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SIUE’s Harris recognized nationally for exceptional ADEI leadership

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Vice Chancellor for Anti-racism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ADEI) Jessica Harris, Ph.D., has been awarded the Change Create Transform Foundation’s 2022 Humanitarian Award and has been named a St. Louis Business Journal Champion for Diversity and Inclusion.

Harris’ ADEI efforts have been recognized nationally as she has received the 2022 Humanitarian Award from the Change Create Transform Foundation.

Founded in 2010, the Change Create Transform Foundation focuses on developing leaders, championing academic excellence and diversity, addressing social responsibility, cultivating the workforce and economy, and more. The 2022 Humanitarian Award recognizes Harris for her exemplary leadership focused on equity and excellence in higher education. SIUE is an Academic Partner of the Foundation, and Harris is a critical contributor, serving as the Foundation Faculty Council Chair.

“Dr. Harris is an advocate, leader, champion, change maker, trailblazer, friend and humanitarian,” said Vikki Pryor, founder, managing principal and president of the Change Create Transform Foundation. “Dr. Harris has demonstrated deep commitment to things that matter. Through her work, she is creating a national model for equity and excellence in higher education.”

“It is my greatest joy and pleasure to do this work; to champion diversity, inclusion and justice in higher education—at SIUE—and in this region,” said Harris, during the St. Louis Business Journal Champions for Diversity and Inclusion honoree luncheon held Thursday, Sept. 8 in St. Louis. “I have the opportunity to plant seeds for others, to add value to the lives of those I encounter, to recognize and support SIUE students, helping them realize their fullest potential, and to be a force for good in this community.” The  Champions for Diversity and Inclusion award recognizes individuals in the St. Louis region who are working within their company to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community.

“Dr. Harris’ strategic vision includes operationalizing inclusive excellence at all levels of the institution to ensure an equity-minded and student-centered campus culture,” said Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Denise Cobb, Ph.D. “She understands the power that higher education, diversity, access, true inclusion and real opportunity can have for individuals, their families, communities, and our society.”

Harris is an accomplished teacher and scholar of 20th century African American history, and a dedicated servant leader committed to student success and inclusive excellence. Harris received the competitive Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation’s 2014-15 Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty for her research on the contributions of Black women to the struggle for civil rights in Oakland, Calif. prior to World War II.

In 2011, Harris earned a doctorate in history from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. She also holds a master’s from Cornell University and a bachelor’s from Dillard University in New Orleans.

SIUE Vice Chancellor for Anti-racism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ADEI) Jessica Harris, Ph.D., shown.


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