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Last month, APLU hosted a Black History Month Celebration Webinar, focusing on Black leadership in higher education. Our esteemed panel of senior leaders at APLU member institutions consisted of Dr. Luke Wood, Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer at San Diego State University; Dr. Tabbetha Dobbins, Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at Rowan University; Dr. Alisa Mosley, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Jackson State University; and Dr. Harold Martin Sr., Chancellor of North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University.

The panelists discussed a variety of topics related to Black leadership, including their respective pathways to leadership, strategies for overcoming systemic barriers and discrimination, and ways that institutions can foster more inclusive and equitable environments for Black leaders. They also provided advice for young Black colleagues in academia and emphasized the importance of professional development resources for leadership development.

Chancellor Martin emphasized that while higher education has always been a leader in creating opportunities for Black leaders, there is still much work to be done. Provost Mosely highlighted that the academy can be an important site of resistance and change as well as a site of complicity and perpetuation of oppression. Dr. Dobbins added that black leadership in higher education requires courage, persistence, and a willingness to speak truth to power. Dr. Wood acknowledged the unique psychological and physiological impacts of being a Black person in these roles.

The panelists encouraged aspiring Black leaders to find mentors and communities, inject diversity into coursework and curriculum, work collaboratively, and give back to inspire the next generation to pursue opportunities and grow professionally. The panelists institutional calls to action, including: diversifying the faculty, implementing policy change mechanisms, and giving Black leaders equal mentoring and support opportunities.

The discussion provided valuable insights and perspectives on the challenges and opportunities for Black leadership in academia. As higher education continues to grapple with issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the voices and experiences of Black leaders are essential to shaping a more equitable and just future for all students and faculty.

Some of the resources identified throughout the panel discussion included:

Tags: Black History Month, APLU, Webinar

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