Four African Americans Scholars Who Are Taking on New Roles in Higher Education

Josef Sorett was promoted to full professor in the department of religion and the department of African American and African diaspora studies at Columbia University in New York City. Professor Sorett was also appointed chair of the department of religion. Dr. Sorett is also the director of the Center on African-American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice. He is the author of Spirit in the Dark: A Religious History of Racial Aesthetics (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Professor Sorett is a graduate of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He earned a master of divinity degree from Boston University and a Ph.D. in African American studies from Harvard University.

Lerone A. Martin, associate professor of religion and politics in the John C. Danforth Center of Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis was appointed the director of American Culture Studies, an endowed academic program in the college of arts and sciences at the university that fosters the cross-disciplinary study of America.  He is the first African American to hold the position. Dr. Martin is the author of Preaching on Wax: The Phonograph and the Making of Modern African American Religion (New York University Press, 2014).

Dr. Martin earned a bachelor’s degree from Anderson University in South Carolina. He holds a master of divinity degree from the Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey and a Ph.D. from Emory University in Atlanta.

Jessica T. DeCuir-Gunby is the new chair of the department of teacher education and learning sciences in the College of Education at North Carolina State University. Dr. DeCuir-Gunby is a professor of educational psychology and director of graduate programs. She serves on the editorial board for Contemporary Educational Psychology, Educational Psychologist, and the American Educational Research Journal.

Dr. DeCuir-Gunby is a summa cum laude graduate of Louisiana State University, where she majored in psychology and Spanish. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Georgia.

Kristopher A. Oliveira, who has been serving as an instructor in sociology at the University of South Florida, is the new director of the Center for Sexuality & Gender Diversity at the University of Kansas.

Oliveira is a graduate of Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He holds a master’s degree in higher education administration from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota and is completing his doctoral work at the University of South Florida.


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