New Administrative Roles in Higher Education for Six African Americans

Brian L. Ragsdale was named an associate dean in the office of institutional effectiveness at Walden University. He is a licensed clinical psychologist in Illinois and was a senior core faculty member in the School of Psychology at the university, where he had taught since 2007.

Dr. Ragsdale earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Rhode Island.

Ava L. Ayers is the new student services program coordinator for the Dr. Emily England Clyburn Honors College at South Carolina State University.

A native of Newport News, Virginia, Ayers received her bachelor’s degree in music education from Norfolk State University and a master’s degree in education with a focus in higher education administration from Liberty University. Ayers is pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership from Liberty University.

Takama Statton-Brooks is now serving as interim assistant vice chancellor for university housing at the University of Arkansas. Dr. Statton-Brooks began her tenure at the university as the assistant director for residence education and was promoted to director for residence education in 2011.

Dr. Stratton-Brooks is a graduate of Emporia State University in Kansas, where she majored in vocational rehabilitation counseling. She holds a master of social work degree from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, and a doctorate in educational leadership and administration from Saint Louis University.

Andrew Coston is the new vice president for student affairs at the College of Our Lady of the Elms in Chicopee, Massachusetts. He was assistant dean of students at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, and executive director of the college’s Center for Career Development. Prior to that, he was director of career services at Cecil College in Bay View, Maryland.

Dr. Coston holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. He earned a master’s degree in school counseling at Loyola College in Maryland and an educational doctorate from Morgan State University in Baltimore.

Jamese Sims was named deputy director of the Northern Gulf Institute and strategic advisor for federal partnerships at Mississippi State University. She began working as a meteorologist and scientist for the federal government in 2004, working to improve weather prediction through high-performance computing-based models.

Dr. Sims is a graduate of Jackson State University in Mississippi, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in meteorology. She holds a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Rochelle A. Conley is the new general counsel at Alabama A&M University. Since 2014, she has been a deputy attorney general in Huntsville, Alabama, where she represented the Madison County Department of Human Resources in child welfare cases.

Conley is a graduate of Alabama A&M University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science. She holds a juris doctorate from the University of Alabama School of Law.


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