Vincent T. Harris, PhD, Joins Campus Life as Associate Dean and Director of the Brown Center for Students of Color

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that after a national search, we have appointed Vincent T. Harris, PhD, as associate dean and director of the Brown Center for Students of Color (BCSC).  With a decade of experience in higher education, Dr. Harris has been an unwavering advocate and effective champion for all students of color at predominately and historically White public and private institutions. 

Dr. Harris comes to Brown from California State University-Fullerton (CSUF), where he serves as the inaugural Director of the Male Success Initiative-Fullerton (MSI-Fullerton). In this role, Dr. Harris has been responsible for establishing and developing the mission and vision of a new department, creating a physical center, and hiring and leading a new team of staff. Dr. Harris manages the comprehensive retention strategy and services focused on increasing access and academic success of men of color, through academic advising and mentoring, leadership development, social engagement and community building, and intellectual and personal support for men of color. Dr. Harris established the office in 2016 and has grown it from one professional staff member to a current staff of four.

Prior to CSUF, Dr. Harris was the Administrative Fellow at Harvard College Women’s Center, supported by a post-doc fellowship co-sponsored by the Office of the President and the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity. At the Women’s Center, Dr. Harris led campus-wide efforts that centered the voices of historically underrepresented student identities with a particular focus on gender. Dr. Harris led successful efforts to reestablish the Harvard College Women’s Cabinet that focuses on women in leadership. Earlier in his career, Dr. Harris was a Teach for America Corps member for the class of 2007. He taught 5th and 6th grade reading, language arts, and social studies in Houston, Texas. In addition, he has taught college courses as a faculty member in CSUF’s Ethnic Studies Department that explored gender related topics within African American studies. Dr. Harris is a member of the National Conference for Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education, American College Personnel Association, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, and other professional organizations.

Dr. Harris will oversee the BCSC by providing leadership, strategic planning, and establishing and pursuing priorities that are mission driven. He will supervise and mentor the BCSC’s professional and student staff and direct resource allocation to accomplish strategic objectives.  This important work includes budget management, fundraising, program development and implementation, assessment, and staff growth and development. He will develop and lead strategic partnerships and relationships with key stakeholders on and off campus to bolster the work and mission of the center. Key to this work will be his ability to develop programs and initiatives that building meaningful connections between all students (undergraduate, graduate and medical school students) and faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. In this role, he will work closely with the assistant vice president for Campus Life engagement to develop short and long terms goals, and develop the mission, vision, and goals for the BCSC. As a leader in the broader Brown and local community, he will help lead the division’s and institution’s efforts related to advancing the success of students of color specifically and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts generally. In accepting this position, Dr. Harris offered the following, “I am grateful, humbled, and ready to serve as leadership for the Brown Center for Students of Color (originally known as the Third World Center) as we continue to honor the nearly 50-year legacy of Brown boldly supporting undergraduate, graduate and medical school students of color.  It has been a professional goal of mine to amplify my passion of community inclusivity among race and ethnicity for all students of color, and I am very excited to join Brown in cultivating a sense of belonging not only for our students of color but also for Black men in America like myself."  

Eric Estes, Vice President for Campus Life and Co-chair of the search committee offered the following thoughts, “I am excited about Dr. Harris and the wisdom and experience he brings to Brown.  I look forward to working closely with him.  I also want to thank the committee for its hard work as well as Loc Truong for his skilled and steady interim leadership of the BCSC during the past year.”

Dr. Harris holds a B.A. from Auburn University in Mass Communications with a minor in Marketing, an M.Ed. from Ohio University, and a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in Educational Leadership in Higher Education with a minor in Women’s & Gender Studies. His dissertation is titled, “From With-In The Black Diamond: The intersections of Masculinity, Ethnicity, and Identity - An Epistolary Autoethnographic Exploration into the Lived Experiences of a Black Male Graduate Student.”

This search would have not been possible without the input, feedback and general support of so many students, faculty and staff. Thank you to the BCSC professional and student staff for their support. The wisdom, hard work, and collegiality of the search committee was invaluable.  I want to thank the members of the search committee:

  • Sara Alavi '21, Undergraduate Student
  • Wassa Bagayoko '21, Undergraduate Student
  • Vernicia Elie, Associate Dean for Financial Advising
  • Eric Estes, Vice President for Campus Life & Student Services (Co-Chair)
  • Nancy Khalek, Associate Professor of Religious Studies (Co-Chair)
  • Bahati Nkera, Ph.D., Graduate Student
  • Uchechukwu Onwunaka '19, MPA/MD, Graduate Student
  • Julio Reyes '12, Program Director for Undocumented, First-Generation College, and Low-Income Student Center (U-FLi Center), Alumnae
  • Felicia Salinas-Moniz, Ph.D. '13, Senior Assistant Director, Sarah Doyle Center for Women & Gender
  • Ciara Sing '22, Undergraduate Student

Akash Altman ’20 deserves our gratitude for being a student member of the committee before his graduation and then staff support for the committee as the Campus Life fellow this past year. 

Dr. Harris will join the division on June 14.  Please join me in welcoming him to the Division of Campus Life and to Brown.

Best regards,

Loc Truong, AVP for Campus Life Engagement