Menah Pratt-Clarke is the Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). She is also Professor of Education in the School of Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, with affiliations in Africana Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Department of Sociology.
She has more than 20 years of administrative, academic, and legal experience in higher education, with a focus on executing and coordinating large-scale strategic initiatives that promote institutional transformation. Prior to joining Virginia Tech, she had senior administrative positions and faculty positions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Vanderbilt University. As a scholar-administrator, she believes in the importance of praxis and using scholarship to inform and lead change in higher education.
She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa with a major in English and minors in Philosophy and African-American Studies. She received her master’s degree in Literary Studies from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in Sociology from Vanderbilt University. In addition, she earned her PhD in Sociology and her law degree from Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt, she taught African-American Studies and English at Fisk University, and taught English and Public Speaking through American Baptist College’s program in the men’s and women’s maximum and minimum security prisons. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Tennessee.
Her research interests include critical race studies, Black feminism, and critical race feminism, with a particular focus on issues of transdisciplinary analysis of diversity issues in higher education. In addition to her first book, Critical Race Feminism and Education: A Social Justice Model (2012), two other books, Journeys of Social Justice: Women of Color Presidents in the Academy (Peter Lang, 2017) and Reflections on Race, Gender, and Culture in Cuba (Peter Lang, 2017) were released last year. New for 2018, A Black Woman’s Journey from Cotton Picking to College Professor: Lessons about race, gender, and class in America (Peter Lang, 2018). A Black Woman’s Journey was selected as a 2018 American Education Studies Association 2018 Critics’ Choice Award for recent scholarship deemed to be outstanding in its field. http://www.educationalstudies.org/awards.html#2
She is frequently invited to speak on issues of diversity and inclusion, race and social justice, equity, leadership, education, women and gender, and promoting a more just and inclusive society and empowering the powerless.