Six Black Americans Who Are Taking on New Administrative Duties in Higher Education

Richard Cross was promoted to director of mentoring and tutoring in the Academic Success Center at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. He was a retention specialist at the center. Dr. Cross has focused his research on emotional intelligence, achievement, and motivation. His most recent studies have explored the impact of emotional intelligence on the performance of Black male students.

A native of Jamaica, Dr. Cross holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in sociology from Lincoln University. He earned a doctorate in higher education leadership from Clark Atlanta University.

Madeline Brown was named interim associate director of the Center for Academic Excellence at North Carolina A&T State University. Brown, who joined N.C. A&T in August 2019, has served as an academic advisor and lecturer in the Center for Academic Excellence.

Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish studies from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and a master’s degree in human behavior and organizational psychology from Kean University in Union, New Jersey.

Joe Leonard was named the assistant vice president of external affairs at Howard University in Washington, D.C. For more than two years, Dr. Leonard has served as director of the Howard University Community Association, focused on enhancing the university’s relationship with surrounding communities. He previously served as the chief of staff to the senior adviser for the mayor of Washington, D.C., and as assistant secretary for civil rights at the United States Department of Agriculture.

A native of Texas, Dr. Leonard holds a bachelor’s degree from Huston-Tillotson University in Austin. He earned a master’s degree from Southern University in Louisiana and a Ph.D. in American history from Howard University.

Birma Gaino was appointed director of Counseling and Psychological Services at Clemson University in South Carolina. She has been interim director since March 2021. She served as assistant director from 2015 to 2021.

Dr. Gaino earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Clemson in 1995. She added master’s degrees in professional communication in 2001 and counselor education in 2003 from Clemson University. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia in counseling psychology.

Courtney Cadore was appointed assistant to the athletic director at Dillard University in New Orleans. She is the head cheerleading coach at the university and has been a cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League.

Cadore holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in sports management from Florida A&M University.

Shawn Odom has been appointed director of housing and residence life at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. Most recently, Dr. Odom served as the associate director of housing at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

Dr. Odom is a graduate of Fayetteville State University in North Carolina where he majored in communications. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.


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