Seven African Americans Who Are Taking on New Administrative Roles at Universities

Stelfanie Williams was appointed vice president for Durham and regional affairs at Duke University in North Carolina. She has been serving as president of Vance-Granville Community College in Henderson, North Carolina. Dr. Williams has been president of the college since 2012.

Dr. Williams is a graduate of Duke University, where she double majored in Spanish and public policy. She holds a master’s degree from Western Carolina University and an educational doctorate from North Carolina State University.

Curtis Wright was named vice president of student services at Xavier University in New Orleans. He has been serving as dean of campus life and chief diversity officer at Wagner College in Staten Island, New York.

Wright is a graduate of the University of Arkansas, where he majored in sociology. He holds a master’s degree in adult education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is pursuing a doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania.

Amanda Bailey will be the next vice president of human resources at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She has been serving as acting chief of staff and vice president for human resources at Morehouse College in Atlanta. She is the former chief human resources officer for the Broward County Public Schools in Florida.

Bailey is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, where she majored in English. She holds a master’s degree in labor relations and human resources management from the University of Rhode Island.

Ashley Smart was appointed associate director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He will also serve as senior editor of Undark, the program’s digital science magazine. Smart has been serving as senior editor at Physics Today.

Dr. Smart is a graduate of the University of Florida. He earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Northwestern University and conducted postdoctoral work at the California Institute of Technology.

Christa Platt was promoted to director of diversity advocacy at Illinois State University. She was coordinator of targeted retention services at the university.

Dr. Platt is a graduate of Wichita State University in Kansas, where she majored in criminal justice. She holds a master’s degree in college student personnel and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Illinois State University.

Charles N. Smith was named chief operating officer at Tuskegee University in Alabama. He will be in charge on managing all non-academic functions of the university. He was serving as chief of staff and acting vice president for institutional advancement at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. Earlier, Dr. Smith was vice provost at both Jackson State University in Mississippi and Alabama State University.

Dr. Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University. He earned a doctorate in higher education administration from Virginia Tech.

Mary Saunders, a retired Air Force major general, was appointed director of the new Institute for Women’s Leadership at Texas Woman’s University in Denton. She had been serving as the executive director of the Center for Student Leadership at the university.

Saunders is a graduate of Texas Woman’s University. She holds a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Rider University in New Jersey.


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  1. Denise Holmes says:

    It is my understanding from someone who was in a meeting with Amanda Bailey that she stated that she was not Black, therefore she cannot be African American. She did not state what race she is but she may be South Asian.
    Can you please clarify what ethnicity or race she is for accuracy of your article ?
    Thank you

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