African American Males in Higher Education Leadership

Challenges and Opportunities

by Patricia A. Mitchell (Volume editor)
©2017 Textbook XXVI, 202 Pages


African American Males in Higher Education Leadership: Challenges and Opportunities presents narratives from thirteen African American males working in higher education leadership. Their narratives describe the barriers and roadblocks that continue to impede them while climbing the ivory tower ladder to leadership. This book highlights a number of topics relevant to the experiences of Black males on what it means to hold a leadership position at a historically black college and at a predominately white institution. This is an opportunity to hear the voices of African American males and to look at leadership through their lens. What have been some of the challenges and opportunities they have faced during their journey in higher education? What specific strategies helped them cope with barriers impeding their climb to a leadership position in higher education? What specific programs make a difference for emerging Black male leaders? Did they have a mentor or did they feel isolated during their journey? How are they feeling now? What tips can be passed down to our next generation of Black leaders? These narratives provide inspiration for all African American men aspiring to advance their careers in higher education. Hopefully, African American males will find these narratives useful as they prepare to enter the landscape of higher education leadership and avoid some of the pitfalls discussed in the book.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the Editor
  • Contributors
  • Preface (Carl A. Grant)
  • Introduction (Arthur Tyler)
  • 1. Buffalo Scholar: Fights for Equity in the Academy (Jabari Mahiri)
  • 2. The Work of Chief Diversity Officer: Leading and Serving with Conviction (Gregory J. Vincent)
  • 3. Leadership and Racing Toward the Arc of Freedom by African American Gay and Bisexual Men (Richard Greggory Johnson, III)
  • 4. I’ve Known Rivers … (Bob Hughes)
  • 5. A Pipeline to Success: African American Male Leadership Development at the University of Texas at Austin (Darren D. Kelly)
  • 6. Lost, Yet Finding My Way: Memoirs of a Young Man’s Turbulent Journey (Tyree Robinson)
  • 7. One Man’s Journey (Stanford Simmons)
  • 8. African American Males in Higher Education Athletic Leadership: A Journey (Jamie Williams)
  • 9. Coming From Where I’m From … (C. Spencer Platt)
  • 10. Achievements Beyond My Imagination: My College Experiences (Tyree Robinson)
  • Postscript (Patricia A. Mitchell)
  • Series Index

← viii | ix →



“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.”

—General Colin Powell

Many people have contributed to the development of this book, African American Males in Higher Education Leadership: Challenges and Opportunities. I would like to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge all of the following:

  • Dr. Richard Greggory Johnson, III for the encouragement and selection of this book to be in his series;
  • Contributing authors: Carl Grant, Bob Hughes; Richard Greggory Johnson, III; Darren Kelly; Jabari Mahiri; C. Spencer Platt; Tyree Robinson; Stanford Simmons; Arthur Tyler; Gregory Vincent; and Jamie Williams;
  • Sue Morris, for editorial assistance that kept us focused;
  • Colleagues in the USF School of Education;
  • Colleagues in the Department of Leadership Studies: Ursula Aldana, Michael Duffy, Walt Gmelch, Uma Jayakumar, Doreen Jones, Danfeng Koon, Genevieve Negron-Gonzales, Darrick Smith, and Desiree Zerquera;
  • Thanh Ly for her support and assistance;
  • Dr. Mitchell’s family: husband, Larry; children, Candyce, Jason, and Jeremy; son-in-law, Aaron Jackson; daughter in-law, Shanelle; grandchildren, Avery, Grant, and Isaiah; mother, Ruth Turner; and
  • Peter Lang Publishing for publishing this book. ← ix | x →

← x | xi →


About the Editor

Patricia Turner Mitchell, Ph.D., is the chair of the Department of Leadership Studies at the University of San Francisco where she has worked for over three decades preparing students to become educational leaders in order for them to transform and make an impact in their organizations. She holds a B.S. degree from Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland; M.S. degree from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, and a Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Her previous books include: Lessons in Leadership: Tips for an Emerging P-20 Leader (2016), Cracking the Wall Twenty Years Later: Women in Higher Education Leadership (2013), Collaboration and Peak Performance: A Multidisciplinary Perspective for Emerging Leaders (2013), and Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess up Their Careers (2011). ← xi | xii →

← xii | xiii →



Carl A. Grant is the Hoefs-Bascom Professor in the Department of Curriculum and former chair of the Afro Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has authored or edited more than fifty books and has written more than one hundred journal publications. His recent books include: Black Intellectual Thoughts in Education (Sept. 2015) Routledge (with Keffrelyn and Anthony Brown; Intersectionality & Urban Education: Identities, Policies, Spaces and Power, (2014) Information Press (with E. Zwier (Eds.)); The Selected Works of Carl A. Grant (2014) Routledge; and The Moment: Barack Obama, Jeremiah Wright and the Firestorm at Trinity United Church of Christ (2013) Rowman & Little field (with Shelby Grant).

Bob Hughes is the associate dean of Seattle University’s College of Education. He has been an associate professor of adult education at Seattle University since 2007. Prior to this, he held academic positions as a community college faculty member and dean at two colleges in the Seattle area, and as an associate professor of education at California State University Monterey Bay where he also directed one of four regional centers of at each recertification program within the California State University system. His current research and evaluation projects focus on models of effective practices at community colleges, college faculty development, effective instructional design practices, and equity issues. He has taught secondary and college students for over thirty-five years. He holds a Doctorate in Teaching, Curriculum, and Learning Environments from Harvard University.

Richard Greggory Johnson, III is a professor of public policy in the Department of Economics, Law and International Business, School of Management, University of San Francisco. Dr. Johnson’s research centers on social equity within the fields of public policy, management, higher education, and Human Resources Management. He has been teaching in higher education ← xiii | xiv → for almost twenty years and is widely published with several published books and over a dozen peer-reviewed journal articles. He is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Darren D. Kelly is the chief of staff for Academic Diversity Initiatives and Student Engagement (ADI-SE)—a portfolio within the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. The Academic Diversity Initiatives portfolio focuses on building a pipeline to college for underrepresented, low-income, and first generation K-16 students. He also serves as the director of the McNair Scholars Program and the African American Male Research Initiative (AAMRI). Additionally, he serves as the codirector of the Urban Economic Development in South Africa Maymester Study Abroad Program that takes over fifty diverse students to Cape Town, South Africa biennially.

Jabari Mahiri is inaugural holder of the William and Mary Jane Brinton Family Chair in Urban Teaching at the University of California, Berkeley. He directs the TEACH Project (Technology, Equity, And Culture for High-performance schools), a research focused on collaboration with urban and international education initiatives. He is Faculty Director of the Multicultural Urban Secondary English Credential and Master’s Degree Program, Faculty Director of the Bay Area Writing Project, a Senior Scholar for the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, and an elected member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) governing council. His awards include the Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence, the Chancellor’s Award for Community Service, and the AERA Outstanding Mentorship Award. He is author or editor of seven books with Deconstructing Race: Micro-cultures Shifting Multiculturalism forthcoming in 2016.

C. Spencer Platt is assistant professor of Higher Education Administration at the University of South Carolina. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. His M.S. degree is from the University of Dayton and he holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina. He has over ten years of experience in student affairs, community engagement, and academic affairs. His research interests include: Black males in higher education, critical race theory, and doctoral education. Platt’s research has been published in the Journal of College Student Development, the Journal of Advanced Academics and he is a coeditor of Boyhood to Manhood: Deconstructing Black Masculinity through a Life Span Continuum. He has presented his academic work at the American Educational Research Association, the Association for the Study of Higher Education, the International Conference on Doctoral Education, and other national conferences. ← xiv | xv →

Tyree Robinson is a doctoral candidate in the School of Education, Leadership Studies Department, Organization and Leadership program at the University of San Francisco. His passions and what he calls his “callings” are servicing and providing for those in need. His research interests are within the genre of Restorative Justice Policies and Practices, as well as other alternatives contrary to disciplinary actions of exclusion such as unwarranted suspensions and expulsions among young male students of color (grades P–12). He has volunteered much of his time with a non-profit organization: Inner-City Adolescent Network (ICAN), which is a detention-based program for juvenile detainees in San Francisco’s Juvenile Justice Center. An advocate at heart, he will question, investigate, report, and openly speak out against the racial disparities and inequities that are obvious within the Juvenile Justice System.

Stanford Simmons is the former president of Bay Ridge Christian College, where he utilized his experience as an instructional and administrative leader in higher education, to strategically solve organizational problems (i.e., fiscal management and planning) and redesign the operational and instructional landscape of the sixty-year-old historical institution to a two-year residential college serving minority males. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a B.A. in Psychology/Business Administration; the University of the Pacific with a M.A. in Organization Communications, and the University of San Francisco with a Doctorate in Education. He has served on faculties at community colleges, as well as four-year colleges and universities teaching courses in communication studies and history. He has held several community college administrative positions in California and Illinois; and also worked in corporate America as a Community Relations and Marketing Representative for Pacific Gas and Electric Company. He is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

Arthur Tyler is the former chancellor of City College of San Francisco (2013–2015) where he was responsible for keeping City College of San Francisco accredited and solvent. His experience leading community colleges includes institutions in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Houston in various leadership positions where his expertise in fiscal and accreditation matters make him uniquely qualified to lead colleges. From 2007 until 2013, he served as deputy chancellor and chief operating officer of the Houston Community College System, which operates six community colleges and serves more than 75,000 students in the greater Houston area. He was responsible for leading the daily operations of the Houston Community Colleges System, including academic affairs, workforce development, student services and support, facilities and construction, and finance and budget. During his tenure, he helped pass a $425 million general obligation bond and managed more ← xv | xvi → than $750 million in construction funds and annexed two communities into the district’s taxing authority.


XXVI, 202
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2017 (March)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2017. XXVI, 202 pp., 1 table

Biographical notes

Patricia A. Mitchell (Volume editor)

Patricia A. Mitchell is Chair of the Department of Leadership Studies at the University of San Francisco. She holds a Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. Previous books include Lessons in Leadership (2016), Cracking the Wall Twenty Years Later: Women in Higher Education Leadership (2013), and Collaboration and Peak Performance (2013).


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