For the past seven years, Darris has been instrumental in the growth of the Elon Academy, a college access and success program geared towards students in the local community with a financial need and/or no family history of college.
Few alumni have been as impactful for the Elon LGBTQIA Network and the greater University community as Dr. Darris Means ’05.
For the past seven years, Darris has been instrumental in the growth of the Elon Academy, a college access and success program geared towards students in the local community with a financial need and/or no family history of college. During his tenure at Elon, Darris has been dedicated to serving the Elon LGBTQIA communities, and helped to establish the affinity network in 2012. Darris reflected on his experience helping to establish the affinity network: “I believe we set the foundation for some important work at Elon. We all love Elon, and I believe the LGBTQIA affinity network will make Elon an even better, inclusive campus community.”
Associate Professor and former LGBTQ Coordinator Dr. Kristen Ringelberg noted that the network was “one of the most important and powerful groups to emerge from the school.” Darris is the former chair of the network’s awards and recognition committee. However, Darris has also worked diligently to increase awareness, acceptance, and support for various communities. As a scholar practitioner, Darris has applied his education to benefit the lives of underserved and underrepresented populations.
Darris recently completed his Ph.D. in Educational Research and Policy Analysis with an emphasis in Higher Education at North Carolina State University in 2013. Darris’ research focused on the intersections of race, spirituality, and sexual orientation identity. The American Association for Blacks in Higher Education recognized his dissertation with first place for their Dissertation Award.
Darris’ research and publications have contributed to the field of higher education and the LGBTQIA communities. His achievements have also been recognized by the American College Personnel Association. As the 2013 Elon Young Alumnus of the year, Darris has worked tirelessly to elevate the LGBTQIA alumni network while helping to provide a safe and nurturing environment for Elon students.
Darris recently accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position in the Department of Counseling and Human Development Services and College Student Affairs Administration Programs at the University of Georgia for 2014-15 academic year. “I’m looking forward to addressing topics of diversity and educational equity through scholarship and teaching,” Darris said, “and I hope my scholarship challenges colleges and universities to become more inclusive and welcoming communities for students of color, LGBT students, first-generation college students, and students with a financial need.”
Although he is moving on, we look forward to Darris’ future success and contributions to both Elon and the higher education community.