Black Women Appointed Deans at Columbia and Emory

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L to R: Dr. Alondra Nelson, Dr. Erika James
Two Black women will soon assume positions as deans at two of the most selective schools in the country.

Dr. Alondra Nelson will become dean of social sciences at Columbia University on July 1. Nelson's position is a new one within the University's college of arts and sciences, and she'll be one of five Black deans in the Ivy League. Currently Dr. Nelson is a professor of sociology at the university and serves as director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Dr. Nelson's work focuses primarily on medical inequality.

Dr. Nelson spoke to Diverse Education about her appointment saying, “I’m an advocate of the interdisciplinary approach,” said Nelson. “I want to think about how to use intellectual resources to address racial inequality and gender inequality. I want to foster and encourage a problem-centered approach.”

She has written three books: Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life, Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History, Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination. Dr. Nelson previously taught at Yale and graduated magna cum laude from the University of California San Diego and holds a Ph.D. from New York University.

Dr.  Erika Hayes James will become dean of Emory's Goizueta Business School. Her appointment is a historic one for the University and the country's top B-Schools. James will be the first women of color to lead a full-time MBA program at a top-25 business school, according to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Dr. James will assume her new position at Emory on July 15.

The presence of these women are top programs is an encouraging sign for aims of top programs.

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Photos courtesy of Columbia and Emory University

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