When a new student gets an article published …

… I celebrate!

I teach. I facilitate growth. I join thousands of my colleagues employed in Florida universities who carry the awesome titles and responsibilities of serving as classroom professors. Our tasks: Help students advance along their great paths.

I am that instructor who jumps for joy, screams and excitedly congratulates each student for achieving what she or he believed was once hard to accomplish. Ask my former students whether I made big deals about their accomplishments that include their acceptance to grad schools, births of babies, winning Grammys and Emmys, achieving University-level band drum major roles and becoming SGA leaders.

Today marked an end zone-like touchdown dance. It was similar to how I danced when my children graduated from anything! Today’s dance happened after class concluded when when a quiet student, Austin, wanted to share something with me. He held up his cell phone and there appeared an digital sports article with his byline and published by The Famuan, the university student newspaper. Yep, I was excited. The best part of this account is that Austin pitched another sports story to the Famuan, and alas, it was not accepted. He didn’t give up. The sports editor liked this young man’s writing and tenacity enough to assign Austin a feature story. It appears below via a link.

Austin accomplished an important goal. He is the same Austin who could not fully complete a mock interview with me just days ago because of his professed “shyness.” Yet, inch by inch, he pushed through “fear” by working smart over the Labor Day weekend. I assigned beats to every student as part of their semester-long focus on assignments. The entire class members were assigned coverage of the university’s first football game, pep rallies and convocation. Some wrote articles with business, entertainment, cultural or political news views in keeping with their beats.

When I queried Austin on how he was able to interview the football coach and produce a good story to fulfill my assignment, Austin told his classmates and me that he began working on the story right away. On game day, he gained sports media access and ran out of the tunnel with the coach. Austin asked his important questions of the coach during their sprint onto the field, juggling his pen and notebook.

He planned. Austin was strategic. He earned favor. He wrote a descriptive, decent article that required some light editing.

I believe Austin’s accomplishment is instructive to all students and teachers. It’s a good example of lessons learned such as:

  • Do something.
  • Do “it” afraid to succeed.
  • In advance of a perceived or real challenging situation, role play to accomplish one’s goal.
  • Take care of one another and work as a team. (Two of Austin’s classmates came to his “rescue” when he got stuck in the role playing exercise).
  • Plan. Find out what needs to be done in advance of the activity.
  • Try.
  • Try again.
  • Share successes and challenges with teachers, students and family. We are on your team and want you to succeed.

I believe that every student is capable of achieving her or his goal (s). Our job as teachers are to cajole, facilitate, mentor, insist and parent students to the finish lines.

Expect me to continue cheering for my students. For some 30 years, I’ve been this energetic about students’ triumphs through highs and lows in higher education.

It never gets old.

Check out Austin’s article (_austindixon):



About awkimbrough

I've led a vibrant team that won an Atlanta Emmy award for television excellence in the public service category. I've earned many awards and received lots of recognition as a multi-media financial journalist. My career boasts of writing a multi-million grant and designing diversity curriculum for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, and serving as the highest ranking woman in local governments throughout the state of Georgia. I am also a high achiever who had the vision to bring a $34 - $100 million project to the campus of a university that would change the trajectory of students and generations of people of color, albeit the university shelved the five-year effort. Yet, the works lives on and for that, I am grateful. Yet, my proudest and greatest accomplishments are found in the "hidden" life of Ann Lineve Wead Kimbrough and that is in spaces with my family, one-on-one mentoring with college students, my higher spiritual alliance and volunteer assignments to contribute to a better world. I am fortunate to have been a Mom to three amazing children who are now adults. Having a son with special needs -- blind and partially deaf -- have aided our family in closeness and joyous bonding around matters the world would otherwise believe to be one of "Oh, I'm sorry your son is blind." I am a better communicator and citizen of this world because I am the parent of a double-(physically) disabled child. I am a better parent because my first born is an achiever off the charts and proudly served as a member of the Marching 100 of Florida A&M University. I am a great woman because my only daughter is a minister of the Gospel, an exceptional veteran and life-long supporter of her visually impaired twin brother. I am a grateful grandmother because my children thought enough of their lives to bear great fruit. For those who want to read a traditional "About Me" here it is: I am a visiting faculty member @my grad school, Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications. Previously, I served as dean and professor of multimedia, innovative journalism in the Journalism & Graphic Design School at Florida A&M University. As an award-winning journalist and higher ed executive, my latest high profile project involves the multi-faceted development of a 'teaching hospital' formed via a public-private partnership and located on the FAMU campus. The public-private partnership's outcome is a multi-million-dollar, annual economic benefit to the north Florida region with direct benefits to communication students enrolled in programs at FAMU. FAMU's administration and board canceled the project. It has been a rewarding career where I have been transforming lives in education, government, and media for more 25 years. Also, as a ghost and co-writer of literary works that highlight the careers and lives of accomplished world shapers I am achieving a valued use of my talents and skills.
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