Alabama A&M Partners with Apple’s Innovative Propel Center

Alabama A&M University is partnering with Propel Center, a new global campus headquartered in Atlanta that will support innovative learning and development for Historically Black Colleges and Universities nationwide.
Apple is working with Southern Company and the Ed Farm education non-profit to support the Propel Center. Apple’s $25 million contribution will enable the Propel Center to support HBCU students and faculty through a robust virtual platform, a physical campus in the historic Atlanta University Center, as well as on-campus activations at partner institutions.
Through the Propel Center, Alabama A&M students and faculty will have access to innovative curricula, technology support, career opportunities, and fellowship programs.
“As a Top 3 Minority STEM Producer among HBCUs nationally, Alabama A&M is excited to partner with the Propel Center to provide additional resources and grow the pipeline of students entering these disciplines,” said President Andrew Hugine, Jr.
The Propel Center will offer a wide range of educational tracks, including AI and machine learning, agricultural technologies, social justice, entertainment arts, app development, augmented reality, design and creative arts, career preparation, and entrepreneurship. Experts from Apple will help develop curricula and provide ongoing mentorship and learning support, along with offering internship opportunities.
Propel Center is part of Apple’s $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative.
“We are all accountable to the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world — and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple’s enduring commitment,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re launching REJI’s latest initiatives with partners across a broad range of industries and backgrounds — from students to teachers, developers to entrepreneurs, and community organizers to justice advocates — working together to empower communities that have borne the brunt of racism and discrimination for far too long.
“We are honored to help bring this vision to bear, and to match our words and actions to the values of equity and inclusion we have always prized at Apple.”

Drake State a Community Center for Coding and Creativity in Collaboration with Apple, Tennessee State

Drake State Community & Technical College is emphasizing the word “community” in new and wonderful ways.

Now, through a collaboration with Apple and Tennessee State University, the school will become a community center for Coding and Creativity. The designation is part of Apple’s Community Education Initiative and Tennessee State University’s HBCU C2 initiative designed to bring coding and creativity experiences to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and their communities.

“This initiative fits perfectly with Drake State’s efforts to not only provide outstanding education for students but to be an educational asset and community partner in Madison County,” said Dr. Patricia Sims, president of Drake State. “With the resources this designation brings, we’re able to bring new career training to our community, which has robust job opportunities in this field.”

Faculty leaders from Drake State will participate in Apple’s ongoing Community Education Initiative Learning Series to learn about coding and app development. As part of that ongoing professional development, educators will explore innovative ways to engage with learners using Apple’s comprehensive curriculum, which utilizes its easy-to-learn Swift programming language.

”Apple is committed to working alongside communities of color to advance educational equity,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “We see this expansion of our Community Education Initiative and partnership with HBCUs as another step toward helping black students realize their dreams and solve the problems of tomorrow.”

As part of its Community Education Initiative, Apple is supporting Drake State with equipment and professional development to help the college become the pre-eminent HBCU C2 community center to bring coding and creativity to Huntsville and Madison County.

Alabama A&M Partners with Apogee for Campus Wi-Fi Services

As it sprints toward its milestone 150th anniversary, Alabama A&M University is planning for the future with investment in cutting-edge Wi-Fi across its campus to facilitate student learning, research capabilities, collaboration, and security.

The university has named Apogee, the only managed-services provider focused solely on higher education, to provide wireless service for more than 6,900 students and faculty throughout every academic building and area, including the 972-acre Winifred Thomas Agricultural Research Station in Hazel Green.

Founded in 1875 by a former slave, Alabama A&M is a Historical Black College and University and a traditional 1890 land-grant institution. A dynamic and progressive institution committed to academic excellence, AAMU prepares students not only to excel in their careers, but also to succeed at life.

“One of our 2021 strategic goals was to drastically improve our Wi-Fi offering to meet the needs of the university in a world that is more connected than ever before,” said Alabama A&M President Dr. Andrew Hugine. “Our mobility dependence has increased exponentially over the past decade. With the average number of wireless devices jumping from 1.5 to five or more per user, keeping up with this demand in-house has become impractical given our staff and budgets.”

By partnering with Apogee for managed services, A&M will be able to improve connectivity, reliability, performance, IT service and support, and financial predictability, while freeing administrators from the hassles of equipment and network refreshes and giving them the gift of time and energy to focus on important strategic campus initiatives.

Students, faculty, and researchers will return to campus in Spring 2021 to a significantly improved digital experience with the new, state-of-the-art, high-speed, and reliable Wi-Fi network in all four colleges and at the research station.

AAMU’s new Wi-Fi network, which will connect seamlessly with the existing residential network, will provide blended learning opportunities for students to connect to live lectures remotely and view recorded lecture material online. It will foster increased collaboration between peers and teachers for better student outcomes and higher student satisfaction ratings.

And it will let AAMU students feel connected whether in a classroom, studying remotely or elsewhere on campus. They will also have instant access to Apogee’s 24/7/365 support via phone, chat, text, and email. In addition, it will provide real-time location analytics to understand facility utilization and ensure campus safety.

“In response to COVID-19 and growing parental concerns over school-related emergencies, we needed to have the system be able to accurately locate users and devices across the campus as part of our life safety planning and contact tracing strategies,” said Dr. Damian Clarke, Chief Information Officer.

The new managed campus network provides a predictable funding model, comprehensive support, SLA-driven performance metrics, and regular equipment refreshes and to ensure the network is always up-to-date and modernized.

AAMU’s search for a technology partner led them to choose Apogee because of the company’s experience and track record delivering high-speed, cutting edge Wi-Fi to so many universities across the nation.

“Apogee’s proposal met or exceeded AAMU’s expectations across technical requirements, service and response times, and fiscally,” said Clarke. “We look forward to a mutually-beneficial partnership.”

“One of the foundations of our business is helping colleges and universities harness technology to drive their strategic initiatives,” said Matt Loecke, executive vice president of Sales at Apogee. “We are honored to welcome this prestigious school amongst our established HBCU partnerships, and believe that like their peers, AAMU will come to rely on Apogee’s commitment to technological and operational excellence to lay the foundation for their students’ academic success and quality of life.”