FAMU Professor James Hawkins is NABJ Educator of the Year

By: Florida A&M University
By: Florida A&M University

During its 35th Annual Convention and Career Fair in San Diego this summer, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) will bestow the 2010 Educator of the Year Award upon FAMU Professor James Hawkins.

NABJ will recognize Hawkins, the dean of the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, for his commitment to journalism education and his dedication to students at one of the leading HBCU journalism campus in the nation.

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. The dedication to the classroom and to his craft paved the road for advancement for Hawkins. In 1982, the program evolved into the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, and Hawkins was named director of the division of journalism.

In 2003, Hawkins became interim dean after the sudden resignation of founding Dean Robert Ruggles. Less than a year later, the FAMU Board of Trustees made it official and named Hawkins dean in 2004.

Hawkins has led the J-School to many successes. Some of the joys include seeing its student chapter, FAMU-ABJ, clinch the 2008 NABJ Student Chapter of the Year, as well as sharing the joy of FAMU alumna Kathy Y. Times winning the election as being elected 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,” Times said. “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,” Dawkins said. “I am a proud product of his generosity and love for NABJ!”

Hawkins will be honored during the Salute to Excellence Awards Gala, which recognizes journalism that best covered the black experience or addressed issues affecting the worldwide black community during 2009.

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