A Trio of Black Scholars Who Have Been Appointed to Dean Positions

Fortune Mhlanga was named the founding dean of the School of Applied Computational Sciences at Meharry Medical College in Nashville. Before coming to Meharry last fall, Dr. Mhlanga was dean of the College of Computing and Technology at Lipscomb University in Nashville. Earlier in his career, he taught at Abilene Christian University in Texas.

Professor Mhlanga is a graduate of Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, where he majored in computer science. He holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in computer science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Debra J. Barksdale will be the next dean of the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, effective July 19. She will also serve as a professor of family and consumer nursing. Currently, Dr. Barksdale is a professor of nursing and the associate dean of academic affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. Earlier, she was the first Black faculty member to achieve the rank of full professor in the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Barksdale is a graduate of the University of Virginia. She holds a master’s degree in nursing from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and a Ph.D. in nursing research from the University of Michigan.

Roger A. Fairfax, Jr. has been named as the new dean of the Washington College of Law at American University in Washington, D.C. Fairfax, a prominent legal scholar, educator, and nationally known expert on criminal justice, currently serves as the Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professor and founding director of the Criminal Law & Policy Initiative at George Washington University Law School in the nation’s capital.

Fairfax is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.


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