Conference Keynote Speaker

Dr. Donna J. Nicol, California State University Dominguez Hills
Dr. Donna J. Nicol, California State University Dominguez Hills

Dr. Donna Nicol (“Nickel”) is an Associate Professor and the Chair of Africana Studies at California State University Dominguez Hills.
Before joining the professoriate, Dr. Nicol spent seven years in higher education administration as a Program Coordinator, Program Manager and Director along with three years as a secondary social studies and language arts teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District.
Dr. Nicol is a proud alumna of California State University Fullerton (BA, History and African American Studies, 1995), California State University Long Beach (MA, History, 1999) and The Ohio State University (MA, Higher Education Administration, 2002 and Ph.D., Social and Cultural Foundations of Education with specialization in the history of African American higher education, 2007). She was the recipient of the Gwen Kagey Outstanding Graduate Research Award in African American and African Studies from Ohio State. Her paper, “The Scientific Implications of Race: Philanthropy and American Social Darwinism, 1890-1915”, looked at the ways in which social Darwinist ideology influenced a form of philanthropy by white industrialists that not only funded several Black Colleges but also sought to destroy W.E.B. DuBois and the Niagara Movement.

Dr. Nicol’s research and teaching centers on history and politics of African American educational access with a focus on philanthropic foundations, university trustee boards and African American women’s leadership in faculty and university administrative roles. She has published numerous articles in Race, Ethnicity and Education, The Feminist Teacher Journal, and Palimpsest: A Journal of Women, Gender and the Black International. She is currently working on a book-length manuscript tentatively entitled Black Woman on Board: Race and Gender in the Exercise of University Trustee Power, which is the first historical analysis of Black women’s resistance to the white backlash against affirmative action policies from the 1970’s to passage of California Proposition 209 which ended the use of race in university admissions in 1996.
Dr. Nicol is a member of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, a life member of the Association of Black Women Historians, American Educational Research Association and member of the California Faculty Association. She is the current president of the Lambda Rho Sigma Alumnae chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and is President/CEO of the Faith, Hope and Trust Foundation, Inc, a non-profit organization which provides cultural and educational enrichment programs to youth throughout Los Angeles.