Alabama A&M University Names Three Finalists for President

The board of trustees of Alabama A&M University has announced a slate of three finalists to serve as the next president of the university. The search committee received applications from 53 individuals. Some 17 percent of these applicants had experience as a president or CEO in the past.

The three finalists are:

Colette Pierce Burnette is president of Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas. Before becoming president in 2015, Dr. Pierce Burnette served on the staff at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, from 1999 to 2012 in such roles as vice president for administration, chief financial officer, vice president for information technology, and chief information officer. Dr. Pierce Burnette is a graduate of Ohio State University. She holds a master’s degree in administration from Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville and an educational doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.

Roderick Smothers is president of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has served in this role since January 2015. Earlier, he was vice president of advancement at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas. Dr. Smothers holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in higher education administration, and a doctorate in educational leadership, research, and development, all from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Daniel K. Wims is provost and vice president for academic affairs and research and a professor of agricultural sciences at Alabama A&M University. He formerly served as the executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs, and professor of agricultural sciences at Fort Valley State University in Georgia. Dr. Wims received a bachelor’s degree in agronomy at Fort Valley State University. He holds a master’s degree in agricultural extension and education from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in agricultural extension and education from the University of Maryland College Park.


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  1. Each of these so-called finalists are very lucky I’m not making the final decision on who would be the next president at Alabama A&M. Professionally speaking, I would not hire none of them if they have a mediocre or sub-par track record as president or other upper echelon administrator. For example, if these finalists did not significantly improve their overall retention and graduation rate at their institution they would not be a finalists.

    Further, if any of these so-called finalists even remotely they hold membership to any of these so-called Black Greek organizations or the Boule(Links, PHFAM, etc.) during the interviewing process, they would not be considered. I say that because NEPOTISM and GROUP AFFILIATION is one of the main reasons why HBCUs are in constant turmoil.

    Last, why does it appear that many of our HBCUs are in the business of rewarding poor performance to people who literally leap frog from one HBCU to the next. This needs to stop.

      • Hey “El”,

        You need to remember that are the commenter I will always contextually express myself in the manner I see fit. What I noticed that you failed to respond to the gist of my comment. I wonder why! Maybe it’s a strong possibility that you hold membership to one or more of the so-called Black groups I mentioned.

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