Alagan named interim W.E.B. DuBois Honors Program director



Ramakrishnan (Ram) Alagan, Ph.D., will serve as the interim W.E.B. DuBois Honors Director. He is a professor of geography in the Department of Advancement Studies.

Micah Sanders, Editor-in-Chief

With the untimely passing of former W.E.B. DuBois Honors Program Director Cynthia Harris, Ed.D., Dean Evelyn Hodge, Ph.D. appointed Ramakrishnan (Ram) Alagan, Ph.D., as the new interim director of the program at Alabama State University. Alagan began his tenure on August 15.
Hodge said Alagan’s selection was an obvious choice.
“It was so unfortunate with the passing of Dr. Harris, but with Dr. Alagan’s several years of experience as a professor at ASU and the numerous leadership organizations and studies he’s conducted, he was the right choice to lead us forward,” Hodge said.
Alagan currently serves as a professor of geography in the Department of Advancement Studies since joining ASU in 2010. For the past 11 years, he has engaged in many academic and administrative responsibilities at the university and beyond. Presently, he is a member of the university’s Faculty Senate, where he serves as chairman of the Budget Subcommittee. In addition, he sits on the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and is a member of the Faculty Hearings Committee.
At the regional level, Alagan served as the president of the Alabama Mississippi Sociological Association (A-MSA) in 2020 and served as state representative for A-MSA for two consecutive years (2018-2019). He was also appointed as the chair of the Publication Committee for the World Center for Women Studies organization and published the inaugural newsletter, “The Messenger,” in 2020.
“I am very excited to take on this administrative position,” Alagan said. “I am a teacher, and I enjoy my teaching career, but now I am taking a new position where I can see the horizon is so big right now, and I can reach my students to train them from both sides, academically and professionally … how to make a positive change, in particular, to the W.E.B. DuBois Honors Program.”
Some of Alagan’s responsibilities include leading the honors students, coordinating events and programs, writing external grants to enhance the program’s activities, and exploring the program’s credentials and requirements in order for students to receive their honors degrees at the end of their four years.
“I am up to the task,” Alagan said. “I promised myself and my dean that I am going to dig in and make a change for my honors students and their learning process.”
As current honors students are in the process of completing the required curriculum to graduate with their honors degrees, they believe the honors program needs a few adjustments.
“I would like to have more clarity and guidance going forward when dealing with the capstone project,” said junior communications major Miracle Mims. “I would also like a few group events to bond and to get to know each other – fellowship.”
Similar to Mims’ view, junior rehabilitation service major Ayanna Williams looks forward to Alagan’s leadership and hopes to see new changes to fix the current issues of the program.
“I would like to see a monthly meeting where we can compare how far we are on our papers,” Williams said. “Also, I would like to see a questionnaire where we can ask questions about our scholarships and things that Alabama State University is doing to ensure that we are of high priority.”
Hoping to fix those issues, Alagan wants to take the leadership position to the next level by participating in the learning process and listening to the students and their concerns. He plans to meet with the honors executive board members monthly to discuss possible resources to aid in the engagement of activities, conferences, and other events, along with broadcasting the current students’ visions on the website for the future prospects of the university.
Ensuring to bridge the faculty, staff, and honors students to develop new ventures and celebrate honors students through their best accomplishments on campus and beyond, Alagan looks to create the W.E.B. DuBois Global Leadership Initiative.
“This will prepare Alabama State University’s honors students with the highest potential for state, national, and even global leadership roles,” he said. “I also want to create an exciting academic environment to provide an intellectually challenging and critical-thinking learning space to make a positive change in the real world after graduation.”
A firm believer in change, Alagan says it is crunch time for the honors students and looks toward the future.
“Take this great opportunity of what you have inherited, to learn the essential expertise, the knowledge,” he said, “and go and make that positive change for the less fortunate ones using Alabama State University as your beacon.”