Today, Florida A&M University President James H. Ammons appointed Cynthia Hughes Harris, dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences at Florida A&M University, as the new provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
“She comes to the post with extensive administrative and professional experiences having functioned at multiple academic levels including faculty member, department chair, program director and dean, “ said Ammons. “I believe that she has the vision and leadership qualities to take our academic programs to the next level; to strengthen our research capabilities and provide new and challenging professional development and global opportunities for our faculty and students.
Harris will assume the post on January 3, 2008, at a salary of $255,000.
“I am thrilled to be chosen by Dr. Ammons to serve as the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Florida A&M University,” said Harris. “I have felt a special connection to FAMU since my first day on its campus and this feeling has been reinforced every day since then. I believe in what FAMU does and in the mission on which it is based. Through the efforts of Dr. Ammons and the team he is creating, our future is indeed bright! For me, nothing is more exciting than the anticipation of contributing to that future from the position of provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.”
Since 2000, Dean Harris was responsible for the oversight and management of graduate programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and health administration as well as undergraduate programs in health sciences, health care management, health information management and cardiopulmonary sciences.
A graduate of the University of Illinois at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, Harris earned her undergraduate degree in occupational therapy in which she remains an active practitioner and contributor to the field. She is a fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association, has served as a recent vice president of the Association, and is a former chair of the Occupational Therapy Commission on Education.
Her master’s and doctoral degrees focused on higher education and policy studies. As a researcher, one of her primary investigative initiatives addressed the results of the qualitative experiences of minority students in different academic environments.
Harris has studied the lives of college students to identify and alleviate stressors that interfere with maximum academic performance and achievement. Another of Harris' research activities focused on HIV prevention programs for high-risk urban adolescents. She has successfully implemented such programs in Chicago public schools as well as schools in the South Bronx section of New York City.
At FAMU, she has been particularly successful in receiving external funding for purposes related to the improvement of health professions education and the improvement of societal health. She has served as the principal investigator for Project CHOICE (the Center for Healthy Options and Innovative Community Empowerment), a National Institutes of Health funded grant focused on the elimination of health disparities in rural and urban communities; the principal investigator for the Florida Department of Education SUCCEED grant to increase the Florida allied health workforce; and the principal investigator for the Health Careers Opportunity Program and the Health Careers Pathways, two federally funded initiatives to increase the number of students from underserved populations succeeding in health professions programs.
Last year, she served as a presidential appointee to the Advisory Committee of the White House Conference on Aging and was recently nominated to serve on the National Health Disparities Advisory Committee of the NIH/National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. She has presented her health disparities research initiatives in multiple forums across the country including the 2006 National Meeting of the Black Caucus of State Legislators and the Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators.
Harris also serves as a director on several boards including the National Society of Allied Health and the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions and she was recently honored by the University of Illinois as a Distinguished Alumnus and recipient of the 2006 Ruth French Lectureship. Prior to assuming the position of dean at Florida A&M University, Harris was the chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at Columbia University in New York.
She is married to Michael Joseph Harris, CEO of Educational Success Inc., and their daughter, Kori Hughes Love is a director of public relations in south Florida. Harris is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.