February 2014

February 2014

Ashford University is proud to show you our PAWs! That is, our Promoting Awareness and Wellness initiative! Every month, we'll highlight different causes and opportunities that reflect the values of the University. You'll also learn ways that you can participate or be more involved.

You can also check out PAWs in Student Health 101. Every issue includes guidance from professionals on nutrition and exercise, healthy relationships, stress management tools, and study skills. You'll get tips from your fellow students at Ashford and around the country. And, best of all, it's delivered right to your inbox!

February 2014 AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH


Ashford University faculty member Dr. Sharon Albert Honore

An Interview with Dr. Sharon Albert Honore

Every February, we as a nation observe African American History Month; a time meant to honor the gifts given, the traditions kept, and the sacrifices made by African Americans. This month, we would like to introduce you to Dr. Sharon Albert Honore, Assistant Professor and Chair of the Journalism and Mass Communication program in the College of Liberal Arts at Ashford University. We were given the opportunity to have Dr. Honore share her story, her unique educational experience, and her thoughts regarding culture and education.

Dr. Honore was the first African American to earn a Doctor of Philosophy in Mass Communication and Journalism from University of Iowa. She also holds a Master of Arts in African American World Studies from University of Iowa, a Master of Arts in Mass Communication from Southern University A&M College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication from Southern University. Dr. Albert Honore has taught at the college level for over two decades, working at University of Iowa, Strayer University, University of Phoenix, and several historical black colleges and universities. While her credentials may be intimidating, her kindness, honesty, and down-to-earth approach to interactions with her students quickly reassure those seeking her advice. “I would like my students to realize that there are more similarities between us than differences. Every day, and in each class session, I open my mind and heart in an effort to learn from them as they learn from me.”

When asked about her experience as the first African American to earn a PhD in Mass Communication and Journalism from University of Iowa, Dr. Honore admits that she was initially intimidated. “There was some sexism, ageism, and racism, but I didn't really concentrate on that.” Dr. Honore, who was 34 years old when she was accepted to her graduate program, also describes one of her biggest challenges as a student adjusting to the language and terminology of higher learning. “I actually had to sit in class with a dictionary and write down the words that I wasn’t familiar with.”

While the language posed a challenge, Dr. Honore didn’t shy away from her studies. “I made a point that I was going to get this, learn this, and get through this program, and now I can interview anywhere and can compete with the best of them.” Her experience also impacted what she focuses on now that she herself is an educator. “I was determined that when I finished, I was going to teach my students that these were just words, and that they can decipher them and be okay.”

Dr. Honore’s passion for cultural awareness is never more palpable then when she is asked about African American History Month. “The purpose of Black History Month is celebrating the struggles that a group of people have had in America and highlighting their contributions and achievements.” Dr. Honore goes on to describe how important it is for everyone to honor these achievements. “To be a truly great person, you have to embrace all of the contributions of everyone.” When asked how we might best observe African American History Month, her advice was simple. “Just learn one fact, or just talk to your kids for ten minutes about what African American History Month is about.”

Dr. Honore’s knowledge of the importance of cultural awareness links back to a valuable lesson she encountered in her own education. “A lot of the issues in my education that were obstacles had their foundations in cultural misunderstanding. But when students accept and embrace their own individuality or diversity, it makes them better students.”