Seven Black Administrators Who Have Been Assigned New Roles at Universities

Olufunke A. Fontenot was named provost and vice president of academic affairs at Fort Valley State University in Georgia. She had been serving as interim chief of staff at the university. Earlier, Dr. Fontenot was interim regional vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of South Florida – St. Petersburg.

Dr. Fontenot is a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria. She holds master’s degrees in law from the University of Cambridge in England and Yale Law School and a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.

Kimberly D. Clark-Shaw is the new director of the Black Cultural Center at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg. Clark-Shaw had worked within the University of Maryland system, serving as the retention director at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and in advising services at Salisbury University.

Clark-Shaw holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She earned a master’s degree in education with a focus on culture, curriculum, and change from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Sidney Sessoms Jr. was appointed director of bands at Delaware State University. Sessoms served as the director of bands at Lincoln University in Missouri, Clark Atlanta University, and Livingstone College, in Salisbury, North Carolina. At Livingstone College, Sessoms also served as interim chair of the music department.

Sessoms holds a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and a master’s degree in music education from Salisbury University.

Shawna Cooper-Gibson will be the next vice president for student affairs at Boston College. She has been serving as the vice president for student services at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. Prior to being named vice president at Seton Hall, Dr. Cooper-Gibson served as assistant provost for student academic services at Loyola University Chicago, dean of students for the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, director of African American student affairs at Northwestern University, and assistant director of student activities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Cooper-Gibson earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Illinois. She holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from National Louis University in Wheeling, Illinois, and a doctorate in education and human development from Boston University.

Robert T. Seniors was promoted to associate vice president of information technology services at Florida A&M University. He previously held and will continue to hold the title of chief information officer at the university. He joined the staff at the university in 1997. Since 2011, Seniors has served as the associate director for Instructional Technology, where he helps facilitate the academic technological needs of faculty, staff, and students.

Seniors is a graduate of Florida A&M University, where he majored in computer science.

Charlene Alexander was appointed chief strategy officer at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, effective November 1. Dr. Alexander is currently the vice president and chief diversity officer at Oregon State University. Previously, she served as a professor of counseling psychology and guidance services at Ball State.

Dr. Alexander holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She earned a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Christie Taylor is the new secretary to the board of trustees of Howard University in Washington, D.C. Taylor most recently served as the associate secretary of the MIT Corporation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Previously, Taylor served in several administrative and financial leadership roles at Harvard University.

Taylor earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. She holds a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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