Five African American Faculty Members Who Are Taking on New Roles

Ijeoma Opara will join the faculty at the Yale School of Public Health on July 1. She is an assistant professor of social work at Stony Brook University of the State University of New York System. Her research focuses on how socio-cultural factors like systemic racism influence substance use and sexual health among Black and Latinx youth.

Dr. Opara is a graduate of New Jersey City University, where she majored in psychology. She earned a master of social work degree from New York University and a master of public health degree from New York Medical College. Dr. Opara holds a Ph.D. in family science and human development from Montclair State University in New Jersey.

Walter Greason was appointed professor and chair of the department of history at Macalester College in St. Paul Minnesota. Professor Greason has been on the faculty at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey, for the past eight years, where most recently he served as chair of the department of educational counseling and leadership. Dr. Greason is the author or co-author of six books, including Suburban Erasure: How the Suburbs Ended the Civil Rights Movement in New Jersey (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2014).

Born and raised in New Jersey, Dr. Greason received a bachelor’s degree in history from Villanova University in Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in history from Temple University in Philadelphia.

John Brooks Slaughter was named a University Professor at the Univerity of Southern California. He is the Dean’s Professor of Education and Engineering at the university’s Rossier School of Education and the Viterbi School of Engineering. After a 15-year career as a civilian employee of the U.S. Navy, Dr. Slaughter was appointed director of the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington. He served briefly as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Washington State University before being named the first African American director of the National Science Foundation in 1980. Two years later, Dr. Slaughter was named chancellor of the University of Maryland. In 1988, he was appointed president of Occidental College in Los Angeles.

Professor Slaughter is a graduate of Kansas State University, where he majored in electrical engineering. He holds a master’s degree in engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Ph.D. in engineering science from the University of California, San Diego.

Crystal Wilkerson, a professor of English at the University of Kentucky, has been appointed poet laureate for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. She is the first African American woman to hold the position. Professor Wilkerson is the author of The Birds of Opulence (University of Kentucky Press, 2016), winner of the Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence.

A native of Hamilton, Ohio, Wilkerson grew up on her grandparents’ farm in Indian Creek, Kentucky. She is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, where she majored in journalism. Professor Wilkerson holds a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from Spaulding University in Louisville, Kentucky.

Timothy Adams Jr., the Mildred Goodrum Heyward Professor in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the Univerity of Georgia, was appointed to University Professor. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Georgia, Professor Adams held the post of principal timpanist of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for 15 years and was a professor of music at Carnegie Mellon University.

Professor Adams holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music.


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