Project Advisory Board

Dorinda Carter Andrews (Professor and Chair of teacher education, Michigan State University)

Dorinda Carter Andrews is the chairperson for the Department of Teacher Education. She is also a professor of race, culture, and equity. Her research is broadly focused on racial justice and educational equity. She examines issues of racial justice in P-12 learning contexts and on college campuses, urban teacher preparation and identity development, and critical race praxis with K-12 educators. Her scholarship examines these issues by illuminating voices of youth and adults who have been historically and traditionally marginalized in schools and society. Carter Andrews is a 2019 co-recipient of the Division G Outstanding Mentoring Award from the American Educational Research Association. She is also co-editor of the Journal of Teacher Education.

Phillip J. Bowman (Professor and Director of the Diversity Research and Policy Program, University of Michigan)

Phillip J. Bowman is the founding Director of the National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) at the University of Michigan. In addition, he is a professor in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education; holds a faculty appointment in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning; serves as faculty associate in the Center for Group Dynamics at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research; and serves as research affiliate with the National Poverty Center at the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy.

Malik S. Henfield (Full Professor and Founding Dean of the Institute for Racial Justice, Loyola University, Chicago)

Dr. Malik S. Henfield is a Full Professor and Founding Dean of the Institute for Racial Justice at Loyola University Chicago. He received a BA in Biology from Francis Marion University, a M.Ed. and Ed.S. in School Counseling from The University of South Carolina, and a Ph.D. in Counselor Education from The Ohio State University.

Scheduled to launch Fall 2021, The Institute for Racial Justice (IRJ) at Loyola University Chicago will serve as a central hub for the university community and external partners who want to dismantle racism through education, research, and community engagement. IRJ will be a highly visible anchor in Chicago where discourse, fellowship, and reimagination converge to aid in the elimination of racism, anti-blackness, and xenophobia. The Institute will use an intersectional lens to research new and innovative ways to facilitate healing and liberation for Asian, Black, Latina/o/x, and Indigenous people who have been on the receiving end of entrenched systemic racism. IRJ will support institutional change by sharing its findings, in-person and virtually, in Chicago, across the nation, and globally.

Dr. Henfield has published multiple scholarly manuscripts and books, and delivered numerous national, regional, state, and local keynote addresses and professional presentations. His scholarship situates Black students’ lived experiences in a broader ecological milieu to critically explore how their personal, social, academic, and career success is impeded and enhanced by school, family, and community contexts. His work to date has focused heavily on the experiences of Black students formally identified as gifted/high-achieving while his latest projects focus more exclusively on developing, implementing, and evaluating in- and out-of-school interventions associated with developing Black students ready to succeed in college and careers.

Janine Janosky (President of the Richard Daley College, City Colleges of Chicago)

Janine E. Janosky, Ph.D. serves as the President of Richard J. Daley College. President Janosky has over 30 years of experience in higher education and biomedical innovation; serving in executive leadership positions in higher education as well as businesses. President Janosky is an expert in developing and implementing programs and initiatives and higher education strategic directions, including leveraging public-private-philanthropic partnerships, specifically workforce and job readiness programs and stackable academic credentials. Prior to joining Richard J. Daley College, she served in a number of faculty and executive leadership positions at institutions of higher education and non-profits as well as being the founder of a for-profit company. President Janosky’s leadership has been broadly impactful. Specifically, her national model for public-private-philanthropic partnerships was recognized in Forbes and earned her a United States White House Champion of Change. She has been honored by a number of other state and national awards throughout her career.

Odis Johnson Professor and Director of the Institute in Critical Quantitative, Computational, & Mixed Methodologies; Bloomberg Distinguished Professor; Executive Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Safe and Healthy Schools, Johns Hopkins University

Odis Johnson Jr., PhD, is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University, where he has faculty appointments in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the School of Education as Executive Director of the Center for Safe and Healthy Schools, and in the Department of Sociology at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. He also directs the Institute in Critical Quantitative, Computational, and Mixed Methodologies (ICQCM). Odis Johnson previously served as a faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis, and chaired the African American Studies Department at the University of Maryland. His work on the interrelated topics of neighborhoods, social policy, and race have been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, William T. Grant Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation. Odis Johnson’s work and ideas about social change have been featured in prominent media outlets, including the Oprah Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, CNN, The Washington Post, MSNBC, NPR, Teen Vogue, The Associated Press, Vox, The New Yorker, The New York Times, NBC News, The Chicago Tribune, SiriusXM, and a variety of international and local news outlets.

David Kirkland (Associate Professor, Executive Director of NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, New York University)

David E. Kirkland is the Executive Director of The NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and The Transformation of Schools. He has also been described as an activist and educator, cultural critic and author. A leading national scholar and advocate for educational justice, Dr. Kirkland’s transdisciplinary scholarship explores a variety of equity related topics: school climate and discipline; school integration and choice; culture and education; vulnerable learners; and intersections among race, gender, and education. With many groundbreaking publications to his credit, he has analyzed the cultures, languages, and texts of urban youth, using quantitative, critical literary, ethnographic, and sociolinguistic research methods to answer complex questions at the center of equity and social justice in education. Dr. Kirkland taught middle and high school for several years in Michigan. He’s also organized youth empowerment and youth mentoring programs for over a decade in major U.S. cities such as Detroit, Chicago and New York. He currently leads efforts to enhance education options for vulnerable youth throughout New York City, and beyond. Dr. Kirkland has received many awards for his research and educational advocacy work, including the 2016 AERA Division G Mid-Career Scholars Award, the 2008 AERA Division G Outstanding Dissertation Award.

Na’ilah Suad Nasir (President of the Spencer Foundation)

Na’ilah Suad Nasir is the sixth President of the Spencer Foundation, which invests in education research that cultivates learning and transforms lives. From 2008-2019, she held a faculty appointment at the University of California, Berkeley, where she also served as Vice-Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion. Nasir earned her PhD in Education Psychology at UCLA and was a member of the faculty in the School of Education at Stanford University. Her work focuses on issues of race, culture, learning, and identity. She is the author of Racialized Identities: Race and Achievement for African-American Youth and has published numerous scholarly articles. Nasir is a member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Charles Payne (Henry Rutgers Distinguished Professor of African American Studies, Rutgers University-Newark; Director, Joseph Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Research

Charles M. Payne is the Henry Rutgers Distinguished Professor of African American Studies at Rutgers University Newark and the Director of the Joseph Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Research. His research and teaching interests include urban education and school reform, social inequality, social change and modern African American history, particularly the Black Freedom Struggle. Payne has been the recipient of a Senior Scholar grant from the Spencer Foundation and was a Resident Fellow at the foundation for 2006-7. He has won an Alphonse Fletcher Fellowship, granted in recognition of work that contributes to improving race relations in American society and furthers the broad social goals of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision. He spent the 2014-15 school year as a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.  He holds honorary degrees from Syracuse University and Lesley University. Payne has taught at Southern University, Williams College, Haverford College, Northwestern University, Duke University, and the University of Chicago.  He has won several teaching awards; at Northwestern, he held the Charles Deering McCormick Chair for Teaching Excellence and at Duke, the Sally Dalton Robinson Chair for Excellence in Teaching and Research. Payne holds a bachelor’s degree in Afro-American studies from Syracuse University and a doctorate in sociology from Northwestern.

Michael Rodriguez (Professor, Campbell Leadership Chair; Founding Co-Director of the Educational Equity Resource Center, University of Minnesota)

Michael Rodriguez focuses much of his research on understanding the psychometric properties of tests. This work has included research on the effects of item formats and the use of constructed-response versus multiple-choice items. He has a strong interest in applied measurement, spending a good deal of time working with schools and school districts to develop methods for improving their use of large-scale test information for planning and evaluation. He also continues to work on issues related to improving accessibility of assessment of students with disabilities and English language learners. He also lead a Youth Development Research Group, examining multiple aspects of youth development, social-emotional skills, and important educational outcomes. He currently provides advisory support to the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (ETS), the US Defense Department on military personnel testing, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Buros Center for Testing. He is a founding co-director of the Educational Equity Resource Center through his role in the Campbell Leadership Chair. Awards include: 2009 Award for Outstanding Contributions to Post baccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education, University of Minnesota; 2008 Robert H. Beck Faculty Teaching Award, College of Education and Human Development Alumni Society; 2005 Albert J. Harris Research Award of the International Reading Association; and 2004 Community Service Award, College of Education and Human Development.

James Stigler (Distinguished Professor of Psychology at UCLA)

James Stigler is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at UCLA. His research focuses on teaching and learning, especially in mathematics, and its intersection with culture and technology. He is co-author of two popular books: The Teaching Gap (with James Hiebert) and The Learning Gap (with Harold Stevenson). He was Director of the TIMSS video studies, and a co-founder of two educational technology startups (LessonLab and Zaption). His current work focuses on developing a new R&D approach for continuous improvement of educational materials ( He received his A.B. from Brown University and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Michigan.

Alfred W. Tatum, Ph.D. (Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Metropolitan State University of Denver)

Alfred W. Tatum, UIC College of Education’s 9th dean, is a leading authority and one of the nation’s prominent educational scholars of African American boys’ literacy development. He became the dean of the College of Education June, 2014 after serving one year as the interim dean. During his time as dean, Tatum has advocated for an exceptional educational experience for undergraduate and graduate students. He has also placed an emphasis on growing the College of Education’s research infrastructure and supporting departments to develop geographically responsive programs and courses as part of the college’s growth orientation he instigated to build powerhouse departments and become a more comprehensive College of Education. Dean Tatum has focused on increasing faculty, staff, and student diversity, improving facilities, and nurturing community engagement. Dean Tatum has authored or co-authored close to 70 academic papers and publications on the topics of adolescent literacy, texts and identity, and the literacy development of African American boys, including three books. He is the author of the award-winning book, Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males: Closing the Achievement Gap. He also wrote the books, Reading for Their Life: (Re) building the Textual Lineages of African American Males and Fearless Voices: Engaging a New Generation of African American Adolescent Male Writers. He is also the author on four major reading and writing programs used with millions of students throughout the US.

Ivory A. Toldson (Professor, Howard University; President and CEO, QEM Network)

Ivory A. Toldson is the president and CEO of the QEM Network, professor of counseling psychology at Howard University, editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education and executive editor of the Journal for Policy Analysis and Research, published by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. Previously, Dr. Toldson was appointed by President Barack Obama to devise national strategies to sustain and expand federal support to HBCUs, as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Since 2016, as QEM principal investigator, Dr. Toldson has been awarded more than $4.5 million from federal agencies including NSF and NASA, to support capacity building efforts for STEM programs at Minority Serving Institutions.

With more than 80 publications, Dr. Toldson was dubbed a leader “who could conceivably navigate the path to the White House” by the Washington Post; one of “30 leaders in the fight for Black men;” by Newsweek Magazine; and the “Problem Solver” by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. A sought-after speaker, Dr. Toldson has been featured on MSNBC TV, C-SPAN2 TV, NPR News, and numerous national and local radio stations. In print, his research has been featured in The Washington Post,, The New York Times, The National Journal, Essence Magazine,, The Grio, and Ebony Magazine. Dr. Toldson was named in The Root 100, an annual ranking of the most influential African-American leaders. He also served as contributing education editor for The Root, where he debunked some of the most pervasive myths about African-Americans and gained a national reputation for challenging “BS,” or Bad Stats.

Dr. Toldson, according to former U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, is “a prolific young scholar and myth buster.” According to NPR, “Toldson says the refusal to look at the data closely — to prefer a story over the facts — creates more problems than it solves.” According to the Washington Post, Dr. Toldson help others to “Look deeper into the dispiriting statistics” to “Find a rarely acknowledged beauty: an indomitable spirit and irrepressible desire to beat the odds.” He is married to Marshella Toldson, and together, they are raising their daughter, Makena and their son, Ivory Kaleb.

Rochelle Williams (Director of Programs at the National Society of Black Engineers)

Rochelle L. Williams, Ph.D., scientist, engineer, executive, and advocate for inclusive academic and workplace environments, his the senior director of Programs for the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Dr. Williams brings 11 years of professional experience in the nonprofit sector and higher education to the post, most recently from the Association for Women in Science, in Washington, D.C., where she had been project director and co-principal investigator for the ADVANCE Resource Coordination Network since April 2018. In addition to her work with the Association for Women in Science, Dr. Williams’ track record includes successful tenures as a manager and director for ABET; as a science and technology policy Fellow with the National Academy of Engineering; and as a research scientist with Prairie View A&M University’s Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, Academic Affairs. Dr. Williams has three academic degrees: a Bachelor of Science in physics from Spelman College, a Master of Engineering from Southern University and A&M College, and a doctorate from Southern in science and mathematics education.

As senior director of Programs for NSBE, she has a wide purview, serving as the organization’s chief programs officer, responsible for working with NSBE’s student leadership, as well as the Programs staff and Executive Leadership Team at NSBE World Headquarters, to achieve positive strategic outcomes for the Society, aligned with NSBE’s mission. She also mentors and guides the student leadership on program development, execution, evaluation and reporting.

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