Four Black Scholars Who Have Been Assigned to New Faculty Roles

Sheara Williams Jennings was appointed to the Humana Endowed Chair in Social Determinants of Health at the University of Houston. Dr. Jennings, who joined the faculty at the university in 2004, focuses her research on the family structure of African-Americans and Hispanic Americans and its effect on children’s well-being, education, health, and development.

Professor Jennings is a graduate of Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she majored in rehabilitation psychology. She holds a master of social work degree from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. in social work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Marc Williams was hired as the Global Scholar-Practitioner to lead the newly created STEM esports program at Florida Memorial Univerity in Miami Gardens. Dr. Williams will be responsible for creating an innovative STEM program that focuses on coding, technology, production, communications, esports, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

Dr. Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. He holds a master’s degree in sports management from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a doctorate in curriculum and education from West Virginia University.

Cheryl Waites Spellman, a professor of social work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, was given the added duties of interim special assistant to the chancellor for diversity and inclusion. She joined the faculty at the university in 2018 after serving as dean of the School of Social Work at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Dr. Waites Spellman is a graduate of Hunter College of the City Univerity of New York, where she majored in sociology. She holds a master’s degree from Fordham University in New York and a doctorate in counselor education from North Carolina State University.

Sharon A. Simmons was appointed associate professor in the College of Business at Jackson State University in Mississippi. She previously served on the faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. Her research focuses on how formal and informal institutional contexts shape the venturing activities of experienced entrepreneurs.

Dr. Simmons is a graduate of Hampton University in Virginia, where she majored in accounting. She holds a master’s degree in accounting and a juris doctorate from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in entrepreneurship from Syracuse University in New York.


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