National Institute on Aging

Three African Americans Appointed to Diversity Positions in Higher Education

Derek A. James was appointed dean of equity, diversity, and inclusion and senior diversity officer at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, effective July 1. James most recently held the role of coordinator of multicultural programs within the College of Agricultural Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University.

James earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. He holds a master’s degree in agricultural and extension education from Pennsylvania State University.

Noura Allen was named director of diversity and inclusive excellence for the College of Professional Studies at Syracuse University in New York. Since 2018, Allen has served as the assistant director of residence life for multicultural affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. Earlier, Allen was residence director for the STEM Residential College and South Campus at Syracuse University from 2012 to 2016.

Allen holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University and a master’s degree in higher education leadership from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Jeanine Staples-Dixon, professor of literacy and language, African American studies, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Pennsylvania State University, has taken on additional duties as the senior faculty mentor in the Office of Educational Equity. In this role, Dr. Staples-Dixon will help faculty members from underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities and those from other marginalized identities by supporting them with professional developmental services, such as tenure and promotion mentoring.

Dr. Staples-Dixon earned her bachelor’s degree in English literature and urban education from Howard University in Washington, D.C., a master’s degree in teaching and curriculum from Harvard University, and a doctorate in literacy and language from the University of Pennsylvania.


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