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2 African-American Scholars Taking on New Challenges

Dr. Terrence HicksDr. Terrence Hicks

Two leading African-American education scholars are taking on new roles at separate institutions when the academic school year resumes in August.

Dr. Terrence Hicks, former dean of the Whitlowe R. Green College of Education at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, has been appointed dean of the Claudius G. Clemmer College of Education at East Tennessee State University.

Dr. Robert T. Palmer, an associate professor of student affairs at Binghamton University, who was named by Diverse as a 2015 Emerging Scholar, has accepted a tenured associate professorship in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Howard University.

Howard — a historically Black college in Washington, D.C. — is in the early stages of developing a Ph.D. program in higher education with a particular focus on HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions. In his new role, Palmer will be tasked with helping to get the program off the ground.

“I am thrilled to be starting this journey in my career at Howard University,” said Palmer. “Howard has a dynamic reputation and the faculty in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies are doing exceptional research on issues encumbering the urban communities of D.C and beyond. I am excited to be at an institution that fully appreciates me and values my research.”

For Hicks, who has spent his academic career teaching at HBCUs, the opportunity to lead a college of education at a large, predominantly White state institution, is an exciting challenge.

“ETSU has a very attractive academic model,” he said, adding that, in addition to the academic programs within the College of Education, there is an Olympic training site and a year-round K-12 laboratory school affiliated with the university that has an enrollment of about 15,000 students. “It’s a great place to work.”

Hicks has co-authored or co-edited five books, including High School to College Transition Research Studies, which he recently published along with Dr. Chance W. Lewis, the Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Full Professor in the College of Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

An expert in STEM research, health and educational disparities, college retention, high school to college transition and spirituality/psychological well-being of college students, Hicks has two earned doctorates — an Ed.D. in educational leadership from Wilmington University and a Ph.D. in counseling from North Carolina State University.

“Dr. Hicks has an impressive record in scholarly activity and will be an outstanding leader for the Clemmer College of Education,” said Dr. Bert C. Bach, vice provost for academic affairs at ETSU. “He will give strong support to the teaching, research and service mission in both the college’s teacher education and school leadership programs and in its growing number of programs in counseling and human services, exercise and sport science, kinesiology and related areas.”

Palmer, whose research focuses on African-American males, is a productive scholar whose latest co-edited book Black Men in the Academy: Stories of Resiliency, Inspiration, and Success has received positive reviews.


Dr. Marybeth Gasman, a professor of higher education and director of the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania said that she’s thrilled that Palmer will continue his research agenda at one of the nation’s most storied Black universities.

“I am so excited because we will have a top-quality scholar doing research on HBCUs at an HBCU,” said Gasman, who has been Palmer’s mentor since 2007. “One of the things I really love about Robert is that he’s a really solid, humble person and I admire that about him.”

Jamal Eric Watson can be reached at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter @jamalericwatson.

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