Black Diaspora

Black Diaspora

The Black Diaspora Knowledge Community (BDKC) increases members' awareness of, knowledge about, and appreciation for issues unique to Black professionals working in higher education and student affairs. The BDKC also seeks to educate the NASPA membership on trends and issues related to Black professionals and students through sharing information on research, campus issues, and mentoring.

Message from the Co-Chairs

Welcome to the Black Diaspora Knowledge Community! The BDKC brings together professionals of all degree and experience levels to increase awareness of, knowledge about, and appreciation of trends and issues impacting Black professionals and students. We welcome your participation with creating and sharing knowledge about the Black experience in higher education. It is our goal to connect the members of this constituency, mentor and raise the profile of Black students, staff, administrators and faculty on campuses across America and globally.

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Regional Opportunities

Serve as a regional representative for the Black Diaspora Knowledge Community. Regional representatives assist with moving the BDKC national agenda forward and lead KC activities within the region. Each region has a leadership team structure similar to the national leadership team. The regional teams work to increase the number of NASPA members who affiliate with BDKC, host BDKC activities at regional and national conferences, and connect Blacks and those interested in the Black experience across the region. Connect with your regional representative for more ways to get involved in your region. 

Interested in serving as a regional rep? View Volunteer Central for our vacant positions and other leadership team opportunities!

Region I Claude E.P. Mayo
Region II Yannick Brookes
Region III Jourdan Hilaire
Region IV-E Open
Region IV-W Dr. Janine M. Weaver-Douglas
Region V Portia Anderson
Region VI Open



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Leadership Team

Knowledge Community leaders are NASPA volunteers who have generously devoted their time to their Knowledge Community. Chairs are elected by the Knowledge Community members while Regional representatives are selected from within the Region. Additional roles are selected by the Knowledge Community.


Black Diaspora Knowledge Community 2021 Awards - Congratulations to our Recipients!!
  • Umoja Award for Graduate Students- Lordana Guillaume, Florida International University
  • Nia Award for Mid-Level Professionals- Adrain Smith, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville
  • Sankofa Award for Senior Student Affairs Officers- Shawna Cooper-Gibson, PhD, Seton Hall University

Below you will find information about each award.

Umoja Award for Graduate Students

This award is presented to an exemplary graduate student in student affairs and services. This individual is a rising young professional who continuously seeks to integrate their research and practice with the needs of the Black population. The graduate student nominated for this award should demonstrates the principals of the award, Umoja: the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, "I am We," or "I am because We are."

Kuumba Award for New Professionals

This award is presented to an exemplary new professional in student affairs and services. This NASPA member has worked 1-4 years in the student affairs field and has contributed in various ways to the student culture on campus and the Black Diaspora Knowledge Community. The new professional nominated for this award should demonstrates the principals of the Kuumba: Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.

Nia Award for Mid-Level Professionals

This award is presented to an exemplary mid-level professional in student affairs and services. Mid-level professionals have a minimum of 5 years full-time experience in the student affairs field. This NASPA member has been involved with the organization for a number of years, has been actively involved with the Black Diaspora Knowledge Community. The Mid- Level professional nominated for this award should demonstrates the principals of Nia: Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.

Sankofa Award for Senior Student Affairs Officer

This award is presented to a Senior Student Affairs Officer that has provided the support and commitment to the Black Diaspora Knowledge Community. This NASPA member has provided leadership and guidance to Blacks in higher education. The Senior Student Affairs Officer nominated for this award should demonstrates the meaning of Sankofa, “teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward.” 

Signature Events

BDKC Signature events 

1.      Black Diaspora Business Meeting (Open to everyone),  national conference

2.      Black Diaspora Men's and Women's Summit and BDKC Annual Networking Reception, national conference 

3.      Soul Soiree, national conference

4.      Candid Conversations, national conference

5.      First timers conference navigation, national conference

6.      Vice President’s Circle, national conference


More information to come!

Past Programs

Black Diaspora Knowledge Community Professional Mentoring Program

The BDKC has developed a Professional Mentoring Program to develop strong professional bonds in strengthening future student personnel administrators, while aligning them with their professional goals. The purpose of this program is to have continued developmental communication in the field of higher education, both for the mentor and mentee.

To request immediate information, send all inquiries to


Please find past spotlights below:

Black Diaspora Knowledge Community Public Policy Briefs

 The Black Diaspora Knowledge Community produces public policy briefs on issues impacting the Black Diaspora experience in Higher Education. Please contact the for more information and/or if you are interested in writing a public policy brief.

Black Diaspora Knowledge Community Webinars

The Black Diaspora Knowledge Community sponsors two webinars every year focused on issues impacting the Black Diaspora experience in higher education. On February 6, 2013, we co-sponsored "Looking Beyond Latinos: The True Face of Undocumented Students" webinar with the Latino Knowledge Community. In 2014, the BDKC sponsored  a "State of the African American Professional" webinar on February 12, 2014 and "State of the African American Student" webinar in May 2014. 


The Black Diaspora Knowledge Community compiled the following list of resources; however, inclusion on this list does not represent an endorsement of the information, site, or organization by NASPA and any of its entities. 

This portion of the site is under construction as we develop resources that you need. 

If you have any resources in mind, please share that information with us here

Recognitions and Transitions

This June we celebrated #BlackJoy across our social media pages. We want to provide one final recognition of some of our colleagues who graduated and progressed in their careers during this challenging year. This section will highlight folks that have accomplished something noteworthy or transition to new and exciting positions. 


Let us know what you think about this feature in our new feedback form!


July 2021 Recogntions and Transitions


Recognition of new Graduates: 



Degree program/Title of your Degree

Thesis/Dissertation Title

Dr. Brandon R. Brown

Trevecca Nazarene University 

Doctor of Education in Leadership & Professional Practice 

Dissertation - The African-American Male Resident Assistant: Exploring the Relationship Between Academic Self-Efficacy, Sense of Belonging, and Overall College Experience

Nicole Phillips, Ed.D.

University of Georgia

Student Affairs Leadership


Margaret L. Sebastian, Ph.D.

University of Northern Colorado

Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership & Applied Statistics and Research Methods

I don’t have to stay here! The experiences of Black women, higher education administrators who experienced a professional transition and/or promotion to a historically white institution during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Suraju Jolaoso, Ed.D.

Baylor University

Curriculum & Instruction / Learning & Organizational Change

When They See Us: A Multiple Case Study to Understand Recruitment and Retention of Black Faculty at Predominantly White Institutions


Transitions to New Positions: 




Suraju Jolaoso, Ed.D.

2U, Inc.

Academic Recruiter II

Prince Robertson

Illinois Wesleyan University

Dean of Students for Inclusion and Advocacy

Eboni Ford Turnbow, Ph.D. 

Humboldt State University

Dean of Students

Keyah Levy 

Simpson College

Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Dametraus Jaggers, Ph.D 

Tennessee State University

Director of the Quality Enhancement Plan 

Matthew Miles, M.A.

South Louisiana Community College

Program Manager

Aja C. Holmes, Ph.D. 

University of San Francisco 

Assistant Dean of Students, Director of Community Living 

Cynthia Polk-Johnson, Ph. D.

Tennessee Tech University 

Vice President of Student Affairs 

Joseph Ballard II

Iowa State University

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Campus Life 

Justin McMillan

Johnson County Community College

Coordinator of Student Rights & Responsibilities