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AAMU Yearly Gathering Refocuses on Goals

Mid-Year Conference 2023
January 04, 2023

Wims Recognizes Faculty and Staff Accomplishments

Alabama A&M University faculty and staff returned to campus for a brief annual mid-year meeting in the Student Health and Wellness Center on Wednesday, January 4, at 8:30 a.m. Presided by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs John Jones, the 90-minute session featured several informational presentations, primarily from the Cabinet and AAMU President Daniel K. Wims.

Dr. Jeanette Jones, president of AAMU's Faculty Senate, stated that the body will focus on the completion of the faculty handbook and review the organization's mentoring program, along with its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies and procedures.

Information Technology Services (ITS), headed by Dr. Kylie Nash, will enter a customer-focused 2023 by honing in on security; making updates to the Internet infrastructure (i.e., broad band, wi-fi, residence halls, etc.); supporting its full-time walk-up help desk; initiating an awareness and security testing program targeting faculty and staff; and rolling out new comprehensive-use  identification cards between the summer and fall sessions.

Jamal Ali, vice president for marketing, communication and advancement, stressed his area's push for brand consistency and expanding the licensed use of University images.  Fundraising for the Marching Maroon and White Band's participation in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will be a key initiative for 2023, Ali said.  Additional emphasis will be placed on the University's mammoth "Reimagine Campaign," utilizing a consulting firm to set parameters and acquire data via extensive campus interviews this month.  The information also will be instrumental in launching a major media blitz as the University plans to celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2025.

AAMU's Business and Finance component will welcome new leadership in mid January with the arrival of Carlton Spellman, who will join the Cabinet as interim vice president for business and finance/CFO.  He has served in key senior fiscal affairs positions at several universities over a 30-year span.  Acting CFO Gregory Jackson welcomed seven new employees in the comptroller and transportation units.

The three-legged stool attributed to 1890 land-grant institutions like AAMU (i.e., education, research and extension) will be transformed with the addition of a leg for "innovation," according to Dr. Majed El-Dweik, vice president for research and economic development.  El-Dweik's new division includes such service units as the AAMU RISE Foundation; the Office of Institutional Planning, Research and Effectiveness; the Office of Government Affairs, Relations and Communications; the Office of Sponsored Programs; and the Office of Research Compliance.  The VP said 2023 should bring the division a step closer toward its aim to make AAMU a research two (R2) university and the establishment of centers of excellence.

Dr. Braque Talley, vice president for student affairs, noted an ambitious student enrollment goal for fall 2023, but he charged the audience to join the important retention effort.  He welcomed nearly 40 new staff members to his division and AAMU.

General Counsel Rochelle A. Conley explained her area's responsibilities in terms of agreements, contracts and MOUs, and provided information on how to interact with the office.  She went on to remind faculty and staff that the AAMU campus is a "gun-free" zone.

Athletic Director Paul Bryant expressed his commitment to achieving "excellence in all areas."  He added that Athletics will boost academic monitoring to the extent that the study hall will become a "tutor hall."  Bryant said Athletics will take on a "student-centered" approach to its decision making processes and will request from faculty "meaningful feedback" on student athletes.

Provost John Jones emphasized the importance of the First-Year Experience, university-wide retention efforts, and persistance.  He welcomed new employees for Academic Affairs (12) and the four colleges:  Agricultural, Life and Natural Sciences (29 new faculty and staff); Business and Public Affairs (15); Education, Humanities and Behavioral Sciences (25) and Engineering, Technology and Physical Sciences (11).

To close out the session, AAMU President Daniel K. Wims acknowledged the contributions of the faculty, staff and supporters of the Bulldog Players and Professors Jill Coon and Shonda Devine leading up to the performance of "The Wiz."  Other faculty and staff recognized by President Wims for various accomplishments at the conference included (alphabetically):


Dr. Mohan Aggarwal

Dr. Stephen Babalola

Diane Banks

Dr. Nathan Blom

Dr. Satilmis Budak

Dr. Duncan Chembezi

Yvette Clayton

Kim Davis

Dr. Tonya Davis

Dr. Matthew Edwards

Dr. Vernessa Edwards

Dr. Karnita Garner

Aleshia Grant

Dwayne Green

Dr. Padmaja Guggilla

Dr. Kaveh Heidary

Elvin Jenkins

Dr. Jonathan Lassiter

Dr. Dawn Lemke

Karla Miller

Terri Miller

Dr. Andrea Morris

Dr. Elica Moss

Dr. Kozma Naka

Dr. Bobwealth Omontese

Wesley Ortiz

Dr. Xiaoqing "Cathy" Qian

Dr. Shannon Reeves

Dr. Paul Ruffin

Jerome Saintjones

Dr. Andrew Scott

Dr. Allyson Shabel

Scott Smith

Tanisha Smith

Taurus Smith

Dr. Samantha Strachan

Sandra Stubbs

Dr. Wubishet Tadesse

Dr. Charlotte Teague

Melody Tiemann

Dr. Lloyd Walker

Dr. Lena Walton

Dr. Angela Williams

Brenda Williams

Dr. Zhigang Xiao

 by Jerome Saintjones