Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Black Academics Rise to the Top at Major Universities and Professional Schools

June 14th, 2008 by Ajuan Mance

The economy may be teetering on the edge of a recession, and gas prices may be inching up closer and closer to the unreason; but for Black leaders in academe the outlook is very positive. Witness the following professors and administrators who have been appointed to major administrative positions a several of the nations graduate and professional schools:

Eli Jones

Dr. Eli Jones was named Dean of the E.J. Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism, an MBA, and a PhD from Texas A&M University. With this appointment Jones becomes Ourso’s first non-white dean. Prior to his appointment he served as professor of marketing and associate dean for Executive Education Programs in the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. The LSU Press release announcing his appointment describes his outstanding record and unique qualifications for the leadership of the Ourso College of Business:

Jones has published 30 articles in major marketing and management journals and co-authored two books: “Selling ASAP: Art, Science, Agility, Performance” and “Strategic Sales Leadership: BREAKthrough Thinking for BREAKthrough Results.” He currently serves on four editorial review boards and on the board of directors of Administaff, the nation’s leading professional employer organization. Jones is the chairman of the Compensation Committee.

Jones has won 10 Excellence in Teaching awards at the college, university, national and international levels, and he has taught sales and sales management at the undergraduate and MBA levels, and a doctoral seminar in marketing strategy at the University of Houston. He also has been a visiting professor at Vlerick School of Management in Belgium, in the MBA program at Tuck Business School at Dartmouth and in the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell. He has taught leadership, sales strategies and customer relationship management to senior- and mid-level executives in China, Dubai, France, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Trinidad, United Kingdom and in the United States.

“Although the search committee was presented with many outstanding candidates, Dr. Jones was clearly a front runner from the start,” said LSU Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development Brooks Keel, who chaired the dean search committee. “In addition to his credentials as a scholar and administrative leader, his business background, experience and people skills will serve him well in his role of building relations with the business community in the region.”

Before becoming a professor, Jones worked in sales and sales management for three Fortune 100 companies: Quaker Oats, Nabisco and Frito-Lay.


On Friday, Aprill 11, JoAnne Epps was named dean of Temple University’s James E. Beasley School of Law. Dean Epps is a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, CT and Yale Law School (1976). The Philadelphia Inquirer describes the career path that preceded her rise to the helm at the Beasley School of Law:

As a teenager in Cheltenham JoAnne A. Epps dreamed of becoming a secretary like her two heroes – her mother, who worked at Temple Univerity and, Della Street the know-it-all assistant on the old Perry Mason show.

Instead, at the urging of a college mentor, she become a lawyer and today was named dean of Temple University’s James E. Beasley School of Law.

“Back in the ’60s I didn’t know any women lawyers and I certainly didn’t know any black women lawyers,” said Epps, 56. “I didn’t see that in my future but one of my college mentors did, for which I’ll be eternally grateful.”

Epps has been a Temple faculty member for more than two decades but her connections to the university go much deeper – her first job was as a 16 year-old cashier in the bookstore. Her late mother, Ellen, who worked at the university for more than 20 years, retired as registrar at Tyler School of Art.

“Several people have written who knew my mom and said she was looking down,” said Epps. “It was gratifying. I feel very honored to be in this position.”

Temple president Ann Weaver Hart called Epps “a universally respected scholar” with a devotion to Temple’s mission and contagious energy.

An authority on evidence, criminal procedure and litigation advocacy, Epps has written several books that are widely used in law schools. Prior to joining the faculy, she was assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and deputy city attorney for Los Angeles.

Her work in international legal education includes training Sudanese lawyers representing victims of the Darfur crisis and teaching advocacy skills to prosecutors in Tanzania at the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

— Kathy Boccella for the Philadelphia Inquirer


Dr. Valentine James has been appointed Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Clarion University in Clarion, PA. He is currently dean of the school of humanities and social sciences at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. The Clarion University Newsire describes his educational background:

James received his bachelor’s of science degree in biology with a concentration in animal ecology from Tusculum College, Greeneville, Tenn. His master of arts degree in environmental science with a minor in environmental planning and management is from Governors State University, University Park, Ill. He received his doctor of philosophy degree from Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, with a major in urban and regional planning and a minor in recreation and parks.

He has held many positions in higher education beginning as a faculty graduate assistant at Governors State University from 1979-81. He was a graduate research assistant for the department of urban and regional planning and tutor/instructor for the athletic department at Texas A & M University; research writer, mathematics and biology educator in Bryan, Texas; assistant professor of urban and regional planning at University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette, La.; assistant professor of urban and environmental planning, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.; director of African studies program and associate professor of social science, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Mich.; and director of the Ph.D. program in public policy and associate professor of public policy, interim chair of the Masters of Public Administration department, and director of the Ph.D. program in public policy at Southern University and A & M College.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

Posted in Academia, African American Professors, Black Colleges, Black PhDs, Business School, Current Events, Eli Jones, JoAnne Epps, Law School, Uncategorized, Valentine James

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