National Institute on Aging

Three Black Scholars Who Have Been Assigned to New Positions or Duties

Ralph Etienne-Cummings, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has been given the added duties as vice provost for faculty at the university, effective July 1. He is an expert in mobile robotics and legged locomotion. Dr. Etienne-Cummings joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 1998 and chaired the department of electrical and computer engineering from 2014 to 2020.

Professor Etienne-Cummings received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

In March, Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University in Texas since 2017, announced that she will step down when a successor is found. She has now announced that when her presidency is over, she will remain at the university as a professor. She will not be affiliated with one particular department and will be able to teach courses throughout the university’s academic disciplines. Dr. Simmons served as the eighteenth president of Brown University, the Ivy League educational institution in Providence, Rhode Island, from 2001 to 2012. Before becoming president of Brown University, Dr. Simmons was president of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Earlier, she was vice provost at Princeton University in New Jersey and provost at Spelman College in Atlanta.

Dr. Simmons is a native of Houston and is a product of the city’s public school system. She is a graduate of Dillard University in New Orleans and holds a Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures from Harvard University.

Major Jackson, a professor of English and director of the creative writing program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, was named to the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in the Humanities. Before joining the faculty at Vanerbilt, Professor Jackson taught a the University of Vermont. Professor Jackson is the author of five volumes of poetry including his most recent work The Absurd Man (W.W. Norton, 2020). He serves as the poetry editor of The Harvard Review.

Jackson is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, where he majored in accounting.


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