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Alvin Thornton is the chair of Howard University's political science department and has also been associate provost. He is a proponent of universal opportunity to conquer class discrepancy.Thornton directs Howard University's Amgen Scholars Program and is coordinator of its Leadership Alliance Program. He has been a member of the Howard University Political Science faculty for 26 years.
Before assuming the Associate Provost position, he was Chair of the University's Department of Political Science, a position he held for five and one-half years, and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
In 1999, at the behest of the governor, he was appointed chairman of the Maryland General Assembly's Commission on Education Finance, Equity, and Excellence, popularly known as the Thornton Commission. Its goal was to find ways for the Maryland public education system to provide quality education not limited by family income, jurisdiction, or property values.
Alvin Thornton serves as Senior Academic Advisor to the President of Howard University. Prior to this appointment he served for two years as the university’s Interim Provost and Chief Academic Officer, and eight years as Associate Provost. He chaired the Self-Study Executive Committee in preparation for the decennial reaffirmation of the university’s accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). He also chaired the university’s Presidential Commission on Academic Renewal (PCAR,) which assessed each of the university’s academic programs and recommended strategic changes. Thornton chaired the presidentially appointed committee charged with revising the university’s 1993 Faculty Handbook.
In his capacity as Associate Provost, Thornton had oversight for the university's largest colleges and schools (the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the School of Communications and the School of Education), the Ralph Bunche International Affairs Center, and the Office of Institutional Assessment and Evaluation. He had oversight responsibility for the Enrollment Management units, and directed the university's Amgen Scholars and Leadership Alliance Programs.
Prior to joining the Office of the Provost, Thornton served for twenty years as a faculty member in the university's Political Science Department. From July 1995 to January 2002, he served as chair of the Political Science Department, one of the university's largest academic departments. At the conclusion of his tenure as chair of the department, he received an award from the department's faculty, students and staff for distinguished service. Thornton is the author of two books and articles and book chapters dealing with public education and political behavior.
He made contributions to the expansion of democratic rights in Prince George's County, Maryland, chairing major citizens committees that addressed redistricting (Citizens for Representative Redistricting); and police accountability (Coalition Against Police Brutality).
He served as a legislative aide to Congressman John Conyers, Jr. helping to promote advocacy for the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1980, he was a Research Fellow with the US Department of Labor, UNCF Summer program. He is the recipient of outstanding leadership and service awards: including the NAACP Image Award (Prince George’s County, Md.); Friend of Education Award (Maryland State Teachers’ Association); the Emma Mae Posner Award (Prince George’s County Historical Society); and two Fannie Lou Hamer Service Awards (National Conference of Black Political Scientists).
He is officially a candidate for the United States Congress. He is running to fill Maryland’s 4th District representative seat vacated by Donna Edwards.
- "Biography". Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
- "A Fireside Chat with Dr. Alvin Thornton of the Thornton Commission". November 2004. Archived from the original on September 4, 2006.