Three Black Scholars Taking on New Faculty Roles at Universities

Dwight A. McBride, a leading scholar of race and literary studies, and president and University Professor at The New School in New York City, will join the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis as the inaugural Gerald Early Distinguished Professor, with an appointment in the department of African and African American studies. He also will serve as a senior adviser to the chancellor.. His appointment is effective August 15. Before becoming president at The New School in 2020,  Dr. McBride served as provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at Emory University in Atlanta. Dr. McBride also has served as an Asa Griggs Candler Professor of African American studies and an affiliated professor of English at Emory. Before going to Emory, Dr. McBride was the Daniel Hale Williams Professor of African American Studies, English, and Performance Studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Professor McBride is the author of Impossible Witnesses: Truth, Abolitionism, and Slave Testimony (New York University Press, 2001).

Dr. McBride is a graduate of Princeton University in New Jersey, where he majored in English and African American studies. He holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Fanta Waterman has been appointed a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Community Health Sciences in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois Chicago. Before her academic career, she spent more than 15 years in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Her interests focus on how health systems and services research relates to community health outcomes of globally underserved and under-investigated populations.

Dr. Waterman earned a bachelor’s degree in integrated science business and technology from LaSalle University in Philadelphia. She holds a master of public health degree and a Ph.D. in public health policy and economics from Temple University in Philadelphia. She completed postdoctoral research in public health services and systems research at the University of Kentucky.

Ahkinyala Abdullah is the new executive director of the Union National Research Institute at Virginia Union University in Richmond. In 2021, Dr. Abdullah was appointed as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at the university. She joined the university’s faculty in 2016 as an associate professor of environmental science and ecology.

Dr. Abdullah holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Tuskegee University in Alabama. She earned a master’s degree in molecular biology and a doctorate in environmental science from Florida A&M University.

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