SIUE Associate Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Venessa Brown, PhD.Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Associate Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Venessa A. Brown, Ph.D., has been recognized by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine as one of 25 women who have made a difference in higher education.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Diverse will publish its 10th annual special report on March 4 recognizing women’s contributions to higher education.

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Diverse highlights women who have made an impact on campus by tackling some of higher education’s toughest challenges, exhibiting extraordinary leadership skills and making a positive difference in their respective communities.

A tenured professor in the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Social Work, Brown has also served as associate provost in the Office of Academic Affairs and executive director of the SIUE East Saint Louis Center.

Brown joined SIUE in 1995 as an assistant professor and became a full professor in 2006. She later served as department chair from 2006-07. In this role, she contributed to the bachelor’s/master’s of social work program becoming fully accredited.

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With all of her contributions to SIUE during her 25-year tenure, Brown’s legacy may be most strongly tied to the annual Diversity Day conference established in 2018. “Designed with community engagement and participation across all three of SIUE’s campuses in mind, Diversity Day showcases the multitude of ways in which membership in the global community is core to SIUE’s mission and values,” she said.

When social and civil unrest arose in nearby Ferguson, Mo, Brown was motivated to host three Black Lives Matter conferences to enlighten the community and create understanding. Brown has always believed that SIUE could set the standard for diversity, equity and inclusion not only for metro St. Louis but also for the region and nationally.

A Missouri native, Brown is internationally known for her commitment to public child welfare with her expertise in the area of child sexual abuse. She is the author of “Child Welfare Case Studies,” published by Allyn & Bacon and “A Promising Reality: Reflections on Race, Gender, and Culture in Cuba,” published by Peter Lang.

Joining Brown in the 2021 class of leading women in higher education are (in alphabetical order):

  • Neeli Bendapudi, president, University of Louisville
  • Karen Carey, chancellor, University of Alaska Southeast (UAS)
  • Laurie A. Carter, president, Shippensburg University
  • Robin R. Means Coleman, associate provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, Northwestern University
  • Karlyn Crowley, provost, Ohio Wesleyan University
  • Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of education emeritus and founding president of the Learning Policy Institute, Stanford University
  • Carol Fierke, provost and executive vice president, Brandeis University
  • Angélica Garcia, president, Berkeley City College
  • Ayanna Howard, dean of college of engineering, Ohio State University
  • Parneshia Jones, director, Northwestern University Press
  • Caroline Laguerre-Brown, vice provost for diversity, equity and community engagement, George Washington University
  • Cynthia Lindquist, president, Cankdeska Cikana Community College
  • Felicia McGinty, executive vice chancellor of administration and planning, Rutgers University
  • Tracey L. Meares, Walton Hale Hamilton professor of law and founding director of the Justice Collaboratory, Yale Law School
  • Traci L. Morris, director of the American Indian Policy (AIPI) Institute, Arizona State University
  • Erica Muhl, president, Berklee College of Music
  • Maureen Murphy, president, College of Southern Maryland
  • Madeline Pumariega, president, Miami Dade College
  • Desiree Reed-Francois, athletic director, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Jeanne Craig Sinkford, dean emerita, College of Dentistry, Howard University
  • Raquel Tamez, CEO, Society of Hispanic Engineers
  • Nancy Jean Tubbs, director, LGBT Resource Center, University of California, Riverside
  • Tara VanDerveer, head women’s basketball coach, Stanford University
  • Geraldine Young, chief diversity and inclusion officer, Frontier Nursing University

For more than three decades, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education has been America’s premier source of timely news, provocative commentary, insightful interviews and in-depth special reports on diversity in higher education. Savvy individuals who appreciate the crucial and ever-changing role that higher education plays in the lives of students, professionals, their families and their communities make reading Diverse a regular habit.

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