Seven African Americans Appointed to New Administrative Posts in Higher Education

Nathan Stephens is the new director of the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center on the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign. Since 2013, Stephens has served as director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Earlier, he spent six years as senior coordinator of the Gaines/Oldham Black Cultural Center at the University of Missouri.

Stephens holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Columbia College in Missouri and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he is studying for a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy analysis.

Jolene Lane was named chief diversity officer and associate vice president for inclusion and equity at the University of Akron in Ohio. For the past nine years, she has served as senior director in the Office for Diversity and Community Affairs at Teachers College of Columbia University in New York City.

Lane holds a master’s degree in educational administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University. She is completing work on a doctorate in adult learning and leadership from Teachers College.

Denise Stephens was appointed vice provost and university librarian at Washington University in St. Louis. She has been serving as university librarian at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She will begin her new job on July 1.

Stephens holds a bachelor’s degree and master of library and information science from the University of Oklahoma.

Nathan Cochran is the new director of athletics at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was the assistant athletic director for compliance and sports information director at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia.

Cochran is a graduate of South Carolina State University, where he majored in mathematics education. He earned a master’s degree in management through Webster University.

Alex Granderson is the new chief of the police department at Mississippi Valley State University. He has been on the university’s police force for the past 16 years.

Granderson is a graduate of Alcorn State University in Mississippi, where he majored in industrial technology. He holds a master’s degree in criminal justice from Mississippi Valley State University.

Shai L. Butler was promoted to vice president for student success and engagement at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York. Since 2007, Dr. Rose has been the college’s chief diversity officer, and she will continue in that role.

Dr. Butler holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in educational administration and policy studies from the University at Albany of the State University of New York System. She earned a doctorate in law and policy from Northeastern University in Boston.

Johnnie Westbrook was named director of the Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension Program. He was the interim leader of the agriculture and natural resource program at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro.

Dr. Westbrook is a graduate of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where he majored in Agricultural education. He holds a master’s degree from North Carolina A&T State University and a Ph.D. in career and technical education from Virginia Tech.


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