A Quartet of Black Women Scholars With New Assignments at Colleges and Universities

Abigail S. Newsome, an associate professor of biology at Mississippi Valley State University, was given the added duties as vice president for academic affairs. She joined the faculty at the university in 1997 and was promoted to associate professor in 2015.

Dr. Newsome is a graduate of Mississippi Valley State University, where she majored in biology. She holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Southern Mississippi.

La Fleur Small was appointed interim vice provost for faculty affairs at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Small is a professor of sociology. She joined the Wright State faculty in 2004. Dr. Small has served as chair of the department of sociology and anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts and as director of the master’s degree program in applied behavioral sciences.

Dr. Small holds a Ph.D. in medical sociology and epidemiology from the University of Miami in Florida.

Anaiis Cisco is a new assistant professor of film and media studies at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Cisco’s work focuses on the experiences of underrepresented racial, ethnic, queer, and gendered identities. Her 2017 short film, “Breathless,” inspired by the murder of Eric Garner, has won numerous awards and has screened at various film festivals.

Cisco received a master of fine arts degree in cinema from San Francisco State University in the spring of 2019.

Rachel Finley is a new assistant professor in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre at Arizona State University. She is an award-winning spoken word artist, actor, director, playwright and voice and dialect coach.

Finley is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. She holds a master of fine arts degree from Florida Atlantic University.

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  1. Are you kidding me. It appears that the President Briggs and the Board made another misguided decision via Dr. Newsome. How can these so-called MVSU administrators expect for an associate professor to adequately perform the job as the VP for Academic Affairs. This doesn’t pass the smell test and really sounds like an acute case of nepotism. Really Dr. Briggs!

  2. Brett give the sister a chance. I’ve seen worse. When I was in the academy I watched the President and Board of my institution hire an Associate VP for Academic Affairs who lacked a doctorate, had never been a professor, department chair or dean and whose sole higher educational experience was running the university’s early childhood center. They made an academic VP out of a daycare provider. Dr. Newsome may well have administrative experience that wasn’t listed her. Let’s reserve judgement.

  3. Hey Carlos,

    I understand your point and positionality. However, I still have the right to voice my opinion a a given topic which is based upon pure facts. I would suggest that you reread my initial comment in order to see that I wasn’t making a personal attack towards Dr. Newsome. I was literally highlighting the dysfuncational administrative decision making at MVSU.

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