Not only has the AUC Consortium set out to redefine the academic and administrative mission of its office, it has put into action a new take on civic engagement. At the center of a dynamic shift in the approach to nurture a more authentic relationship with the community is the decision made by Dr. Sherry Turner, Executive Director and CEO of the AUC Consortium to add two new positions to the staff.
In the one year since taking over the position, in January of 2011, it occurred to Dr. Turner that at every turn, whenever a matter of concern begged for the input of experienced and knowledgeable leaders in the community, time and time again, she received counsel (sometimes unsolicited) from a certain two people. One of them seemed to have the wisdom of a chieftain. The other, consistently made it known that she was there to help. These attributes coupled with their work ethic and integrity made them an excellent choice for the newly created positions. Fitting and respectively, Mr. Jerry “Tacuma” Brown as the Senior Community Advisor and Ms. Wanda Whiteside, the Community Outreach Coordinator.
Hailing from Cincinnati, Brown has been a resident of Atlanta for over twenty five years. Known for his commitment and dedication to community, Brown provided effectual leadership and service as the Chair of Neighborhood Planning Unit T (NPU-T), from 1997-2008.
It was during this period that Brown was also appointed to the Housing Authority of Fulton County Board of Commissioners. Adding to his list of accomplishments, Brown is a U.S. Air Force Vietnam Veteran (1961-1967) and serves on the Executive Board of the Male Action Coalition Inc., (MAC, Inc.), a nonprofit mentoring group targeted at young males. Dr. Turner welcomes his insight and reputation as a champion and humanitarian.
Wanda Whiteside is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the AUC Consortium. In other words, her “reach” extends to areas in and around the university campus. An avid communicator, Ms. Whiteside represents the interest, goals and initiatives of the Consortium. Ms. Whiteside is a natural for the job. Crowned Ms. Howard in 1974, she holds a degree in theatre from Howard University, Washington, D.C. and is an Emmy award winner with a background in the media. While living in Chicago, she worked for such major media outlets as NBC-TV and the Chicago Tribune. Atlanta has been home to Ms. Whiteside since 1997. A resident of Faculty Row and active in community and economic redevelopment in the area, Ms. Whiteside is a three term president of the Atlanta University Center Neighborhood Association (AUCNA).
Whiteside’s primary responsibility will be to stream a positive flow of communication throughout the campus and community. In the role as ambassador for the AUC Consortium, she will assist Dr. Turner to identify opportunities for partnership and collaboration, as well as work to build alliances with residents, community leaders and stakeholders; involved in addressing concerns in the neighboring communities. Whiteside is excited about the opportunity to apply all that she has learned and the relationships that she has built to help tell the fascinating story of the history and the future of the Atlanta University Center.
The appointments of Brown and Whiteside signal a pivotal juncture for the office of the AUC Consortium, the campuses and the community.