Dr. James A. Wilson, Jr. Receives International Study Abroad Award

May 5, 2017

Dr. James A. Wilson, Jr., associate provost for Academic Affairs and director of the Honors Program, was recently awarded the Dr. Kenneth L. Clinton International Study Abroad Education Programs Award.  The awards ceremony was held at Texas A&M University – Commerce in Commerce, Texas. Wilson was nominated for this award by his colleague, Dr. LaVelle Hendricks, because of his efforts in providing students with educational experiences outside of the classroom. 

In 2015, Wilson was invited by Dr. Maria Hernandez Ferrier, former Texas A&M University-San Antonio president, to serve on a Texas A&M University System wide Strategic Planning task force for Mexico and Latin American relations. Each TAMU System school was represented and met in San Miguel, Mexico. ‘This was an opportunity for the Texas A&M University System as a whole to look at partnerships in Mexico and Latin America,” said Wilson. For three days in June, members of the task force discussed how their individual institutions would benefit from partnerships. The objective was to look at major research opportunities in the following fields: education, agriculture, engineering and fire science. “My whole aim and goal is to have our students become global scholars and that they would have research opportunities to work in Mexico,” said Wilson.

Dr. LaVelle Hendricks was also a member of the task force and applauded Wilson on how he was positioning PVAMU students to take advantage of system-wide opportunities to do research in Mexico. Because of Wilson’s contributions to the task force, Hendricks asked him if he would receive the Dr. Kenneth L. Clinton International Study Abroad Education Programs Award. “I was really happy to have a colleague and friend within the Texas A&M System that is very much supportive of opportunities for African Americans,” said Wilson.

“This is the first time I’ve ever gotten an award for study abroad programs,” said Wilson, “I was really surprised because I think any time we do a system-wide task force, I am always aggressively going to make sure I represent the very best for Prairie View,” Although Wilson’s primary work is in China, Korea, South Africa and Ghana, Hendricks said Wilson’s work translates to how he communicated the transformation of students who have study abroad experiences. When Wilson asked Hendricks why he was selected for the award, Hendricks stated it was because he provides his student with an opportunity to see themselves in a different place and assists them in understanding what it means to be an African American scholar in the world. “Any place I can make an impact or forge opportunities for our students, I’m going to take the opportunity,” said Wilson.

From left to right: Dr. LaVelle Hendricks, Dr. James A. Wilson, Jr. and Dr. Frank B. Ashley

In 2016, he traveled to Costa Rica with the School of Architecture to promote research in the fields of Spanish, Architecture, Engineering and Agriculture. “When the award goes on the wall it is over,” said Wilson, “What are you doing to further the opportunities for our students?” Because Hendrick’s work is in Costa Rica, he and Wilson are planning to forge a partnership between him and the University’s interest in Costa Rica. He is also exploring potential opportunities for students to study abroad in Costa Rica to further their Spanish.