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A Brave, New World of IDEAS But for the idea, humanity would have advanced no further than the limits of human physicality. Our ability to conquer nature, man and certainly the times, rests largely in the ability to scan and assess the environment and, based on our awareness, conceive possibilities that transcend ourselves. History itself is defined and propelled by the ideas of those who dared challenge and change it. And so it is with higher education. Today, particularly since the advent of the digital age, the common thread among the nation’s more than 4,000 colleges and universities is the idea. All consider them. Most critique and reevaluate them. The great institutions create new ones. Just 28 years after its consolidation, Clark Atlanta University is evolving into a global crossroads for IDEAS that Matter. Our embrace of this construct portends tremendous, change-making developments to the Academy and for each and every student who will earn a CAU degree. Ask any student or active alumni and they will surely tell you that Clark Atlanta is “Mobilizing for the Future.” The acronym IDEAS represents the systemic transformation that positions us to do so. In fact, there are five positional attributes that define the reinvigorated “organizational DNA” of Alma Mater: Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Design and Systems Thinking, Environmental Sustainability, the Arts and Humanities and the Sciences and Technology. As you read this, the Clark Atlanta University community is sharpening its focus, strengthening the curriculum and increasing operational efficiencies along each of these five tracks. We already are the better for it, and the work continues. In this issue of Clark Atlanta magazine, the publication’s very first online issue, we share just a glimpse of the exciting progress in each of these tracks. For our students, our raison d’etre, the University’s renewed focus on individual ideas that matter creates a veritable launching pad, a higher vantage point, from which they can evaluate and solidify their role in fashioning a more equitable, more inclusive and productive society. Through intensified research and creative activity, supported by a renewed focus on faculty mentorship, CAU’s students today are encouraged to take on the ideas that are relevant and necessary in creating tomorrow—a better tomorrow, from the eradication of poverty and disease, to the depiction of African Americans in media, and from mitigating voter suppression to the dispensation of environmental justice for all. We are unabashedly changing the culture of our institution to become a leading center for strategic change in the global community. Each of us here is privileged to be a part of creating this brave, new world of IDEAS, one that infuses in each CAU graduate the skill, knowledge and courage to execute their own ideas. Physicist and author Stephen Hawking once said, “speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible.” Our hope is that this initial snapshot of Clark Atlanta University’s brave, new world of IDEAS that Matter speaks to you. More important, we invite you to become a part of this movement, because you matter to us, too. Ronald A. Johnson, Ph.D. President, Clark Atlanta University 2






EDITOR Joyce Jones CONTRIBUTORS Joyce Jones, David Lindsay, Matthew Scott

IDEAS That Matter

DESIGN DesignEng PHOTOGRAPHY Curtis McDowell, Jay Thomas PRINTING Graphic Solutions Group Clark Atlanta Magazine is published by the Clark Atlanta University Office of Institutional Advancement and University Relations. Address letters and comments to Clark Atlanta Magazine, Clark Atlanta University, Director of Strategic Communications, 223 James P. Brawley Drive, S.W., Atlanta, GA 30314. Unsolicited manuscripts and photographs (5x7 or larger preferred) are welcomed for possible inclusion in the magazine. Selection and publication are at the discretion of the editors. Opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors, not necessarily of the University. Clark Atlanta University is a member of the Atlanta University Center, a consortium of five educational institutions and is the largest of The College Fund/ UNCF institutions. Clark Atlanta does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age or handicap in the recruitment and admission of its students, in the administration of its educational policies and programs, or in its staff as specified by federal law and regulations. First-class postage paid in Atlanta, Ga.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship A Sprinkling of Ingenuity


Design and Systems Thinking Reworking Some Revolutionary IDEAS


Environmental Sustainability Living the Green Life


Arts and Humanities Voice, Vision and a Really Big Heart


Providing a Guild-ed Future


Science and Technology Technology: The Universal Remote Control


The Physics of Being First


DEPARTMENTS University News


2016 Founders Day


Faculty Forum


Copyright Š2016 by Clark Atlanta Magazine of Clark Atlanta University.

On the cover are CAU Presidential Scholars Zaynah Miller, a junior sociology major, and Ronald McCullough, a junior dual-degree engineering major. CLARK ATLANTA UNIVERSITY



UNIVERSITY NEWS the founders started Atlanta University and Clark College, “theyWhen were starting an educational institution under siege. They were starting…when they knew we needed education. This ‘mobilizing’ theme is galvanizing, and it is important to embrace it now because black folks today are under siege.

Julianne Malveaux, Ph.D., Delivers Founders Day Speech Julianne Malveaux, Ph.D., founder and president of Economic Education, the Washington, D.C.-based, 501(c)3 illuminating connections between personal finance and economic policy, and author of Are We Better Off: Race, Obama and Public Policy (Oct. 2015), was the keynote speaker at the annual Founders Day Convocation on March 17. Malveaux, a native San Franciscan, earned the bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from Boston College and in 1980 earned the Ph.D. in economics from MIT. She is a nationally sought-after speaker, writer and public intellectual.

Her perspectives on issues — race, gender and their economic impact, in particular — continue to shape public opinion nationwide. In her service as the 15th president of Bennett College, the nation’s oldest historically black college for women, Malveaux transformed the institution by focusing on leadership, entrepreneurship, excellence in communications and global awareness. During her five-year tenure, the college secured its 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; significantly improved facilities;

and embarked on a $21 million capital improvements program, its first in more than 25 years. Previously, Malveaux was a member of the faculty or a visiting faculty member at some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions: the New School for Social Research, San Francisco State University, the University of California (Berkeley), Michigan State University and Howard University. She is the recipient of four honorary degrees and presently serves on the boards of the Economic Policy Institute and the United Medical Center of Washington, D.C.

Alum Horace Henry’s Photographs to Become Part of Collection at the National Museum of African American History and Culture One serendipitous day in January 1969, Horace Henry, a junior at Clark College who had just pledged Alpha Phi Alpha, joined his new brothers at Ebenezer Baptist Church to attend a memorial celebration to honor the birthday of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who’d been assassinated nine months earlier. On a whim, Hamilton grabbed a new camera he’d recently been gifted and wasn’t entirely certain how to use, and a couple of rolls of film. While standing at the back of the sanctuary, with his camera in hand, Henry suddenly found himself being led by an usher to the front of the church, where professional photographers and journalists from local, national and worldwide 2



media outlets, such as the Associated Press, the Atlanta Journal & Constitution, and others had gathered. To say that he was surprised would be an understatement. After all, he did not look like a professional member of the Fourth Estate, nor did he have press credentials to cover the historic event. But, instead of balking at an opportunity that likely changed the course of his life, Henry began shooting, praying all the while that he was getting some good images. The result was an epic collection of photographs titled “One Day In January,” which will be housed in the new National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. And while most

people would attribute this coup to Henry’s extraordinary talent, according to the author and photographer, “it is nothing short of divine intervention.”

Clark Atlanta Day at the State Capitol

 CAU President Ronald A. Johnson addresses the Georgia House of Representatives.

Clark Atlanta University on Feb. 22 hosted “CAU Day” at the Georgia State Capitol with President and  First  Lady Irene Oakley Johnson on hand to lead an enthusiastic delegation of faculty, staff students and alumni in a first-ofits-kind outreach  to  state lawmakers.   In addition to addressing the House of Representatives and receiving an official proclamation,  CAU Day at the Capitol allowed the University to showcase some of its many program strengths on location in the Capitol Rotunda, including: Mass Media Arts (CAU-TV and WCLK91.9FM), the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development and The Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development.   With state legislators increasingly focused on allocating millions of dollars to the film industry and the body’s   interest in promoting STEM and entrepreneurship in the state, this initiative provided an opportunity for CAU to begin positioning itself as a strategic higher education resource and a nearby oasis of talent.  

 Clark Atlanta University students, faculty and alumni celebrate CAU Day at the Georgia State Capitol on Feb. 20 with Gov. Nathan Deal and the Honorable Sheila Jones, representing Georgia’s 53rd District.  Georgia House Rep. Jones presents a proclamation to President Johnson with David Ralston, Speaker of the House, representing the States’s 73rd District.

Rashida Williams’ Internship An inquisitive mind – and an enduring affinity for CNN politics coverage – led Irmo, S.C., native Rashida Williamson to CAU in the fall of 2014. This past January, the political science major and Panther volleyball player began an internship with the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, working for freshman state Senator Michael Rhett of Marietta. “I like the research part of being a legislative aide,” says Williamson, who believes the Caucus assigned her to Rhett because she has a hands-on approach to getting work done that would benefit a first-time legislator looking to make an impact. “I also help with constituent correspondence and attend committee meetings.” While Williamson is ultimately considering a career as a lobbyist, her immediate plans are just as ambitious. Weeks before her current internship ended in March, she had already applied to serve as an intern for U.S. Congressman and civil rights legend John Lewis.




UNIVERSITY NEWS CAU Partners with Through My Lens Atlanta President Johnson and First Lady Irene O. Johnson hosted a reception on February 25 to announce the Department of Mass Media Arts’ partnership with the Through My Lens Atlanta (TMLA) Youth Film Training Program. MMA students have been paired with DeKalb youth and The Salvation Army/ Boys and Girls Club of Greater Atlanta youth to provide mentorships and oversight during the program. Students will gain valuable knowledge about what it takes to produce a full feature film for UP TV and a documentary on bullying from top industry professionals in the film and television industry. The Department of Mass Media Arts will provide production space for the TMLA production crew and equipment and editing

services for the anti-bullying documentary. Dr. Herbert Eichelberger, associate professor of film, and Dr. Shawn Bulloch,

assistant professor of video production and director of student training, will lead the project.

TMLA Partners (L to R) Chelsye Burrows, UP TV - Sr. Vice President of Public Relations; Michelle S. Jones - Founder, Through My Lens; Lee Mays, CEO, Dekalb County; Dr. Kandace Harris - MMA Department Chair; Tommy Ford - Tommy Ford Productions; Dr. Danille Taylor - Dean, Arts & Sciences; Atlanta City Councilmember Ivory Lee Young Jr., Council District 3; First Lady Irene O. Johnson; Vivian Brazil -Producer, Tommy Ford Productions.

CAU Announces $1 Million Coca-Cola Alumni Matching Challenge

Who is this lovely alumna? To find out, go to Photo courtesy of the Coca-Cola Company.




President Johnson has announced the launch of the University’s Coca-Cola Alumni Matching Challenge, made possible by a $1 million alumni matching grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation. The Coca-Cola Foundation will match, dollar for dollar, any alumni contribution above and beyond a donor’s level of giving for fiscal year 2015 (July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015). The match translates into $2 million in critical  resources for the institution as it mobilizes for the future. “This is a pivotal, course-changing moment for us,” Johnson said. “This clearly affirms Coca-Cola’s intent to honor our institution’s rich history and legacy and, more important, it constitutes a tremendous vote of confidence in our national alumni base, strengthening the foundations of our alumni engagement and significantly bolstering the impact of their individual and collective giving.” Campaign resources are available on the University’s website, They include: a campaign video, with future video installments now in production, archived photos,

informational templates and an online alumni giving portal. Alumni around the globe can give online at give-now or they can text their gift by dialing 929-229-0888. Alumni also are encouraged to spread the campaign through their personal social networks. “Our goal,” said Interim Vice President for Advancement Marilynn  Davis, “is not only to encourage alumni giving, but also to strengthen connections and spark a renewed sense of pride as CAU ‘Mobilizes for the Future.’ Our history is unique in that we have alumni who represent Atlanta University, Clark University, Clark College and, of course, Clark Atlanta University. This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to come together and propel the University forward.” The Alumni Matching Challenge highlights historic connections between Clark Atlanta and The Coca-Cola Company. For example, the first African-American female to appear in Coca-Cola advertising was Mary Cowser Alexander, a graduate of Clark College, pictured left.

Delta Air Lines Honors Legacy of CAU Alumna and Former Employee Tiffany Jackson-Pugh Clark Atlanta University announced in October the inaugural recipients of the Delta Air Lines Tiffany Jackson-Pugh Angel Wings Legacy Scholarship Award, a merit-based memorial scholarship that affords graduate students the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of CAU alumna and former Delta Air Lines commodity manager Tiffany Jackson-Pugh. Delta’s supply chain management division will award two $3,500 memorial scholarships annually through the 201920 academic year to CAU graduate students in the supply chain, engineering or business disciplines for a total of $35,000 over the five-year period. The competitive award is based on students’ academic record and demonstrated financial need. Jackson-Pugh earned her B.B.A. degree in logistics, materials and supply chain management from CAU in 2006, the year she joined Delta. She served in positions of increasing responsibility at Delta for nearly a decade, honing her skills and expanding her leadership capabilities in the company’s supply chain operations over the previous five years. She was a supply chain management pricing analyst from 2010 to 2013, and supply chain management commodity manager from 2013 until her death in November 2014.

Pictured at the Oct. 30 announcement are (L to R): CAU President Ronald A. Johnson, inaugural scholarship recipients Evony Smith (2017 MBA candidate) and Bradley Gilbeaux (MBA 2016 candidate), Delta’s senior vice president of fleet and supply chain management Greg May and Jackson-Pugh’s brother, Brandon Jackson.

“We are honored to partner with Clark Atlanta University in establishing this scholarship award program as a tribute to Tiffany’s professionalism, integrity and compassion for others,” said Delta senior vice president Greg May. “Her work ethic set a high standard and represented the very best of Delta’s commitment to being thoughtful, innovative and reliable. We know that her acumen and preparation was, in large part, attributable to the education she received in Clark Atlanta University’s Decision Sciences and Supply Chain Management Program.” CAU MBA candidates Bradley Gilbeaux and Evony Smith are the inaugural scholarship recipients. Gilbeaux earned a B.A. degree in economics from the State University of New York-Buffalo in 2013, and will complete the MBA with a concentration in supply chain management

in May 2016. Smith earned a B.S. degree in health services information management from East Carolina University in 2015 and is slated to earn an MBA with a concentration in supply chain management in 2017. “We are deeply grateful for the strategic partnership of Delta Air Lines and the compassion demonstrated in honoring the legacy of their late colleague and friend, our beloved alumna Tiffany Jackson-Pugh,” said CAU School of Business Interim Dean Edward Davis, Ph.D. “Just like Tiffany, the graduate scholars receiving these memorial scholarship awards represent the highest ideals of the University and our School of Business. They each have demonstrated a level of strategic thinking, disciplined analysis and the ability to make sound business decisions that elevate an organization’s market competitiveness.”

Baranco Receives Annual Justice Robert Benham Lifetime Achievement Award CAU Trustee and former Board Chair Juanita Powell Baranco, J.D., on February 23 received the 17th Annual Justice Robert Benham Lifetime Achievement Award from the State Bar of Georgia and the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism. The Benham Community Service Awards, established

in 1998, are among the highest recognitions given by the two professional organizations. They are named for Georgia’s first African-American Supreme Court justice, Robert Benham, who hails from Cartersville. The award recognizes judges and lawyers from Georgia’s 10 judicial districts who have made outstanding contributions to their communities and demonstrate the positive contributions of members of the bar beyond their legal or official work. Baranco is executive vice resident, chief operating officer, and co-owner of the

Baranco Automotive Group. She previously served as assistant attorney general for the State of Georgia and was the first African-American female chair of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The Honorable Michael Thurmond, attorney, former commissioner of the Georgia Department of Labor, and the recipient of an honorary degree from Clark Atlanta University, also was honored with the 17th Annual Benham Award for Community Service. CLARK ATLANTA UNIVERSITY



UNIVERSITY NEWS The Panther Sweeps Press Institute’s 2016 Publication Awards Congratulations to Clark Atlanta University’s The Panther newspaper and the Department of Mass Media Arts for winning five awards in the Publications Contest, more than any other school, at the 65th Annual Southern Regional Press Institute, held Feb. 18 and 19 at Savannah State University. CAU won first place for “Best Overall Newspaper,” “Outstanding Editorial and Column Writing,” and “Best Online Web Design” and second place for “Best Online Newspaper” and “Outstanding Feature Writing.” Kudos to our Panther Nation journalists and Professor James McJunkins, the newspaper’s advisor!

Student delegates who attended the conference are pictured here with former WSB-TV news anchor Monica Kaufman Pearson, who delivered the keynote address at the awards ceremony. They are (left to right) Tyler Williams, Pearson, Logan Griswold, and Alix Young.

Alum Thomas J. Calhoun, Ph.D., Named President of Chicago State University

Photo courtesy of Chicago State University.




CAU alumnus Thomas J. Calhoun, Ph.D., was unanimously chosen to be Chicago State University’s 22nd president, effective January 1, 2016. “The CAU family is extremely proud of Dr. Calhoun’s legacy in education as a scientist and administrator. He understands the challenges and opportunities in both public and private education and his vision and life-long commitment as an educator should take CSU to new heights,” said Clark Atlanta University President Johnson. “We wish this outstanding alumnus all the best.” Calhoun will oversee the operations of CSU’s five distinguished colleges, serving a diverse body of roughly 4,800 students. He says his initial focus will be on enrollment, retention, and graduation efforts, as well as maximizing outside revenue. “I am honored to join the Chicago State University family as the next president of the university,” he said. “While there are many significant challenges facing public higher education, CSU is in an excellent position to take advantage of wonderful opportunities to grow and prosper.” Calhoun brings decades of experience

in education to his new position. He previously served as vice president of enrollment management at North Alabama University. Early in his career, he was a laboratory technician in the biology department at Morehouse College, where he taught experimental laboratory methods in molecular biology. Calhoun subsequently directed a science and technology program at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. In Chicago, he was the founding principal of North Lawndale College Preparatory Charter High School, principal at Hales Franciscan High School, and headmaster at St. Gregory Episcopal School. Additionally, he worked for several years in the Chicago Public Schools’ Department of Research, Evaluation and Planning. Calhoun holds bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and biology from Tuskegee University, the Master of Science degree in biology from Clark Atlanta University, the Master of Arts degree in educational administration from the University of Chicago, and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational leadership from the University of Washington.

New NSF Materials Innovation Platforms Program A new, innovative materials innovation platforms (MIPs) program that aims to significantly accelerate materials research and development has made its first awards to Penn State University and Cornell University. The two institutions will serve as “platforms” to develop new bulk and thin film crystalline hard materials through state-of-the-art instrumentation. The Cornell award is a multi-institution effort in collaboration with Johns Hopkins, Clark Atlanta, and Princeton universities. “Our inclusion in the prestigious collaborative is yet another affirmation that we are effectively mobilizing for the future, focusing on IDEAS that matter,” said President Johnson. The platforms will foster an environment available to all that is the convergence of multidisciplinary expertise with the best tools available, providing access to the instrumentation, data and the new materials created. Clark Atlanta will lead the theory user facility and work in tandem with theorists at Cornell to provide modeling and simulation support to these crystal growers (thin film at Cornell and bulk at Princeton). Princeton University will participate in the in-house research program alongside Cornell, lending additional expertise in crystal growth as well. Johns Hopkins will collaborate with CAU in theory (in tandem with Cornell University). Princeton University will participate in the inhouse research program and offer additional expertise in crystal growth. The National Science Foundation will fund platforms a maximum of $25 million over the next five years, with eligibility for a one-time five-year renewal. These platforms, which add to NSF’s portfolio of funding mid-scale infrastructure and instrumentation, will advance a focused research area of national importance and

expand access beyond a traditional user facility. “We see the platforms as pushing the frontiers in materials research,” said Fleming Crim, NSF assistant director for mathematical and physical sciences. “In its first call for proposals, NSF is focusing on crystal growth because the U.S. has fallen behind in this area of science after having been a global leader in material synthesis, which is essential for advancing basic materials research and will add to the important investment the foundation is making in mid-scale instrumentation.”

The awardees will act as a “nexus of activity” for a focused research theme, where platforms are equipped with a user facility and researchers from across the nation who also engage in this research area will have access to these resources to accelerate their own work. This access to a national user facility is free to academic users, which includes not just instrumentation, but also expertise in synthesis, characterization, and theory/modeling/ simulation. Additionally, the platforms will enable researchers to work in new ways, fostering new approaches to multidisciplinary education and training.

CAU’s Phone-a-Thon Team Wins White House Visit As American voters pondered who will be in the White House next January, CAU was there in February 2016! CAU’s HBCU Phone-A-Thon Call-to-Action Team was the winner of the 2016 Enroll America National HBCU Phone-A-Thon Call-to-Action Challenge. Originally, the winning team’s participants were to receive a phone call from the White House in appreciation of their ten-day effort reminding citizens to enroll in a health care plan under the Affordable Care Act. Then, on February 11, Linda Olsen, regional director for Enroll America – Georgia, arrived at CAU with a framed certificate and a very special invitation for the top Challenge callers and the group’s adviser to join the Enroll America Georgia team on February 24 at the White House. Not only has the team enlivened CAU’s motto, “Culture for Service,” but they have demonstrated what can become of a few hours of volunteer service well put to use.

From Left to Right: Amethyst St. Thomas, Marcus Neither, Morehouse College, Diamonique Bryant, Dean Ernita Hemmitt, Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, Lanisha Hall, Ariel Delegol, Breeahna Gresham, Sherace Calder.




UNIVERSITY NEWS CAU Case Team Places Third in National Competition CAU School of Business Supply Chain Management Team recently won third place in this year’s case team competition held February 10-12 at the Institute for Supply Manager’s Diversity Conference in New Orleans. Team members Bradley Gilbeaux, Jazmyn Simon, Evony Smith, and Damon Willis were chaperoned by Dr. Marcia Daley. Other teams participating in the competition were Howard University (1st place), Southern University (2nd place), Tennessee State University and North Carolina A&T University.

Former CAU student Eva Marcille (front, in black coat) returned to her Alma Mater Feb. 12 to tape a segment for her new BET Network Show “About the Business.” While on campus, Eva “the Diva,” known by millions as the third season winner of the popular “America’s Next Top Model,” took time to inspire and empower some of CAU’s most active female leaders. Here, she poses with a group of powerful Lady Panthers in front of Harkness Hall Administration Building.

AUC Woodruff Library Makes History with Prestigious Library Award As the recipient of the 2016 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the university category, the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library is the first historically black college or university to win this prestigious award. Sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and YBP Library Services, the award recognizes the staff of a university library for programs that deliver exemplary services and resources to further the educational mission of the institutions they serve. Previous winners in this category include: Purdue University (2015), Cal Poly State University (2014) and Villanova University (2013). “The Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library is thrilled to be selected for this ACRL award,” said Loretta Parham, CEO and library director. “To be recognized for our demonstrated dedication to excellence and professional services is a validation of the collective efforts of a great library team. As a single library that is shared by the academic members of the Atlanta University Center Consortium, we




are honored to work in support of student and faculty success and cultural preservation. We are truly appreciative of this recognition from ACRL.” The award criteria stresses outcomes, such as creativity and innovation in meeting the needs of the academic community, leadership in developing and implementing exemplary programs, and substantial relationships with faculty and students. After a vigorous selection process, the AUC Woodruff Library was recognized for transformative change in innovative services and programs. The award selection committee was particularly impressed that the library is able to effectively support and manage such a diverse range of users. “While many of us are challenged by relationships with one group of administrators, faculty, and students, the Atlanta University Center manages to effectively support the teaching, learning and research at four different institutions, deftly managing those relationships,” said Trevor Dawes, chair of the 2016 Excellence in Academic Libraries Committee

and associate university librarian at Washington University in St. Louis. The award selection committee also noted the huge turnaround in services and programs, utilizing assessment and data as an important component of the library’s continuous improvement process. In addition to a major renovation in 2010 that brought a fresh, modern interior design to the facility, the AUC Woodruff Library has instituted a comprehensive strategic plan, which is updated every five years, that focuses on key areas such as leadership, financial stability, technology capacity and stakeholder engagement. “The library strives to be characterized by innovative thinking,” Dawes added. “Whether it’s having librarians certified in instructional design and helping faculty become excellent users of technology in their courses, developing a ‘recruit for tomorrow’ program, or having a robot ‘staff member’ provide assistance to the user community.”

President Johnson Weighs In On Georgia’s “Campus Carry” Legislation President Johnson on February 22 weighed in on “Campus Carry” legislation passed by Geogia’s House of Representatives. The bill is now in the Senate for consideration. Johnson, at the Capitol with a cross-section of students, faculty and dedicated alumni for “CAU Day,” shared with reporter Janel Davis both his thoughts on the issue and observations from his days at Texas Southern University. Campus carry will go in effect at TSU and at that state’s public college campuses on August 1. “The challenge with campus carry is that our [campus] police lose control of what happens on the campus. You have people who walk around and they become vigilantes. Someone can be upset with someone and they immediately pull out the weapon, so the police force becomes ineffective,” Johnson said. “You also have people who show up to campus who are up to no good, who

know that people are now carrying, who shoot first and ask questions later,” he said, adding that keeping those kinds of people off of Texas Southern University’s campus was a challenge. As a private institution, CAU would not be subject to the legislation, which would allow anyone 21 or older with a weapons license to carry a gun anywhere on a public college or university campus, except for inside dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses, and at athletic events. The bill mandates that those weapons be concealed — something proponents say make it safer — because Georgia requires gun owners to apply for “concealed carry” permits that require fingerprinting and background checks.

To read more on the issue, download the pdf.

CAU Receives $494,000 from Mellon Foundation for Paradigm-Shifting Undergraduate Curriculum Reform The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in January awarded Clark Atlanta University $494,000 to fund strategic activities in support of the University’s new focus on undergraduate research, a key aspect in its efforts to implement comprehensive curricular reform, through December 2018. “The award acknowledges that our efforts to transform and revitalize Clark Atlanta’s curriculum will not only enhance our students’ individual and collective academic experiences, but also enrich the regional and national economy through the production of graduates who possess the foundational strengths of critical thought and analysis, industry and organizational intelligence and, most important, stackable credentials in myriad fields of endeavor,” President Johnson said. The University’s work toward this goal, which began in 2014 with a Mellon Foundation planning grant, will emanate from its Center for Undergraduate Research and Creativity, led by Asa Ware Endowed

Professor of Sociology Obie Clayton, Ph.D. “It is critical,” Clayton noted, “that today’s graduates have the benefit of a college education that tactically aligns with the demands of the 21st century marketplace. Our aim is to transcend the campus footprint and traditional classroom instruction so that students are well groomed to be competitive in the global economy. This requires that we rethink how we connect students to knowledge and intellectual leadership, how we employ technology and how faculty collaborates to provide out-of-the box engagement. Without these pillars in place, the return on an individual’s investment in the higher education process is inadequate.” Clark Atlanta’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Creativity will provide academic support services, co- and extracurricular engagement, communication and training opportunities toward improving student recruitment, retention and progression. Initial programming will

focus on creating a university-wide culture of discovery that transcends the campus footprint. In addition to faculty engagement, creative activity and mentorship, cross-discipline collaboration also will become an institutional priority from the very beginning of the matriculation process through graduation. “Our approach,” Johnson said, “will center on IDEAS that matter, with IDEAS representing CAU’s cultural and intellectual DNA: innovation and entrepreneurship, design and systems thinking, environmental sustainability, the arts and humanities and science and technology.” Johnson and Clayton concur that the Mellon Foundation’s endorsement of this approach affords Clark Atlanta an opportunity to share in that corporation’s crucial mission, strengthening, promoting, and defending the contributions of the humanities and the arts to the wellbeing of diverse and democratic societies. For more on this exciting paradigm shift, see page 17.




UNIVERSITY NEWS CAU Names Tanaya M. Walters Vice President for Student Affairs

CAU President Ronald A. Johnson (left) and Board of Trustees Chairman Alexander B. Cummings Jr. cut the ribbon on the University”s newly remodeled Crogman Campus Eatery on Feb. 18. The modernized facility includes new retail additions, Moe’s Southwest Grill (and a new Dunkin’ Donuts in the Carl and Mary Ware Academic Building) along with new furnishings, and added space for international food stations and healthy food options.

Global Citizenship Summit Clark Atlanta University hosted the Global Citizenship Summit, Oct. 29-31, in the Thomas W. Cole Jr. Research Center for Science and Technology. CAU is the lead institution for this Atlanta University Center summit and, as such, received a $19,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The summit focused on sustainability and innovation and is organized as part of the Mellon Global Citizenship Program (M-GCP) of the Salzburg Global Seminar. It engages prominent international experts, college presidents, faculty, administrators and students from HBCUs on topics related to global citizenship education. The speakers included Maghan Keita, director of the Institute for Global Interdisciplinary Studies at Villanova College; Anne Gahongayire, former secretary general, Supreme Court, Rwanda; Carlotta Arthur, program director for the Clare Booth Luce Program, Henry Luce Foundation; and Champa Patel, director of Campaigns Programme for Amnesty International.




Following a national search, Tanaya M. Walters has been named vice president for Student Affairs. Walters, who was dean of students at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, N.C., began her new role on March 14. “I am well aware of the rich history and traditions that undergird the historic legacy of Clark Atlanta University, and am excited to become part of the leadership team that is focused on ‘mobilizing for the future,’ ” Walters says. “I am particularly excited to engage with a national student population that is increasingly more global and, most important, eager to tap into global learning, research and service opportunities that ensures a wholesome, well-rounded collegiate experience.” Walters, who earned the bachelor’s degree in marketing and the master’s degree in managerial technology from Johnson and Wales, is presently a candidate for the Ed.D. degree at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. She brings considerable student development experience to this new role. In addition to her duties at Johnson and Wales, where she has served as dean of students and a member of the president’s cabinet since 2007, she also has served as assistant director of residential life, women’s basketball coach, assistant director of student activities, assistant director of Greek life, and director of student life. She was previously assistant director of student activities, coordinator of the Emerging Leader Program and coordinator of new students and parent programs at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. A graduate of Leadership Charlotte, Walters has been profiled in numerous publications, including the Charlotte Post (2010) and Who’s Who in Black Charlotte (2008 and 2009), and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including a Community Service Award (2008) and the Student Life Team Award (2009). She also is an Elliot Leadership Institute Communication Champion. President Johnson says “Ms. Walters brings to Clark Atlanta University the level of creativity and the strategic acumen necessary to truly elevate the student experience here. Our priority is students’ academic and career success. She has demonstrated throughout her career the ability to create and enhance environments that engender optimal student outcomes. We are very fortunate to have her join the CAU Community.”

Hillary Clinton Holds Campaign Rally at CAU Although the University endorses no particular political candidate, thousands filled CAU’s Epps Gymnasium on October 30 when former first lady, U.S. senator, and secretary of state Hillary Clinton kicked off “African Americans for Hillary.” Flanked by the civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, the Democratic presidential candidate unveiled major tenents of her campaign platform, including her agenda to reform the nation’s criminal justice system. “The facts are really clear. The median wealth for white families is more than $134,000. For African American families, it is just $11,000 because African Americans are three times as likely as whites to be denied a mortgage. African-American men are far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison terms than white men convicted of the same offenses,” Clinton said. The presidential hopeful cited President Obama’s Task Force on Policing as a good starting point to address disparities and preventable incidents that led to the tragic deaths of unarmed victims like 12-year-old Tamir Rice and Eric Garner, and pledged to do more. If elected, Clinton said, her administration would work to ensure that every police department

“keep us safe while rebuilding

We need smart strategies to


trust between law enforcement and our communities, especially communities of color. Let’s remember that everyone in every community benefits when there is respect for the law, and

when everyone in every community is respected by the law. in the nation has body cameras “that will help protect good people on both sides of the lens” In addition, she would work with Congress to ban racial profiling by federal, state and local law enforcement, which she said is demeaning and doesn’t keep people safe or help solve crimes. Disparities in sentencing for drug-related crimes, over incarceration, and providing support to people who’ve served their time to prevent recidivism also would be priorities in a Clinton administration. “We need smart strategies to keep us safe while rebuilding trust between law enforcement and our communities, especially communities of color. Let’s remember that everyone in every community

CAU Debate Team Ranked Third in State of Georgia, Earns 13 Trophies Congratulations to the Clark Atlanta University Debate Team, advised by Professor Yolanda West, for ranking third in the State of Georgia and winning 13 trophies at the Georgia Intercollegiate Forensic Association State Championship Forensics Tournament on February 20. CAU was represented by a particularly strong team of debaters: Tahiera Summerfield, Akeema Duff, Chakara Smith, Savannah West, Nikayla Johnson and Lamar Grooms. Special thanks are also due Mr. Stacy Robertson, a CAU graduate student, for providing coaching assistance.

benefits when there is respect for the law, and when everyone in every community is respected by the law,” Clinton said. The former secretary of state also said that a comprehensive strategy to create opportunities in communities of color is needed, such as new investments in education, health care, housing and jobs. She called for a “new college compact” that would make college affordable and for special financial support for HBCUs. “I still believe, as a smart man once said, there’s nothing wrong with America that can’t be cured by what’s right with America,” Clinton said, quoting her husband former President Bill Clinton. “We have to change in order to do that.”

Mark Your Calendars:

Commencement: May 16, 2016 May Weekend: May 12-16, 2016 Inauguration: August 25-28, 2016 CLARK ATLANTA UNIVERSITY




Founders Day

 Clark Atlanta University’s 2016 Founders Day Convocation speaker Julianne Malveaux, Ph.D., signs copies of her book, Are We Better Off:  Race, Obama and Public Policy, in the CAU Bookstore during the University’s 2016 Founders Week celebration.  With Dr. Malveaux is CAU Professor Dennis Kimbro, Ph.D., director of the University’s CEO Academy.  With Dr. Malveaux is CAU Professor James Patterson, director of the University’s Jazz Orchestra.

 A longtime friend of the University, “Silver Rights” activist John Hope Bryant, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, kicked off Clark Atlanta’s 2016 Founders Week observance with workshop on wealth-building and financial planning in pursuit of personal, lifelong freedom.

 President Johnson poses with 2016 Spirit of Greatness Award recipients (L to R): Mr. Steven McClardy and Dr. Jessica McClardy Barber (accepting the posthumous award for their late father, Coach Jesse McClardy, Clark College, ‘57); President Johnson; Retired General Motors Corp. executive Terry Lee (Clark College, ‘72); Dr. Tina Dunkley, retired CAU Art Galleries Director (AU, ‘80); and ESPN Host Bomani Jones (CAU, ‘01).




 One of the highlights of Clark Atlanta University’s 2016 Founders Week celebration was the successful execution of the University’s first-ever Undergraduate Research Symposium showcasing the panoply of students’ intellectual and creative talents. Nearly 100 CAU students submitted posters or oral presentations, ranging from a biological investigation of endometriosis to vocal performances and a fashion show.  The event will become an annual hallmark of the institution’s Founders Week observance.  Shown here are symposium attendees reviewing students’ poster presentations.

 Representing Clark Atlanta University’s undergraduate student body while enjoying the University’s 2016 Spirit of Greatness Gala are CAU’s Student Government Association representatives (L to R): Vice President Adrain Artary, Secretary Alexa Heard, Undergraduate President Gerald Coleman III, Miss CAU Aaliyah Heath, and Chief of Staff Donte Thrasher.

 An annual Founders Week tradition, Clark Atlanta University March 16 celebrated milestone service anniversaries of its employees, including Isabella T. Jenkins, Ph.D. (center in hat), who this year marks 50 years of service to the University. Shown with Dr. Jenkins are President Ronald A. Johnson (left), Interim Assistant Provost Margaret Counts-Spriggs and Career and Placement Services Director Andre McKinney (right).

 Joining President Ronald A. Johnson (left) and First Lady Irene Oakley Johnson (center left) at the 2016 Spirit of Greatness Gala are CAU’s President Emeritus and former first lady, Thomas W. Cole Jr., Ph.D., (right) and Judge Brenda Cole (center right).

 Clark Atlanta University’s 2016 Founders Week culminated with a campus wide worship service, led by Rev. Dr. A. Elaine Crawford, the University’s chaplain.




IDEAS THAT MATTER Innovation and Entrepreneurship By Joyce Jones

A Sprinkling of Ingenuity: How Bradley Gilbeaux and Damon Willis are prepared to revolutionize the automatic sprinkler industry


ometimes brilliant ideas come to us at the most random moments. That was, at least, the case for Bradley Gilbeaux when he was struck with an idea that could soon revolutionize the water sprinkler industry.

It was a rainy night in Georgia and Gilbeaux was standing on his balcony after a late summer thunderstorm that had lasted more than an hour. It had, in fact, been raining all week, so Gilbeaux was understandably baffled when the sprinkler system at his apartment complex came on immediately after the downpour. “I realized it was on a timer that couldn’t account for the fact that it had just rained,” he recalls. “And then the idea hit me: a telepathic irrigation system that can monitor active weather and soil moisture levels, and make accurate predictions about how to optimize water distribution.” 14 CLARK CLARKATLANTA ATLANTAUNIVERSITY UNIVERSITYSPRING SPRING 20162016

Gilbeaux shared his idea with classmate Damon Willis, with whom he will graduate in May with an MBA from CAU’s School of Business. From day one, these supply chain management majors formed a partnership built on mutual respect, support and, they say, a dose of healthy competition. “It was a win-win idea,” Willis agreed, “because it enabled us to tackle a problem and help communities [save millions of gallons of water], while also doing something innovative and creative.” Their timing—pun intended—could not have been more perfect. Just a few weeks later, while at the National Black MBA Association conference, a Ford Motor executive suggested that Gilbeaux and Willis present the idea at the company’s Historically Black Colleges & Universities Community Challenge. Now in its third year, the challenge was to “develop projects that creatively address a community need touching on at least one of these four areas – mobility, alternative energy, sustainability/ water and a systematic approach to meeting community needs.” First prize was $75,000 in scholarships, grants and implementation funds. It’s one thing to have a great idea, Gilbeaux noted, but getting them off the ground can be very difficult, which is why such competitions are so important. With very little time to prepare, the many presentations and competitions the pair had previously done together proved to be a real advantage, he added. A few very generous Business School alums also took time out of their busy days to critique their presentation, which helped them grow stronger and ultimately win the competition. “After the judges announced second place, we knew we’d won. We smiled at each other and thought, ‘Yeah, we finally got one and it was this large and impactful,’” Gilbreaux says. Now the real work begins. The next step involves working with an attorney to do a deeper patent search, although they are confident that there is not a product on the market that is on the same scale as theirs, Willis explains. After the patent and drawing stages, they’ll create a prototype to test the idea and make any necessary modifications and improvements. Eventually they will have to decide whether to bring their product to market or sell to the highest bidder. Theirs will soon be a long-distance relationship. In May, Willis will be off to Omaha to work as a business manager for Union Pacific, while Gilbeaux remains in Atlanta, where he will be a sourcing associate for A.T. Kearney. “With the limited time we both have on campus, we already have a shorthand developed so we still get things done,” Gilbreaux says. “We know how to work together remotely and we’re very good at it.” n

Bruce Berger, J.D., MBA Executive Director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development

The Future is Here

Exciting things are happening in the Thomas W. Cole Research Center for Science and Technology, home of CAU’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development (CIED). As its name implies, the center enables students, faculty, staff, and alumni to transform innovative ideas into entrepreneurial opportunities. CIED, explains its director Bruce Berger, Ph.D., a professor in the University’s School of Business, is the hub in the wheel of President Johnson’s vision to build a campus-wide ecosystem that energizes and engages users across disciplines. “This is not just about engineering or business students,” he says. “Everyone is welcome.” The center, available 24/7, allows users to ideate and access the latest technology and other tools, lay out and create prototypes of their ideas, and hosts lectures and panel discussions around technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. Its advisory committee is made up of faculty members across disciplines and will soon form a board of alumni and other University friends “who will help guide its growth and raise funding so it’s sustainable.” CIED makes Clark Atlanta competitive with Georgia Tech, Harvard University, MIT and other institutions that boast similar labs and levels the playing field for the University to compete with them for the best and brightest. Students have lots ideas but if no one is asking what’s on their minds or providing opportunities for them to put them in motion, those ideas can get lost, Berger cautions. “The most exciting thing about this project is the opportunity for people to build something from nothing and to energize students and faculty to be creative and innovative,” Berger says. “Many people don’t realize the power this kind of center has and the connections we have to incubators and accelerators in the Atlanta community, across the nation and even globally. What makes it exciting to me is to be able to turn on the switch for our students.” n




IDEAS THAT MATTER Design and Systems Thinking

Reworking Some Revolutionary IDEAS




By Donna Brock


ne of Clark Atlanta University’s positional attributes, the five strands of institutional DNA now guiding the University’s actions, is design and systems thinking. For most, this concept harkens images of architectural renderings or, perhaps, a wiring diagram of the inner workings of a nuclear submarine. For CAU, it signals the reworking of the University’s approach to producing stronger, market-ready graduates. While many higher education institutions point to academic competitiveness in recruitment brochures and program marketing collateral, Clark Atlanta’s approach is unique, strategic and constitutes a new paradigm in CAU’s undergraduate education. If the idea of newly freed slaves leveling the playing field just months after the end of the Civil War was revolutionary, the next evolutionary chapter in that saga is now being written inside CAU’s halls. The University is reshaping its approach to undergraduate education by intensifying the research and creative underpinnings of students’ individual and collective academic experiences. This will happen through the implementation of a mentored faculty research matrix that provides a four-step progression to assure students: possess an understanding of basic research and scholarship practices specific to their field; are able to apply scholarly and creative research principles and evaluate scholarly work in a broader context; can evaluate and compare research methods and types of creative engagement; and finally, are able to engage scholarly work in their field or across disciplines and are able to share knowledge beyond the University’s classrooms. “This shift,” says Asa Edmund Ware Endowed Professor of Sociology Obie Clayton, Ph.D., helps entering college students progress in a field, or across disciplines, from novices to a certified level of mastery. This will move CAU’s graduates beyond the pale of a general college diploma and allow them to enter the career marketplace or graduate school with a more substantive set of undergraduate credentials and a portfolio to document them. Clayton, a drum major in this effort as the director of CAU’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Creativity, says that this also allows students to establish a career-focused network of experts well before they graduate. Clark Atlanta this year partnered with ScholarBridge, an online mentoring platform that connects students with faculty experts at CAU and other institutions. Another important element in this shift is the addition of “stackable credentials” to the undergraduate curriculum. Soon, CAU’s students will be able to earn certifications or accreditations in their chosen areas of study that will give them a competitive edge as they enter the marketplace. Instead of students graduating with a major in accounting, they may also earn the CPA designation. Mass media arts seniors, for example, may graduate with actual industry production or writing credits. STEM students would graduate with peer-reviewed, published research in hand. “This is not only doable,” says CAU President Ronald A. Johnson, who coined the term ‘business-ready graduate’, but we already know that our students are capable of performing well beyond the traditional classroom dynamic that defines traditional matriculation.” Not only is Johnson right, but the University recently affirmed that students are ready and well prepared to “power up” their academic experiences. The University on March 16 held its first Undergraduate Research Symposium, a new venture designed to showcase students’ research investigation and creative activities in a format that kept pace with international research symposia, including the judging of presentations. In its inaugural year, nearly 100 students presented their work, supported by more than 42 faculty mentors. Entries ranged from vocal performances and a fashion show, to presentations detailing the psychological impacts of trauma and biological implications of endometriosis. “In the not-so-distant future,” Johnson says, “people will immediately recognize the CAU graduate in the room because of the expertise they contribute and how it advances the discourse and the course for positive change in a field, be it juvenile justice, AfricanAmerican literature or breast cancer research. This is, of sorts, a new revolution taking place on our campus. We are reworking our institutional position in higher education: we intend to be superior, because we produce superior graduates.” n

President Ronald Johnson poses with University Research Symposium Oral Presentation Winner Imani Stokes, senior psychology major, who investigated the impact of trauma on cognitive and psychosocial development.” Stokes tied for first place with Spelman College’s Kelsey Gallant. First place poster presentation winner, senior biology major Amiah McCray, researched the potential role of exosomes in the pathogenesis of endometriosis. Both winners collected a $300 prize and were recognized publicly during the University’s 2016 Founders Day Convocation.




IDEAS THAT MATTER Environmental Sustainability

By Joyce Jones Photo by Ja y Thomas

Living the Green Life How CAU’s Students are Elevating Environmental Sustainability for the Masses


n environmental revolution is under way at CAU. And, if chemistry major Sederra Ross has her way, soon sustainability will become second nature for every student on campus – and beyond. Although active in her high school’s environmental club, Sederra didn’t become aware of a similar organization at CAU until her sophomore year when its founder, Briana Ford, tragically died and was being memorialized. The club had no difficulty attracting students willing to attend out-of-town activities and events or volunteers for sporadic neighborhood cleanups, but it had very few core members. When Sederra became president of the Living Green club, her top two priorities were to grow its membership and conduct regular neighborhood and campus cleanups. “Cleanups are a stepping stone to understanding sustainability. Students come to realize how much trash is on the ground and once they have to pick it up themselves, they gain respect for others who do it and determine not to dump stuff on the ground themselves,” Sederra says. Every Sunday afternoon, the club sets up a table outside the library to attract volunteers, and provides everything they need, including gloves, trash pickers and trash bags, hand sanitizer and information about what’s recyclable and what’s not. The club also participates in several national initiatives, such as RecycleMania, an eight-week campaign that from January through March aims to motivate universities to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste, and to generate support for campus recycling efforts. In the warmer months, members volunteer at local community gardens to help residents prepare and maintain vegetable plots. If the yield this year is big enough, Sederra would like to invite the gardeners to hold regular farmers markets on campus.




Outdoor Nation provides grants to raise student awareness about outdoor activities and rally the millennial generation to help increase such opportunities for low income and underrepresented populations. “Students here don’t often get a chance to experience nature in the truest sense, so traveling to a site where we can kayak or camp out and really just spend the day with nature in a new environment away from the stress of school is important for our health,” says Sederra, who is planning a weekend camping retreat. Sustainability is about more than living green, which is why students’ emotional health is also an important part of the club’s mission. Last year, the club introduced outdoor yoga classes on the CAU lawn during the spring months so students can unwind after class. Morning sessions will be offered this spring to help students begin the day on a calming note. “Our organization builds on environmental, social and economic sustainability, so we host events that teach students to empower themselves with knowledge about issues like fiscal responsibility and how to handle personal debt, such as student loans, and understand the nation’s debt and deficit spending,” Sederra explains. Club members also have built a dream wall at the end of campus to encourage students and members of the community to share their aspirations. The response has been so strong that “we want to expand the wall so more people will have the opportunity to share their dreams,” Sederra says. “When I’m gone and whoever’s next is gone, I want them to be able to build on what we’ve done,” she adds. “We have a culture for service, but a culture for sustainability also is important. When the campus cares about something, it becomes ingrained in the students.” n

Technology and Sustainability: A Silicon Shade of Green

Left to right: Sierra Scoggins, Sedera Ross, Meron Aberha, Emanyel Russon.

If humanity is ever going to live in harmony with nature, we need to establish a better equilibrium between our technical ambitions and our environment. No one is more aware of that than the technologist who sponsors CAU’s Green Thinking Club, engineering professor Olu Olatidoye, Ph.D. The club may be best known for community cleanups and community gardens, but Olatidoye’s support emphasizes the role technology plays in ensuring a better environment. Think of it as a silicon shade of green that is important but, perhaps, too often overlooked. The focus on technology and research to bolster sustainability is paramount at CAU. The University is a leading institution in UNCF’s Green Building Initiative, and has been implementing strategies to reduce its energy consumption by 20 percent. As part of the energy-usage reduction effort, “we have a biodiesel lab that makes fuel from the Crogman Campus Eatery’s used cooking oil,” says Olatidoye. Several club members use CAU’s Center for Alternative Renewable Energy Technology and Training and have reduced the amount of gasoline used by the University’s diesel-powered vehicles. The center has been successful to the point where, says Olatidoye, “we are looking for sources beyond campus to produce even more fuel.” Olatidoye’s research is now also focusing on distilling potable water. This spring, he and the Green Thinking Club received some intellectual fuel for solving sustainability challenges during a climate change summit on campus funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Officials from the White House, DOE and EPA, and leaders from top environmental sustainability companies and organizations participated. “It was a good opportunity for club members to meet with very important people in the sustainability community,” according to Olatidoye. And, whenever the discussion turns to new technology opportunities in solar energy, biodiesel, water purification, or many other subjects, researchers like Olatidoye, and committed students like Green Thinking Club members, are sure to help advance the cause. n David Lindsay CLARK ATLANTA UNIVERSITY



IDEAS THAT MATTER Arts and Humanities

By Joyce Jones

Voice, Vision and a Very Big Heart Three CAU Artists Share Their Creative Process

Daniel Omotosho Black, Ph.D. Lyrical and  hypnotizing.  Powerful  and  haunting.  Heartbreaking. These are the kinds of adjectives that reviewers choose to describe the work of Daniel Omotosho Black, Ph.D., a professor in CAU’s Department of African American Studies. The author of five novels, Black eschews feel-good topics, preferring instead to go right for the emotional and intellectual jugular, whether it’s the story of Perfect Peace, a child who was born a boy, raised for eight years as a girl, and then told she must now live as a boy, or The Coming, which tackles the darkest chapters in American history and tells the story of the capture and sale of millions of Africans forced to live in slavery. “Emotional hurt is a motivator for me in terms of writing,” he says. Born in Missouri, but raised in Arkansas, Black had limited access to literature. There was just one library in his small town and the nearest bookstore was 60 miles away. So, he turned to the Bible and his grandmother’s Reader’s Digest magazines. As he read aloud from the monthly publication to his grandmother, young Black sometimes thought he could do better. He began writing short stories when he was about 14 or 15. “I come from rural country folks. Old people would sit under the trees on a summer night and tell stories, which is a black church tradition,” he says of his first true inspiration to write. “I really enjoyed and wanted to write about that. My short stories were based on the fantastical tales I heard them tell.” 20



They weren’t very good, he concedes, but the seed was planted. Black, who earned the bachelor’s degree in English from CAU in 1988, put fiction aside during his undergraduate years, but began to write more seriously in graduate school. “I started my first novel then. It was a slow, grueling process figuring out the art and craft of it, and I didn’t finish until I was a fulltime professor at CAU,” Black recalls. Every painstaking word was worth the effort: Black sold his first novel and each one he’s written since. The process changes from one book to the next, but he tries to write two to three pages a day, which could take one hour or eight. It starts when he begins to hear characters speak. “I don’t say, ‘I think I’ll write a story about XYZ.’ I could be driving and a story will literally come to me, so I pull over to the side of the freeway with my flashers on because if you don’t write down the [idea] it can disappear,” Black explains. The notion of shaping and transforming lives of people he will never physically encounter is what he loves most about writing, “but I have to bare my soul naked to do it,” he says. With The Coming, for example, Black says he had to “get on that slave ship every day. I had to be willing to suffer in order to write about it, so my own personal hurt is mixed up in the hurt of the characters’.” When in writing mode, the characters are constantly with him, he adds, and when they stop speaking, the novel is done. n

Maurita Poole, Ph.D. When most people walk into a museum or gallery, they probably assume the arrangement of the art was not much more challenging than putting up paintings and photographs at home. They would be wrong. Curating an art exhibition is a form of art in itself. And, like writing a short story or composing a musical score, it requires an artistic and creative effort. Curators tell different stories through paintings, photos and objects. Maurita Poole, Ph.D., director of the CAU Art Galleries, begins the process by spending time with the artists’ works. “I look at the works closely and meditate on the composition, the artist’s intentions, the collection or body of work that I’m working with at the time,” she says. “I wait for the inspiration that comes from just being in the world or with the work. I also seek perspectives from people around me. Inevitably, an idea emerges that will allow me to develop a narrative or a way to juxtapose works that will be relevant and hopefully of interest to the museum’s public.” Unlike writing, curating is a team effort, and Poole works with designers and installers to shape exhibitions. For her first exhibition at CAU last fall, she sought input from students. “I wanted to get input from the undergrads and give them a chance to be a part of the process,” Poole says. It was a teachable moment. After reviewing the galleries’ catalogue, the students seemed to prefer figurative pieces or portraiture. Poole saw that as an opportunity to teach them about

abstractions, a genre most were unfamiliar with. She took them into storage to look at the works, rack by rack, and then discuss which pieces they liked and why. Then they looked at the gallery space and made suggestions about where to install pieces from the three genres in different wings. “I realized that our conversations about abstraction and figuration could be a way to frame or tell a story about AfricanAmerican art. What is black art and is there such a thing as black abstraction,” Poole explains, adding that things don’t always go exactly according to plan, but “when the objects are in the right place, I just know. I sense it. It feels right.” n

Herbert Eichelberger, Ph.D. Herbert Eichelberger, Ph.D., an associate professor of film in the Mass Media Department, is both an inspiration and an artist in his own right. For more than 30 years, he has taught and mentored accomplished filmmakers, including Spike Lee and CAU alums Alicia Daniels and Bryan Barber. Eichelberger, who is currently editing a documentary about James Patterson, the leader of the University’s jazz orchestra for the past 35 years, has experienced firsthand the highs and lows of producing a film. He’s been there, done that and can fully relate as they learn how to hone their crafts. Spike Lee, Eichenberger recalls, was “an idea person and always worked hard to make those ideas a reality.” For students like Lee, Eichenberger is more of a sounding board. Sometimes the pair still has long discussions about the filmmaking process. Others, like Bryan Barber, a music video and motion picture director, needed more of a human touch. “Hang in there, man. You have to live out your dream and you’ll make it. You just have to reach a little harder and longer, stretch your arms. You’re going to do it,” were the words of advice Eichelberger gave him during late night calls for reassurance. And because like Lee, he was full of ideas and immensely talented, Barber went on to become a successful music video and feature film director. “It’s just a matter of having the ability to let the student know you’re on their side and believe as much as they do in what they’re trying to do,” Eichenberger said. “That’s the essence of mentoring. Their experience is not foreign to you. It’s what you do and have learned to do over the years. If you can touch those chords in someone and make them feel they’re worthy of achieving that goal, then you’ve really done a service toward helping them be who they want to be in the strongest sense.” n CLARK ATLANTA UNIVERSITY



IDEAS THAT MATTER Arts and Humanities By Joyce Jones

Guild-ed Future The CAU Guild Celebrates 23 Years of Soulful Service


Current CAU Guild Chair Brenda Tolliver. 22




s a child, Erica Meeks Jenkins was always humming or singing something, so much so that the little boy next door called her Mockingbird. Her first public performance came at age five, when her mother enlisted her to sing “Happy Birthday” to her grandmother at church. She was surprised that people made such a big deal about her performance. “I never thought about whether or not I was good,” recalls the Montgomery, Alabama, native. “It was just something I did.” Jenkins attended the local performing arts high school, which helped her develop her talent and learn to appreciate her gift, but when it came to college, she chose a discipline in which she knew could succeed instead of the one she loved. She was all prepared to study communications at Alabama State, which had awarded her its presidential scholarship, and had even moved into the dorm with her new roommate, when Clark Atlanta University called with an offer she couldn’t turn down. “I was the first person to win the CAU Guild scholarship,” says Jenkins, who has taught music for 16 years in the Montgomery public schools system and is a soloist in the Montgomery Chorale. “It was really great to have the opportunity to focus on something I love, and probably very rare. The arts are a big part of our culture, but people often don’t see the connection between that and financial support.” Having the Guild’s support enabled her to gain exposure to different genres of music and artists and helped prepare her to become the musician she is today, Jenkins says. Since earning a bachelor’s degree in music with a concentration in voice from CAU in 1998 and a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University, Jenkins has for 16 years taught music to elementary school students, who she’s pushing to appreciate their gifts earlier in life than she did. The CAU Guild, comprising some of the community’s most accomplished

Erica Meeks Jenkins

Ana Rector

female leaders and professionals, many of them alumnae of the institution, was formed by the University’s former first lady, Judge Brenda Hill Cole, in 1992, to provide financial aid to students in the performing arts. Each year it holds the fundraising gala Jazz Under the Stars, which has featured major artists such as Nancy Wilson, Wynton Marsalis, Roberta Flack, LaLa Hathaway and others. In addition to sharing their talents onstage, the artists hold master classes for the students. To date the event has raised more than $2 million, which has helped hundreds of students, says the Guild’s current chair, Brenda Tolliver. “Students in other academic areas have access to different scholarships, but the same level of monies aren’t always available for students majoring in the arts,” she explains. “Often our scholarships help fill economic gaps,” enabling budding artists to hone their crafts worry free. That certainly was the case for Chanel and Chadwick Childress, vocalist and instrumentalist, respectively, who met in class and performed together in the CAU jazz orchestra. Chanel says the Guild scholarship covered the costs that her financial aid didn’t, including basics like books. Without it, she would have had to get a job or her parents would have had to take on another job to help supplement her school fees. “It allowed me to study my craft with less headache,” Chad agrees. “Being a musician is a lifelong process and it’s hard to work at something when your mind is bogged down,” with financial worries. As members of the orchestra, they were able to travel the world, visiting

Chadwick and Chanel Childress

such nations as Switzerland, France, Amsterdam and Italy. “Because of the orchestra, I decided to further my education and get a master’s in jazz performance from the University of Miami,” says music teacher Chanel. Ana Rector didn’t know she was a talented painter until her junior year in high school and it was a total surprise. The discovery came during a required fine arts class, which was also her first exposure to the arts. A teacher took Rector under her wing, enrolled her in the school’s international baccalaureate program and she had her first show senior year. “That teacher also encouraged me to look into college art programs,” recalls Rector, who earned a bachelor’s degree in art and art history from CAU in 2010, and a master’s in art administration from the Savannah College of Art and Design. “Most people don’t consider careers in the humanities a lucrative way to go, but with her encouragement I decided to pursue the arts.” It was, she said, an invaluable experience that opened doors of opportunities for the Kansas City, Missouri, native, including a Mellon fellowship, participation in local group exhibitions in Atlanta, and a professional internship after graduation at the Smithsonian Institutions in Washington, D.C. “The Guild scholarship was unique in that it’s rare you find a scholarship devoted to the performing and fine arts and to have a group of people dedicated to making an investment in the arts is huge,” Rector says. “It affirmed that I was on the right track and someone believed in the work I wanted to do.” n




IDEAS THAT MATTER Science and Technology

By Dav id Lindsay Photo by Jay Thomas

Technology: The Universal Remote Control for Progress





ireless technology expert and CAU professor Khalil Shujaee, Ph.D., proved just how remarkable CAU’s small but smart engineering and computer science departments are in 2001, when he and the University’s current computer science chair, Roy George, Ph.D., entered and won a national prize in a contest for wearable technology. Their winning project — a series of online auto loan forms programmed onto an HP Ipaq mobile device — was a unique application well before there were any “apps” as we know them today. “We beat MIT,” recalls Shujaee. “Carnegie Mellon University brought us in after we won. His alma mater, Georgia Tech, “also invited us to visit.” Today, Shujaee is still seeking the next breakthrough, working under the big idea that technology, whether it is used to sell cars or to help cure cancer, has become a completely interdisciplinary endeavor. Innovation, entrepreneurship, arts and design, sustainability — they all have a technology component and the veteran researcher and inventor knows that he can use technology to make a difference in just about any field. “There is an opportunity to empower technology today for everyone,” he explains. “It does not exist only within the confines of an engineering or computer science department.” On campus, an art program might rely heavily on computer design tools, for example. Or a political science department might depend on big data analytics for better policy research. And just about everyone relies on his or her smartphone for countless everyday tasks. “Technology is becoming part of the fabric of life for the entire community,” Shujaee says. “And nearly any academic field or career you can name is becoming computer driven.” With technology’s ubiquity, it is no surprise there is great demand for graduates from the computer science and dual-degree electrical engineering programs that Dr. Shujaee teaches. Some of his best and brightest students sharpen their skills on a robotics team that he has sponsored and financially supported for the past two years. It will be the only team from an HBCU participating in an upcoming national competition in May. But robotics is not just technology for technology’s sake. Shujaee is envisioning — and researching — how remote-controlled nanorobots can could one day effectively treat cancer cells without impacting neighboring healthy cells. CAU computer science and engineering grads are making a difference in so many different fields. Shujaee’s former students — including more than 40 who have gone on to get Ph.D.s — not only work for tech giants like Google and IBM, but also at GM, Caterpillar, Boeing, AT&T, the Georgia Lottery, and many other companies in different industries. Beyond robotics, Shujaee also has worked on solar panel technology with great success — helping to develop a more-reliable solar charger that now allows U.S. Army soldiers to carry one 12-pound battery when they are in the field instead of two. A solar technology lab he runs at CAU is a motivating factor for some entrepreneurial students looking to launch startups in the hot green energy field. “Half of my students are thinking about how they can start their own companies,” says Dr. Shujaee. “They are going to create jobs for America.” n




IDEAS THAT MATTER Science and Technology

By Matthew Scott

The Physics of Being First How CAU earned a top ranking as the U.S. school producing the highest percentage of women pursuing B.S. degrees in physics

“What I enjoyed most at Clark Atlanta was the mentorship I received and the doors the school opened.”


Ngoneh Jallow




f you are a woman pursuing a master’s degree in physics, your odds of graduating increase if you pursue your degree at Clark Atlanta University. Last fall, the American Physics Society (APS) ranked CAU as having the largest fraction of female undergraduate physics degree majors at master’s degree granting institutions between 2011 and 2013, giving CAU the distinction of graduating more women with physics degrees during that period than any other college in the nation. The statistic includes women of all races — compelling evidence that CAU is competing with and beating larger, big-name universities at delivering a quality education in the fields of science, technology and mathematics. “We are very supportive of women in physics,” says Physics Department undergraduate coordinator Dr. Michael Williams. “The typical physics department environment is adverse to obtaining a B.S. degree in this field. The implied message [of this ranking] is that CAU is the place to earn your degree if you are a woman.” Earning this recognition of excellence from the American Physics Society is in line with President Johnson’s “IDEAS that Matter” initiative to revitalize CAU’s curriculum and enhance the academic experience of students in an effort to produce graduates who have the credentials to make significant contributions to the national economy. According to the American Institute of Physics, roughly 20 percent of the nation’s physics Ph.D.s were awarded to women and two percent to African Americans. CAU is playing a major role in growing those numbers and producing greater diversity in an area vital to maintaining American leadership around the world.

Individuals who study physics are trained to think logically, as well as how to frame, attack and solve problems. They are often on the front lines of innovative breakthroughs in technology, the sciences and other aspects of business. “If you think about the intellectual climate of the U.S., right now we’re trying to import knowledgeable people from other countries to fulfill our technological needs,” says Dr. Williams. “There is a demand for domestic students to maintain our technical prowess and also to maintain national security.” The physics department’s seven-member faculty, which boasts leaders in fields from theoretical materials physics to atomic physics, is funded by the University and research grants from the US Army, Air Force, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and other government agencies. Williams says 75 percent of the students in the department’s master’s degree program and nearly all of its undergraduate students attain degrees. Students also get opportunities to contribute to papers that are published in technical journals, attend and present findings at professional society meetings and conduct primary research on major projects, experiences they may not get at other schools. “They get one-on-one interaction with people who are tops in their fields, small classrooms, top-tier research opportunities and also the intangible benefits of being at an HBCU,” Williams says. One of those intangible benefits is having a faculty that is committed to identifying and developing hidden talent. After transferring to CAU from Brooklyn College in 2007, Kelly McAllister soon found her plan to pursue a theatre arts degree while working at the Alliance Theatre Company in

Junior dual-degree mechanical engineering and physics majors Troi Chestnut (C) and Tamera Green (L), joined by senior physics major Tiera Taylor (R), have found the Department of Physic’s curriculum to be a huge stepping stone to their long-term career aspirations.

Atlanta wasn’t working out as she imagined. Fortunately for her, CAU faculty noticed her aptitude and enthusiasm for math and convinced her to change her major to physics. “The faculty focused in on me and made me the best student possible,” says McAllister. “All the attention paid off.” McAllister got the opportunity to attend a black student symposium at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., in 2013, which inspired her to pursue a career at the government agency. After graduating from CAU with undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics in 2014, the EPA hired her last year as a chemist specializing in materials flow and impacts on the environment. “I don’t think I would have been a physicist if I hadn’t gone to Clark Atlanta,” says McAllister. “If I didn’t get the advice and insight of my professors, I don’t know where I would be.” Much of the physics department’s success hinges on its faculty’s ability to push all students to reach the peak of their abilities. When Ngoneh Jallow arrived at CAU in 2002, the native of Gambia, West Africa, knew she wanted to pursue a Ph.D. in physics, but she didn’t know which

specific area. She enrolled in the physics department’s five-year graduate master’s program, which allows students to take graduate level courses in their junior year. The program also ensures students gain hands-on experience conducting research with department heads. Taking graduate courses early and working on research projects in Dr. Williams’ lab exposed Jallow to many areas of physics. “It helped me figure out what I wanted to do,” she says. Jallow earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in physics before leaving CAU in 2007. Dr. Williams continued mentoring her, referring her to a fabrication engineering job in Minnesota, and discussing career choices with her after she enrolled at the University of Wisconsin to obtain a Ph.D. in medical physics a year later. Jallow now works in the radiology department at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital as a medical physics imaging resident, monitoring and maintaining equipment that provides CT-scans, mammograms, X-rays and MRI scans. “What I enjoyed most at Clark Atlanta was the mentorship I received and the doors the school opened,” she says. Troi Chestnut, a 20 year-old junior, is

lamenting the fact that she will be transferring to Georgia Tech after three years at CAU to complete degrees in physics and mechanical engineering as part of the department’s five-year duel degree program. She appreciates that the physics professors allow students to interrupt to ask questions, and will explain concepts in different ways to help students understand. “The physics department is like a family,” says the Millington, Tennessee, native. “I would not trade my time at CAU for anything in the world. It was a great experience and a great environment.” Although the APS ranking suggests female students may benefit most from the environment at CAU, Dr. Williams says the one-on-one attention that all students receive, the research opportunities and the rigorous curriculum “provides a framework where a student can get a very wellrounded education and be extremely competitive with other students who come out with a B.S. degree from Ivy League schools.” But he says CAU students have another critically important edge. “The student who comes out of Clark Atlanta University has a very high confidence level in his or her abilities compared to other students and tends to be more successful.” n CLARK ATLANTA UNIVERSITY



FACULTY FORUM Dr. Gary H. Chung, associate professor, Department of Mathematical sciences, was listed in the November 2015 issue of American Mathematical Monthly — as an author of an article in the Problems and Solutions section of the issue. Wendy Williams, general manager of Jazz 91.9 WCLK, was inducted into Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine 2015 Hall of Fame, and was honored during the publication’s annual celebration. Williams’ tenure spans 21 years at Jazz 91.9 WCLK. She is credited with overseeing the 2012 signal expansion of the station and the format enhancement and design that has led to doubling the station’s audience. She is a founding member and chair of the African-American Public Radio Consortium, Inc., a national organization that distributes diverse programming to a network of more than 80 stations across the U.S. Fang-Yi Flora Wei, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Mass Media Arts, published the manuscript, “Creating a Collaborative ‘Hot Clock’: Using Smart Phones to Motivate Students’ Learning in News Interviewing and Reporting” in the peer-reviewed journal, (December 2015); and “Constructing a collaborative pyramid: Using Prioritized Sticky Notes yo Facilitate Group Discussion” in the Peer-Reviewed

Journal, College Teaching (February 2016). Wei Also Presented “When A Majority Becomes A Minority in the Academic Milieus: Redefining Professors’ Classroom Management and Teacher Credibility in the HBCU” at a National Communication Association panel (November 2015). In addition, she directed the undergraduate students’ research project titled “The Use of Facebook in the PR Health Campaign: Do Ethnicity and Facebook Activity Affect Users’ Attitude and Participation in the ALS Ice Bucket challenge?” This student study was accepted by the Theodore Clevenger Undergraduate Honors Conference in the 86th Annual Southern States Communication Association (SSCA) Convention in Austin, Texas. Robert N. Clark, Jr., CIA, CISA, CCEP, CBM, CAU’s chief compliance officer, was elected to board of directors of Institute of Internal Auditors – Atlanta Chapter in February 2016 and was awarded the “William J. Mulcahey Industry Excellence in Leadership Award.” Clark will serve as the keynote speaker at the annual conference of the Alabama Association of College and University Business Officers in June. In addition, he will serve on the teaching faculty at the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers’s College Business Management Institute

in July and will be a conference speaker at the Association of College and University Auditors Annual Conference in September. Christopher Hickey, art professor and interim chair of the Department of Art, exhibited at the Maryland Federation of the Arts “Small Wonders: National Juried Exhibition” at the Circle Gallery, November 28 – December 28 2015, in Annapolis, Maryland, and at the “Painting and Seeing: National Juried Exhibition” at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, February 25 – April 7, 2016. In February, Hickey also was commissioned to produce the logo mark for the 25th  anniversary of Emory University’s “Veneralia,” “Silver Moon over the Himalayas” by the Carlos Museum of Emory University. Professor Veda Jairrels, J.D., Ph.D., of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education, served as a moderator for two sessions at the Third Annual Black Doctoral Network Conference: “Paying it Forward: Transforming Research into Practice,” which was held in Atlanta in October 2015. The sessions were “Black Identity, Representation, and Scholarship” and “Institutional Barriers, Deficit Models, and Success of Black Students.”

IN MEMORIAM Frank Cummings, Ph.D., former Atlanta University chemistry professor, who served as department chair for seven years, passed away on his 76th birthday on Friday, February 19. He died at peace in the company of his two sons in Eugene, Oregon, ten days after a special trip to say




his final goodbyes to friends from his days at Atlanta University. Cummings spent 20 years in Atlanta University’s chemistry department, arriving at the height of the civil rights movement in 1967. He then spent another 10 years managing the University’s $16

million technical assistance contract with the USAID-funded Child Survival Project, before deciding to retire in 1997. Most of all, Cummings spent his time reaching out to help others.

CLARK ATLANTA UNIVERSITY Office of Alumni Relations Box 743 223 James P. Brawley Drive, S.W. Atlanta, Georgia 30314

Address Change Service Requested

The CAU Guild invites you to the 23rd annual

Jazz Under the Stars Scholarship Benefit Concert featuring the rich vocal jazz stylings of Grammy-nominated, Soul Train Award-winning

Maysa Saturday, May 7, 2016 • 7pm • Harkness Quadrangle on the main campus of Clark Atlanta University Performances include the CAU Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Vocal Ensemble. Presenting Sponsor: UPS. Platinum Sponsors: Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Delta Air Lines and Jazz 91.9FM - WCLK Atlanta’s Jazz Station.


On Saturday, May 7, 2011 at 7:00 p.m., the Clar Annual Jazz Under the Stars (JUTS) Jazz Conce

The event will be held on the beautiful campus of C

This year’s performance will feature The World Ren

Mr. Teren

along with the Clark Atlanta University Jazz V

Clark Atlanta Magazine Spring '16  
Clark Atlanta Magazine Spring '16