Holmes Scholars Council Plans Exciting Year

As the 2014-2015 AACTE Holmes Scholars® Council passes the torch to the new and excited cohort of executives, there are many people to thank. First, scholars themselves have played a pivotal role in the support of the past Council leadership, as well as serving a great cause: diversifying the American professoriate. In addition, the 2014-2015 Council would like to extend gratitude to the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA) and to various members of AACTE. The new Council looks forward to the continued support of all aforementioned networks.

Nationally over the past year, the 2014-2015 executive team—Willys Michel, Olivia Uwamahoro, Tanesha Walker, Bridget Peters, Yolanda Williams, Leonard Town, Jessica Henry, and AACTE’s Omar Davis as adviser—have had the pleasure to launch and complete several initiatives, including

  • Acceptance and approval of the current Holmes Scholars bylaws
  • A dissertation retreat hosted by Florida A&M University and the University of Central Florida
  • The annual Summer Policy Institute and AACTE Day on the Hill in Washington, DC
  • The development of The Scholars’ Report, the official newsletter of the AACTE Holmes Scholars

These achievements will provide the foundation for the new board to get under way with this year’s initiatives.

Members of the new Holmes Scholars Council—including Whitney Watkins, Amanda Wilkerson, Shaneé Wangia, Alma Moore, DeShawn Sims, Ahmed Fahad, Frank Conic, and Willys Michel (past president)—look forward to the launch and continuance of several initiatives for the year ahead:

  • The launch of “Scholar of the Month,” an initiative to recognize an outstanding scholar every month
  • Adjustments to the current bylaws, in an effort to concretely establish several processes
  • Maintenance of the monthly newsletter
  • Creating a database for all scholars to share their research interests as a reference for future collaborations
  • A monthly featured alumni column that offers advice to current doctoral students

As the wheels continue to turn, the new Council will work diligently in all efforts to commit to program outreach, as well as to the success of our current membership.

In listening to the Scholars’ concerns, the 2014-2015 board was able to play a more pivotal role in the planning and execution of the Holmes preconference at AACTE’s Annual Meeting, with a main objective to facilitate the professional growth and development of the scholars. Sessions such as “The Politics of Higher Education: How to Thrive in the Academy and Beyond” helped scholars gain insight from senior professionals in the field of education. Also, the first annual Holmes Scholars Award Ceremony helped to recognizing scholars at the conference.

Keeping in this same vein, the new Council has reached out to the Holmes membership in an effort to continually improve. At this year’s Washington Week, the board will gather all feedback from the most recent preconference and consider ways to further capitalize on suggested opportunities. We strive to have all members feel satisfied with their preconference experience.

We look forward to continuing our advocacy for the AACTE Holmes Scholars Program and for the expansion of this wonderful program nationwide.  

Please note the following upcoming opportunities for scholars:


Willys Michel is past president of the Holmes Scholars Council. Whitney Watkins is the current president.


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Willys Michel

Holmes Scholar, University of Central Florida

Whitney Watkins

Holmes Scholars Council President, 2015-2017

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