Education has always played important role in reshaping lives and building the future. Today, however, in the era of Global Warming, pandemic, and space missions education is playing crucial role.
And educational leaders are at the forefront of nurturing today’s generation to be a part of the corporate growth, space, technology, and science evolution as well as social responsibility for the sustainable future.
With successful leadership educational institutes turn into the fest and quest of learning where students are not only educated but challenged, encouraged, and nurtured.
Successful education leaders have very well known the importance of taking students as well as faculty together in this quest. Such leaders have long been focusing on empowering their faculty to create, adopt, and enhance creative, collaborative, and inclusive learning environments.
Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr., President of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (AAMU) is one such dynamic leader leveraging his higher education achievements and long experience in the education sector towards the growth of the university and betterment of students.
Tell us about the genesis of AAMU.
It was founded by Dr. William Hooper Councill, a former slave, in 1875 with a motto to provide education to Americans who were allowed to be enslaved during the Civil War.
Reflecting on its heritage as a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), AAMU is taking forward the legacy of nurturing minds to be responsible citizens of the world. As 1890 land-grant institution today, AAMU functions as a public service institution.
How do you think the education at AAMU and HBCU is making difference in students’ lives?
I still remember the time when I stepped as the President of AAMU. If I have to reflect on my first 100 days at the University, I remember a few aspects of the institution that had interestingly caught my attention to date. One of them was the effective ways our faculty used through our programs to educate African American students to make them ready for the competitive job market as well as communal responsibility ahead of them.
As the country has slowly opened up to nurturing all-inclusive society HBCU, AAMU has expanded its educational influence over the years.
Today, higher education institutions have a tremendous responsibility in this nation that is only achieved by recognizing and granting opportunities for every individual. For which HBCUs will have to focus on building comprehensive programs to encourage the ability of students to strive for success.
How do you think educational institutions play the role of shaping future leaders?
In my decade of experience leading AAMU, I have observed that the right school makes all the difference in students’ lives. I always advise students and youngsters to seek a school that not only provides good academic programs but supports them beyond academics via a commitment to civic engagement.
I have also seen how institutions partnering with technology to provide faculty and students to enhance teaching and learning experience have improved the overall educational environment.
We are already experiencing this at AAMU through our collaboration with IBM. This Ed-Tech collaboration has made it possible for our faculty and students to earn badge certificates in key technology areas such as Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things, Quantum Computing, Design Thinking, Data Science, and Blockchain.
I believe this program delivers can deliver diverse and high-demand skillsets and make our students ready to be aligned with industry needs and trends.
What do you think the future beholds for AAMU?
The global pandemic in 2020 showed us what we can achieve. We are ready to approach the future post-pandemic with the same zeal by becoming more prepared than before for the unknown.
We have already taken the plunge in that direction by adopting online learning to offer educational attainment within a plethora of instructional modalities.
While these technological innovations are here to stay I also welcome the desire coming from some of the faculty and students to return to the traditional approach. I believe this will nurture a diverse learning experience that includes everything in the journey of shaping their future.