Jackson State University Executive Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education graduate Kendra Preer has earned the 2012 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Board of Directors for the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE). The Outstanding Dissertation Award recognizes dissertation research that will contribute substantially to the field and serve as exemplary models of research. Preer’s dissertation, titled “Interracial Diversity at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Understanding African-American Student Perceptions,” was recognized for an award because it provides an understanding about how students of color experience diversity within their own ethnicity and encompassed issues of gender, sexuality and class within the African-American community.
“It really inspires me to do more research and work with other professionals in higher education and diversity,” said Preer, who earned a Ph.D. from JSU in August 2011. Preer, who directs the Upward Bound Math-Science Academy at Stark State College in Canton, Ohio, commuted to Jackson once a month for her doctoral studies.
“The faculty and staff and my dissertation chair Dr. James Maddirala were absolutely helpful,” Preer said. “Also, the faculty around campus strongly supports the Executive Ph.D. program, which is important.”
JSU’s Executive Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education program prepares students to assume senior leadership roles in post-secondary institutions and other organizations that relate to institutions of higher learning. Through the program’s cohort model, all students simultaneously complete the 24-month program of study.
“I absolutely love the program at Jackson State,” Preer said. “It would have been challenging to do my studies outside of the Executive Ph.D. cohort model.” Preer will receive her award at the NADOHE Annual Conference March 12-14 in Los Angeles. She will also present her research at the Noel-Levitz Symposium on Recruitment and Retention of People of Color in Denver April 18-20.
by Jean Gordon Cook