Five Black Scholars Who Have Been Appointed to New Faculty Postitions

Mignon Jacobs was appointed professor of the Old Testament at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology of Virginia Union University. She also serves as vice provost at the university. Prior to joining Virginia Union, Dr. Jacobs served as dean and chief academic officer and professor of Old Testament studies at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio.

Dr. Jacobs is a graduate of Bethel University. She holds a master of divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and a Ph.D. in religion from Claremont Graduate University in California.

David Briscoe, a professor of sociology, has the distinction of being the first faculty member at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to be appointed a university professor. In order to achieve the distinction, faculty members must have been a full professor for 10 years and have gained wide recognition at the national or international level for their sustained excellence in service, teaching, research, or creative activity relevant to their respective disciplines and academic roles. He joined the faculty at the university in 1992.

Dr. Briscoe earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in criminal justice at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Ayoka Chenzira, a professor and division chair for the arts at Spelman College in Atlanta, was named a Diana King Endowed Professor in Film and Filmmaking, Television and Related Media at the college. She is an award-winning and pioneering filmmaker. Her distinctive work spans fiction, documentary, animation, performance, experimental, television, interactive films, and theater.

Dr. Chenzira is a graduate of New York University, where she majored in film. She earned a master’s degree in education at Columbia University. Professor Chenzira was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in digital media from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Alena Allen was appointed associate dean for research and faculty development and professor of law at the University of Arkansas. For the last decade, Professor Allen taught at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis.

Professor Allen is a graduate of Loyola University, where she majored in psychology. She earned a juris doctorate at Yale Law School.

Nicole R. Fleetwood will join New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development as the inaugural James Weldon Johnson Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication.  She has been serving as a professor of American studies and art history in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Professor Fleetwood is the author of the award-winning Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration (Harvard University Press, 2020).

Dr. Fleeetwood joined the faculty at Rutgers University in 2005. She is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in modern thought and literature from Stanford University.


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