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Faculty and staff



    Grace E. Harris, Ph.D.

    Grace E. Harris, Ph.D., is a distinguished professor in the Center for Public Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University and provides direction and oversight for The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute. The VCU Board of Visitors established the leadership institute in May 1999 to honor her 32 years of exemplary service to the university and her retirement as provost and vice president of academic affairs. Prior to becoming provost in January 1993, Harris held the position of vice provost for continuing studies and public service. On two occasions — in 1995 and 1998 — she served as acting president of VCU.

    Harris joined the university in 1967 and held a variety of faculty and administrative posts, including dean of the School of Social Work from 1982 to 1990. She had formerly been employed as a social worker, supervisor and executive director in public and nonprofit social service agencies in Hampton and Richmond, Va.

    Harris received her Bachelor of Science degree in sociology from Hampton Institute, now Hampton University, graduating with highest honors. She attended Boston University in 1954-55 and received her Master of Social Work from Richmond Professional Institute of the College of William and Mary in 1960. She received Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in sociology from the University of Virginia in 1974 and 1975, respectively.

    Active in community organizations in the Richmond area, Harris has served on numerous boards, task forces and commissions. She currently serves on the advisory board of the Virginia Health Care Foundation and the Virginia Commission on Higher Education Appointments, of which she has been a member since its establishment by former Gov. Mark Warner in 2002. She also was vice chair of Warner’s transition team — Put Virginia First.


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    Susan T. Gooden, Ph.D.

    Susan T. Gooden, Ph.D., is a Professor of Public Administration and Policy in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and Executive Director of the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).  She has is the author or co-author of two books, scholarly articles, book chapters, and technical reports in the areas of social equity, welfare policy, and post-secondary education.  She has conducted several research studies for MDRC, as well as for other national research organizations.  She teaches courses in Public Policy and Administration, Social Equity and Public Policy Analysis, Research Methods, and Social Welfare Policy. She is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and the Vice-President of the American Society for Public Administration. She  is an elected member of the national policy council of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) and was appointed to the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation, the accrediting arm of the Network of Associated Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). Gooden is a faculty affiliate at Duke University’s Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Specialist Award to Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

    Prior to her current academic appointment, Dr. Gooden was an Associate Professor at the Center for Public Administration and Policy at Virginia Tech, where she received early promotion and tenure and served as Founder and Director of the Race and Social Policy Research Center.  She has served as a visiting scholar-in-residence at the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  A native of Martinsville & Henry County, Virginia, she received an A.S. in Natural Science from Patrick Henry Community College, a B.A. in English from Virginia Tech, and a M.A. in Political Science from Virginia Tech. She received her Ph.D. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

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    Nakeina E. Douglas-Glenn, Ph.D.

    Nakeina E. Douglas-Glenn, Ph.D., is the Director of the Institute. Douglas-Glenn earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration and Public Affairs from the Center for Public Administration and Policy at Virginia Tech. She has a Master of Social Work degree from Radford University and received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Virginia Tech.

    Prior to coming to VCU, Douglas-Glenn served as a research and evaluation associate at the National Science Foundation. In addition, she was also an adjunct professor at George Mason University in the Department of Public and International Affairs. Douglas-Glenn’s teaching and research focus on public policy processes, analysis and evaluation, program evaluation, comparative state politics, social research methods, women and leadership and the intersection of race and social policy. She is an elected member of Virginia Network executive board and serves as the institutional representative for Women's Network at VCU.

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    Michelle D. Hawkins

    Michelle D. Hawkins, Business Manager for the Institute, is primarily responsible for managing the fiscal and administrative support functions of the institute. She brings more than 14 years of service from various state government roles. Hawkins is a 2008 graduate of VCU, receiving an undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies with a self-designed emphasis in advocacy for minorities. She received an A.A.S. degree in marketing from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

    Hawkins was a member of the 2007 class of the HIGHER Ground Women’s Leadership Development Program, as well as the 2008 class of the Minority Political Leadership Institute. She is a notary public and active member of the Old Dominion Chapter of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals. She is certified as a Virginia contracting associate and is a member of the Virginia Association of Governmental Purchasing.

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    Lindsey L. Evans, MPA

    Lindsey L. Evans is the Administrative Program Coordinator at the Institute.  Evans is also a doctoral candidate in Public Policy and Administration program, where her concentration is in the area of Higher Education Policy and Equity. In 2008, she received her Masters of Public Administration and a post-baccalaureate graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems from the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at VCU.

    A native of the State of Georgia, Evans received her B.S. in Political Science and Criminal Justice from Georgia College in 2005.  Prior to joining the Institute, Evans worked as a graduate research associate for the Director of Graduate Studies.  Her research is engaged in several initiatives promoting and developing resources in the areas of social equity in higher education.

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    Kasey J. Martin, Ph.D.

    Kasey J. Martin, PhD, is Research Associate at the Institute. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy and Administration from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her dissertation research explored the role of community colleges in promoting educational equity. Martin’s major research interests are in the areas of racial justice and social equity—role of public institutions in promoting equity,  addressing race relations and structural inequities, educational access and attainment for low income, first generation, and students of color and health disparities. She values community-based participatory research and action-oriented research that is focused on solutions to inequities. She is committed to a praxis that is grounded in an intersectional analysis and approach to research that is educational, sustainable and focused on solutions.

    In addition to her work at the Institute, Martin’s research experience includes consultant work with MDC Inc. and MDRC, two social policy research organizations involved in the Achieving the Dream initiative. She was involved in the structural inequity and evaluation work of the initiative.

    Previously, she worked at the Race and Social Policy Research Center at Virginia Tech where she gained experience in writing grant proposals, conducting qualitative interviews and focus groups, working with community organizations and assisting in report writing. Martin is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) a national leadership honor society and Pi Alpha Alpha, a national honor society for public affairs and administration.

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    Olivia X. Barnes

    Olivia X. Barnes is a Program Coordinator at the Institute.  She earned a Master’s degree in English, with a concentration on Literature from VCU in May 2014.  In 2012, Barnes graduated from Eastern Washington University, receiving a B.A. in English and a minor in Government.





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    Megan Bray

    Megan Bray is a student worker at the Institute. Currently an undergraduate student majoring in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies with a concentration in women, health, and sciences, Megan is also minoring in Chemistry on a pre-medicine track.  She hopes to pursue a medical degree after completing her undergraduate work.





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    Julie Lopez

    JulieJulianna (Julie) Lopez is a program assistant at the Institute. She is an undergraduate student majoring in English and she is currently in the Extended Teacher Preparation Program at VCU.

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    Brittany Noah

    Brittany Noah is a student worker at the Institute.  Brittany is an undergraduate student majoring in Biomedical Engineering and Psychology. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in Human Factors Engineering after graduating from VCU.

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    Taylor Parker

    Taylor Parker is a student worker at the Institute. Parker is an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology. After graduating, Parker plans to attend dental school and earn a doctorate in dental surgery.






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    Amber Valentine

    Amber Valentine is a student worker at the Institute. She is an undergraduate student majoring in Heath, Physical Education and Exercise Science with a concentration in Exercise Science. She plans to attend graduate school in physical therapy upon graduation.

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