FAMU honors two outgoing deans with a farewell roast

Two of Florida A&M University’s longest-serving deans retired on June 30, 2022. Cynthia Hughes-Harris, Ph.D., had served as dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences (SOAHS) since 2012. Rodner Wright had served as dean from the School of Architecture and Electrical Technology (SA+ET) since 1996.

Hughes-Harris and Wright served as Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Acting Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, respectively. The two administrators were recognized during a roast at the Meek-Eaton Black Archives on June 16.

Cynthia Hughes-Harris

Hughes-Harris has served as Dean of SOAHS since returning to the position after serving as FAMU provost and vice president for academic affairs from 2008 to 2012.

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As Dean, she was responsible for overseeing and managing the graduate programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and health administration, as well as the undergraduate programs in health sciences, care management health, health informatics, information management and cardiopulmonary sciences.

“Dean Hughes-Harris has been a dynamic and visionary leader for the School of Allied Health Sciences,” said Maurice Edington, Ph.D., provost and vice president of academic affairs.

Prior to assuming the position of dean of FAMU, Harris served as chair of the department of occupational therapy at Columbia University in New York. She graduated from the University of Illinois at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Her undergraduate degree is in Occupational Therapy, where she continues to actively contribute to the field.

His master’s and doctoral degrees focused on higher education and political studies. As a researcher, one of her main investigative initiatives focused on the findings of qualitative experiences of minority students in different academic settings.

In this context, Harris studied student life to identify and alleviate stressors that interfere with peak academic performance and achievement. Another of Harris’s research activities focused on HIV prevention programs for high-risk urban adolescents.

Harris has successfully implemented related programs in Chicago public schools as well as schools in the South Bronx section of New York. At FAMU, she was particularly successful in receiving external funding for purposes related to improving the education of health professions and improving the health of society.

Harris has been the principal investigator for several federally funded initiatives aimed at eliminating health disparities in rural and urban communities. She has also served as a principal investigator in federally funded programs to increase the number of students from underserved populations who succeed in health professions programs.

She has presented her health disparities research initiatives in several forums across the country, including the National Meeting of the Black Caucus of State Legislators and the Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. She was appointed by the President to the Advisory Committee for the White House Conference on Aging. Harris has served as a director on several boards, including the National Society of Allied Health, the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions, and the Big Bend Area Health Education Consortium.

She was honored by the University of Illinois as a distinguished alumnus and recipient of the Ruth French Lectureship. Recently, Harris received the Cultural Pluralism Award from the Association of Schools for the Advancement of the Health Professions. She was also a guest speaker at the Tallahassee Chan Center on the topic of “Racism in Health Care.”

She has also been an active contributor to community communications initiatives related to the COVID crisis. Its current activities and long-standing goals aim to contribute to the emergence of FAMU as a national resource for the elimination of health disparities in underserved populations.

“I’m originally from Chicago although I came to FAMU from Columbia University in New York. I look forward to establishing a new life in South Florida, including being close to my family in Palm Beach Gardens, especially my 11-year-old grandson,” Harris said. “I also look forward to any future consulting opportunities in the health care and academic fields of the state.”

Mary Simmons, Ph.D., who served as director of the Division of Cardiopulmonary Sciences at the School of Allied Health Sciences, has been named acting dean. A national search for the next dean will begin immediately.

Dr. Rodner Wright and Dr. Cindy Hughes enjoy a roast as they retire from Florida A&M on June 9, 2022.

Rodner Wright

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Wright has served as dean of the School of Architecture and Engineering Technology since July 1996. As senior dean, he was selected to serve as acting provost and vice president of business. from August 2012 to February 2015 and again from September 2016 to October 2018.

“I want to congratulate and thank Dean Wright for his many years of dedicated service and outstanding leadership,” said Provost Edington.

During his tenure, he successfully completed dean’s research for the School of Environment, College of Science and Technology, College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, School of environment, the School of Journalism and Graphic Communications and university libraries. Wright is a tenured full professor in the School of Architecture and Engineering Technology and has chaired and served numerous campus-wide committees at all levels.

“I will cherish the memories of those I enjoyed working with, the friendships made and the many memorable events I participated in and witnessed,” Wright said. “I am eternally grateful to have the opportunity to serve the University as Dean and twice as Acting Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs during my 26 years tenure at Florida A&M University. My experiences here have not only challenged me intellectually, but also inspired me personally and professionally.

Wright also served as Stage One Grievance Manager for faculty grievances filed by faculty campus-wide and chair of the Organizational Analysis Task Force comprised of more than 30 faculty and administrators from across campus, which contributed significantly to the University’s academic restructuring plan being implemented. in July 2011.

Prior to joining FAMU, he served 1993-1996 at Mississippi State University School of Architecture as Associate Dean, 1992-1993 as Acting Associate Dean, 1985-1996 as an associate professor and from 1988 to 1996 as an undergraduate academic advisor. .

Additionally, from 1998 to 2001, Wright served on the National Architectural Accrediting Board, first as Vice Chairman and then as Chairman.

Since 1995, he has served on and/or chaired over 16 accreditation and candidacy visits combined, including a candidacy visit to the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates in 2008.

Associate Dean Andrew Chin, who served as Acting Dean of SA+ET when Wright was named Acting Provost, will hold the position until a permanent successor is selected.

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