Three African American Scholars Who Have Been Appointed Deans

Josef Sorett will be the next dean of Columbia College at Columbia University in New York, effective July 1. He wll also hold the title of vice president of undergraduate education. Professor Sorett, who first came to Columbia in 2009, is currently professor of religion and African American and African diaspora studies, chair of the department of religion, and director of the Center on African-American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice. He is the editor of The Sexual Politics of Black Churches (Columbia University Press, 2022).

Dr. Sorett received a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He holds a master of divinity degree in religion and literature from Boston University and a Ph.D. in African American studies from Harvard University.

Akilah Carter-Francique was appointed dean of Education, Health, and Human Services at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina. Dr. Carter-Francique formerly served as an associate professor of African American studies and executive director of the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change at San José State University in California.

A native of Topeka, Kansas, Dr. Carter-Francique earned a bachelor’s at the University of Houston, where she double majored in kinesiology and psychology and was a student-athlete in track and field. She earned a master’s degree in kinesiology and a doctorate in sports studies at the University of Georgia.

Nathaniel Whitaker, department head and professor of mathematics and statistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been named interim dean of the College of Natural Sciences at the university. Professor Whitaker, an applied mathematician, has wide research interests that span fluid mathematics, mathematical biology, and numerical analysis. He has been on the university’s faculty for 35 years.

Dr. Whitaker earned his bachelor’s degree from Hampton University in Virginia. He received a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Cincinnati and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.


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