|Respected educator joins Centre with diversity focus
RELEASED: May 30, 2001
James Atkins named Assistant Vice President/Associate Professor of Education
DANVILLE, KYWidely known and respected educator James Atkins has been hired by Centre College to serve as Assistant Vice President and Associate Professor of Education. Occupying a major position in Centre's administrative structure, Atkins will teach in the college's Education program, assist in admission, and develop a program focused on diversity education for minority and majority students, faculty, and staff.
Atkins comes to Centre after serving as Director of Elementary Schools for Fayette County Public Schools since 1998. Prior to that, he was the principal at Toliver Elementary School in Danville for 13 years, and a teacher at Bate Middle School.
He has been involved with and led many organizations in Danville over the years, including the Heritage Festival. Atkins is the coordinator of the annual event held in Danville celebrating diversity. In addition, he has been a leader of Citizens Concerned for Human Relations, an informal group of individuals trying to increase racial harmony.
There are many reasons the position is appealing to him, Atkins said.
"The first challenge is to instruct young people of college age," he said, "and to give them the proper guidance to increase their desire to pursue teaching as a career."
"The other challenge will be trying to increase diversity awareness on campus by students, faculty and the community. To me, diversity means more than black and white. If you think about it, diversity means race and ethnicity, religion and lifestyle. We should learn to accept and understand our differences."
Professor of Religion Eric Mount, a longtime acquaintance of Atkins', said the hiring is a successful move for Centre. "He's shown the ability to work with people of all backgrounds, colors and creeds," Mount said. "His impact at Centre will be broadly felt, as a teacher and administrator. He will be a major help to the school whether he's recruiting students, recruiting faculty or working with the Diversity Student Union. And I think what he can do to tie our students to the Danville community will be important. He has a rich background and is a highly respected man in Danville and beyond."
Atkins will assume his position at Centre July 1. He will report to John Ward, Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of the College. In addition to his previously mentioned duties, Atkins will counsel and advise minority students and assist with activity programming. He will assist the college's Admission staff, as Centre seeks qualified students to enroll.
Dean Ward praised Atkins, whom he has known for a decade. "James Atkins is a man of principle, capable of providing leadership through candid, thoughtful, and careful communication. Above all, he is an educator, one who will work hard to make Centre a better place to learn."
Atkins holds a bachelor's degree in history and African-American Studies from Kentucky State University, and attended graduate school at Austin Peay State University. He received a master's degree in history and education from Eastern Kentucky University, and went on to achieve Rank I. He also received certification in Superintendency, Supervision of Instruction (k-12) and Principalship (k-12) at Eastern Kentucky.
Atkins and his wife, Artie, have two sons: Nathan and Justin. They live in Danville.
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