Three African American Scholars Who Are Taking on New Faculty Assignments

James McLeod was appointed chair of the department of music at Wilberforce University in Ohio. A descendent of Mary McLeod Bethune, he is able to play every musical instrument except the harp and the harmonica.

McLeod received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Mississippi Valley State University, a master’s degree in music education from Jackson State University in Mississippi, and a master’s degree in entertainment business from Full Sail University.

Phillis Isabella Sheppard, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Associate Professor of Religion, Psychology, and Culture, at the Vanderbilt University School of Theology was appointed the inaugural director of the James Lawson Institute for the Research and Study of Nonviolent Movements at the university.

Dr. Sheppard earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She holds a master’s degree in theology from Colgate Rochester Divinity School and a Ph.D. in theology, ethics, and the human sciences from the Chicago Theological Seminary.

Kirsten T. Edwards was appointed associate professor of educational policy studies at Florida International University. She was an assistant professor of educational leadership & policy studies at the University of Oklahoma. Her research focuses on the ways global racial asymmetries, context, and sociocultural identity intersect to influence teaching and learning in postsecondary education.

Dr. Edwards holds a master of public administration degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge. She received a Ph.D. in higher education administration with a specialization in curriculum theory at Louisiana State University


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