Five Black Scholars Taking on New Faculty Roles at Major Universities

Sherman Jackson, who holds the King Faisal Chair of Islamic Thought and Culture, and is a professor of religion and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California was named a University Distinguished Professor. Dr. Jackson focuses his research on the realities of modern Islam in the West, especially Muslim communities in America.

Dr. Jackson, who holds a Ph.D. in Oriental studies from the University of Pennsylvania, is the author or translator of several books including Initiative to Stop the Violence: Sadat’s Assassins and the Renunciation of Political Violence (Yale University Press, 2015).

Adji Bousso Dieng will join the Princeton University faculty next fall as an assistant professor of computer science. She is an expert in artificial intelligence and has been working as a research scientist at Google.

Dr. Dieng is a graduate of Télécom Paris. She earned a master’s degree in applied statistics at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and a Ph.D. in statistics from Columbia University in New York City. Before seeking her Ph.D., Dr. Dieng was a junior professional associate at the World Bank.

John Dabiri was appointed the Centennial Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. Professor Dabiri joined the Caltech faculty in 2005 but left in 2015 to teach at Stanford University. He returned to Caltech in 2019.

Professor Dabiri, the son of Nigerian immigrants, is a 2001 graduate of Princeton University, where he majored in mechanical and aerospace engineering. He earned a master’s degree in aeronautics and a Ph.D. in bioengineering from Caltech.

Frederick Douglas Dixon, an assistant professor of African American and diaspora studies at the University of Wyoming, was named director of the Black Studies Center at the university. Dr. Dixon joined the faculty at the university in 2018.

Dr. Dixon is a graduate of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, where he majored in sociology and criminal justice. He holds a master’s degree in educational leadership and development from Northern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in education, policy, organization, and leadership from the University of Illinois.

Robyn Ridley was appointed an assistant professor of the practice in integrative sciences at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. She has an extensive research background in nanoparticle synthesis methods and nanocomposite materials

Dr. Ridley earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in New York City. She holds a  master’s degree and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of California, San Diego.


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