture courses. For instance, I created a project entitled Slavery in Five Words or Less. With this project, students place themselves digitally in a text-based image and, within the text, they have to describe slavery in five words or less,” said Johnson. “I have another project where I charge students with writing a letter from the slavery auction block. The students can write to whomever as they sit on an auction block, whether it be a member of their family or the slave master himself. These types of projects really encourage students to think outside the box.”
Johnson is constantly evolving to keep up with each generation of students who come through her classroom doors.
“Each year, it’s a new breed of students,” she said. “If my students don’t learn anything else from me, my hope is they learn to not just look at a work of art, but to look into it. Each piece of work tells you something about an artist, and if you see that, you begin to appreciate the passion that went into it.”
Sociology Professor Working to Improve Prairie View Residents’ Quality of Life
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently invited Dr. Farrah Gafford Cambrice, an assistant professor of Sociology at Prairie View A&M University, to participate on a panel during the 2018 U.S. Ignite Application Summit in Kansas City, Missouri. Her job was to talk about her role in PVAMU’s Smart and Connected Rural Communities Planning Grant.
“The NSF invited the mayor of Prairie View, David Allen, and myself to the summit to talk about the importance of community-based research and partnerships. It was great to be a part of, especially with PVAMU being the only HBCU represented on the panel,” said Cambrice.
Cambrice serves as a co-principal investigator on the project, which originated with Dr. Cajetan Akujuobi, principal investigator and vice president of Research, Innovation, and Sponsored Programs at PVAMU. Other members of the multi-disciplinary team include Dr. Pamela Obiomon, Dr. Noel Estwick, Dr. Jerrel Moore, and Sociology students Chastity Fields, Khirah Wallace Gayle, and Nakia Wilson, who have been attending meetings to assist the researchers.
“The goal of this NSF-funded planning grant is to develop a framework to enable the initiation of targeted technologies to make the City of Prairie View a smart and connected community,” said Cambrice. “Prairie View suffers from limited access to medical services, limited internet services, aging infrastructure, and the city is subject to flooding, via extreme weather events. Smart technologies could significantly improve the lives of these rural residents.”
And, as a sociologist, Cambrice’s primary focus is the residents.
“Through community meetings, focus groups, and surveys, we are letting residents tell us what their needs and desires are, because, in this project, community engagement is critical. We have to hear the voices of the residents and understand their needs before we introduce smart technologies. I cannot express how important it is for social scientists to be a part of this technology-based and STEM-focused research. We bring the human factor into focus because it really is all about improving the quality of life for Prairie View residents.”
Before joining the Smart and Connected Rural Communities Planning Grant effort, Cambrice collaborated with a team of scholars from Tulane University and the University of New Orleans who were interested in the recovery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The research group was awarded one of 18 National Science Foundation Urban Long-Term Area Exploratory (ULTRA-Ex) grants to study the impact of trauma on urban biophysical, ecological, and social diversity using the study area of post-Katrina New Orleans.
Strawberry Research Provides Service to Texas Farmers
Strawberries are proven to improve cardiovascular and brain health, as well as prevent some types of cancer. It’s no wonder Prairie View A&M University is trying to get ahead of the curve by finding ways to help limited-resource farmers successfully grow organic strawberries. According to the USDA, California produces 91-percent of strawberries in the U.S., with Florida providing most of the winter crop. Unfortunately, as it stands, Texas isn’t a top producer.
“Strawberry production in Texas only occurs on about 150 acres, mainly in the Poteet area,” said Dr. Peter Ampim, a research scientist with the Cooperative Agricultural Research Center at PVAMU. “We want to figure out if we can grow the crop statewide, especially with an increase in consumer interest and demand.”
The name of the three-year, Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE)-funded, collaborative, multidisciplinary, and multi-state project is Evaluating Organic Pest Control Products for Strawberries in Combination with High and Low Tunnels for Limited Resource Farmers in the Mid-South. Other organizations involved include Texas A&M AgriLife Extension (Lubbock), the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville), and the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.
“We’ve narrowed suitable strawberry varieties for Texas down to four, from previous research funded by the Walmart Foundation,” said Ampim. “We are now looking at different organic insecticide and fungicide combinations in this SSARE-funded project to see which works best at protecting the crop.”
Ampim shared his results at the 2018 Strawberry Workshop on March 26, with producers from Waller County and the surrounding areas.
“The project started with research at the front and center, but ultimately this workshop, and others that will be conducted in the future, is a service to the citizens of Texas. Through these activities, farmers will learn the best ways to sustainably grow strawberries, organically, to benefit their farms and families,” said Ampim. “My overall impression was this year’s workshop was successful. I look forward to sharing more of our results next year.”