Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dean Hawkins Named Educator of the Year by NABJ

Florida A&M University (FAMU) Dean James Hawkins, Ph.D., has been named Educator of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) for his commitment to journalism education and his dedication to students in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication (SJGC). Hawkins will be honored on July 31, at the association’s Salute to Excellence Gala during the 35th Annual NABJ Convention and Career Fair in San Diego, Calif. Hawkins will be joined by other top honorees, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien for Journalist of the Year, NBC News for the Best Practices Award and Washington Post Columnist Michelle Singletary for the Community Service Award.

“We are proud of the accomplishments of Dean Hawkins,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Cynthia Hughes Harris. “We are not surprised by the recognition that has been bestowed upon Dean Hawkins and Florida A&M University. He has always created numerous opportunities for our graduates of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication.”

The Salute to Excellence Awards Gala recognizes journalism that best covered the black experience or addressed issues affecting the worldwide black community during 2009.

“I am honored to be named the recipient of this award,” said Hawkins. “Having former students nominate me is humbling and appreciated.”

Hawkins arrived at FAMU in 1977 just three years after the journalism program began as an assistant professor in broadcast journalism. He continued his professional development during the summer as a working journalist with the Associated Press and the Oakland Tribune. His dedication to the classroom and to his craft paved the road for advancement. In 1982, the program evolved into the School of Journalism and Graphic Arts and Hawkins was named director of the Division of Journalism. In 2003, Hawkins became interim dean. Less than a year later, the FAMU Board of Trustees named Hawkins as the dean of SJGC.

Dean Hawkins has chartered the School through many successes. Some of his recent accomplishments include seeing its student chapter, FAMU-ABJ, clinch the 2008 NABJ Student Chapter of the Year, as well as sharing the joy of FAMU Alumnus Kathy Y. Times winning the election as being named NABJ President in 2009 and FAMU journalism student Georgia Dawkins’ successful bid for NABJ Student Representative.

“As a former student of Dr. Hawkins, I can attest to his remarkable and unwavering commitment to making sure journalism students succeed and excel in a competitive profession,” said NABJ President Kathy Y. Times. “He has made it a priority to send FAMU students to NABJ conventions and conferences for more than 20 years. I’m proud to call him a mentor and a dear friend to NABJ.”

The School of Journalism and Graphic Communication at FAMU offers four journalism sequences: newspaper, magazine production, broadcast (radio and television) and public relations. FAMU has the first journalism program at a historically black university to be nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

“Dean Hawkins has invested so much of his time and resources into NABJ and into introducing the organization to a new generation,” said NABJ Student Representative Georgia Dawkins. “I am a proud product of his generosity and love for NABJ!”

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