Naeemah Clark named Elon’s first associate provost for academic inclusive excellence

The distinguished Elon University faculty member with scholarly interests in diversity and representation in American media will lead efforts to further promote a welcoming environment for learning and teaching across campus.

A communications professor who has taught and mentored thousands of students throughout her accomplished Elon tenure has been named the university’s first associate provost for academic inclusive excellence.

Naeemah Clark, a professor of cinema and television arts and Elon University’s J. Earl Danieley Distinguished Professor, begins her new role August 1, though her work supporting inclusive excellence and intersectional identities already has been a defining feature of her two decades in higher education.

Clark currently serves as Presidential Administrative Fellow where she oversees campus initiatives to build intercultural competence. She now takes a lead role in further growing Elon University’s commitment to inclusive excellence through priorities outlined in the Boldly Elon strategic plan.

“Elon is fortunate to have someone of Dr. Naeemah Clark’s caliber to provide a vision for achieving such important and ambitious goals,” said Elon University Provost Rebecca Kohn. “She understands in meaningful ways how students, faculty, and staff thrive in spaces where they feel welcomed, a guiding philosophy of her many impressive contributions to our community throughout her career.”

Clark’s selection for the newly created role within the Office of the Provost follows service to the university in a variety of leadership and administrative positions. Her new responsibilities include:

Promote inclusive excellence in academic spaces via:

  • Regularly consulting with the provost and vice president for academic affairs and the vice president for inclusive excellence, collaborating with academic deans to identify faculty academic needs, and developing an assessment plan to measure expansion of student perspectives toward inclusive excellence as a result of their classroom experiences;
  • Developing collaborations and providing leadership along with the associate provost for faculty affairs, the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, the Core Curriculum Council, the Office of Inclusive Excellence Education and Development, and others, to support DEI faculty development;
  • And establishing and maintaining a database of courses addressing DEI issues to support faculty members when advising students and to provide general knowledge of course availability while assisting faculty members, department chairs, and deans when navigating responses to bias-related experiences in teaching and learning spaces.

Support the recruitment, hiring, and retention of a diverse faculty and staff by:

  • Identifying best practices and collaborating with university stakeholders to develop policies and processes that help attract diverse pools of job candidates, increase success in hiring faculty and staff members from diverse backgrounds, and enhance retention of individuals from diverse backgrounds;
  • And using institutional data to benchmark academic inclusive excellence outcomes over time and against other similar colleges and universities with the goal of achieving better recruitment and hiring protocols.

Guide additional campus initiatives and programs by:

  • Supervising and supporting the Black Lumen Project and Project Pericles faculty directors, the chair of the Committee on Elon History and Memory, and the Faculty Fellows for CREDE and for Civic Engagement;
  • Supporting the development of inclusive excellence goals for Elon University’s Regional Centers;
  • And serving on appropriate campus committees, working groups, and councils, including the Council on Civic Engagement.

“I’m excited to work with students, faculty, and staff to help Elon live its mission to produce graduates the world needs,” Clark said. “At a time when higher education is being challenged by those who have diminished the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion, it is gratifying that our university has been intentionally leaning into this hard work.”

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Clark joined the Elon faculty in 2009 and earned promotion to full professor by 2018. In the interim, she chaired the Core Curriculum Council, co-chaired the Presidential Task Force for Social Climate, directed the School of Communications Fellows Program, served as a member of the Task Force for LGBTQIA Faculty, Staff, Students and the LGBTQIA Advisory Council, and served as a member of the Inclusive Community Council/President’s Advisory Council for Inclusive Excellence.

Since her promotion to full professor, Clark has continued her prolific service to the university as director of assessment and accreditation for the School of Communications, as a member of the University Promotion and Tenure committee, and as department chair for Cinema & Television Arts. She was appointed to her current role as Presidential Administrative Fellow in 2021.

Clark’s scholarly focus is on economic, programming, and diversity issues related to the media and entertainment industries, and she has co-authored a textbook, “Diversity in U.S. Mass Media,” that enters its third edition this summer. Clark also edited the book “African Americans in the History of U.S. Media.”

Before coming to Elon, Clark worked at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Kent State University. She holds a Ph.D. and Master of Arts in mass communication from the University of Florida and a Bachelor of Science in English Education from Florida State University.

The Search Committee for Elon’s Associate Provost for Academic Inclusive Excellence

  • Ann Bullock, Dr. Jo Watts Williams Dean of Education, Professor & Director of Teacher Education (Search Chairperson)
  • Bruce Cottrill, Director of Compensation and Recruitment, Human Resources
  • Carla Fullwood, Director of Inclusive Excellence, Education and Development
  • Paula Patch, Senior Lecturer in English
  • Barjinder Singh, Associate Professor of Management
  • Jennifer Uno, Associate Professor of Biology and Associate Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning