Dr. Bryan J. Watkins
Dean and Associate Professor
School of Adult Learning
North Park University
Why is black history month important to you?
Allocating a period of time to formally recognize positive achievements and sacrifices made by African Americans throughout our nation’s history is imperative in order to secure and prolong the knowledge of history and instill motivational pride within the black community.
Who is someone famous in black history that has inspired you personally? Why?
Our history is rich with individuals that define inspiration. Having to name just one is truly a difficult task. Nonetheless, I have always admired William Edward Burghardt "W.E.B." Du Bois. His actions on developing higher education for blacks are what inspire me not only as a Dean, but also as an adult black male. Establishing a standard of achievement is paramount in order to move any nation or society forward. I stand next to Du Bois and his philosophy that “Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.” In the present day, this understanding applies across all age brackets.
How have you showcased positive influence on the black community?
I have worked in higher education for the last 15 plus years and have enjoyed every opportunity to assist in building our nations educational standards. My motive has always been to ensure that the passage of knowledge is continuous and authentic. I am a proud member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, which should say a lot about where I stand on diversity, equality, fairness and justice. My life is dedicated towards equipping individuals with the knowledge needed in order to be a positive example and contributor towards society. I hold high standards for our black brothers and sisters - a standard I carry close to my heart and hope to showcase throughout my life and practice.
(Interviewed by Joshua Griffin)