A Trio of African American Women Who Are Taking on New Diversity Roles in Higher Education

Menah Pratt, vice president for strategic affairs and diversity at Virginia Tech, was named chair-elect for the Council on Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Founded in 1887, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities is North America’s oldest higher education association with 251 member institutions spanning all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada, and Mexico. It is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities.

Dr. Pratt earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Iowa. She holds a second master’s degree in sociology, a Ph.D., and a law degree, all from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Gwendolyn D. Pough, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities and professor of women’s and gender studies at Syracuse University, has been given the added duties as associate dean of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Pough is a graduate of William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. She holds a master’s degree in English from Northeastern University in Boston and a Ph.D. from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Sekile M. Nzinga was appointed vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her most recent position was serving as Illinois’ inaugural chief equity officer, where she played a pivotal role in establishing the Office of Equity within the Office of Governor. Earlier, she was the director of the Women’s Center and interim associate provost for diversity and inclusion/chief diversity officer at Northwestern University.

Dr. Nzinga is a graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore. She earned a master of social work degree at Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in human development from the University of Maryland.

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