CAO Profiles

Darrell Ezell Ph.D.

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Darrell Ezell is the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Claremont Lincoln University in Claremont, California. He has served in that position since 2016. Ezell has excelled as a senior administrator and is credited with building high performing graduate degree programs, establishing strategic academic and corporate partnerships, and leading Claremont Lincoln, a non-profit graduate university, to initial regional accreditation. He is viewed as a highly motivated leader with targeted experience in faculty affairs, managing change, curriculum development, budgetary management, digital education, higher education policy, strategic planning, leading highly impactful diverse teams, and fundraising. As a cabinet member, Ezell has participated in university fundraising initiatives that include Claremont Lincoln’s $30 million comprehensive campaign and $16 million capital campaign.

As the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Claremont Lincoln University, Ezell's service has been marked by expanding and restructuring the Office of Academic Affairs to ensure program demand and curriculum enhancement, implementing a new faculty staffing structure, building strategic academic and corporate partnerships, and increasing faculty and staff development.  Earlier positions at the university include Dean of the M.A. in Interfaith Action Program, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Foreign Affairs, and Founding Program Director of the M.A. in Interfaith Action program.

Ezell’s leadership also introduced the launch of the institution’s first need-based scholarship by securing $30,000 for graduate students (The Global Peacemaker’s Fellowship), four academic research centers, faculty development clinics, academic podcasts, and its most recent academic program expansion plan which includes five new concentrations and seven new M.A. degree programs. On the accreditation front, he has led the substantive change review process and self-study, implemented a university-wide accreditation model to ensure academic quality, and in 2018 led the university’s two-year WSCUC program review.

Under his leadership, Claremont Lincoln University witnessed the expansion of key innovative online and digital projects. Among several initiatives guided by Ezell have been curriculum enhancements to integrate technology; a digital conference led by the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture and Foreign Affairs that yielded 500 participants and five academic partnerships; digital roundtables highlighting dignitaries in the area of social justice; the launch of academic certificates and podcasts; and an online faculty orientation community to enhance faculty development.

Ezell’s academic career is deeply rooted in interdisciplinary teaching and research in the fields of Religion and International Affairs. Beginning at Louisiana State University as a Visiting Assistant Professor, he taught in both the Department of Political Science and International Studies Program and served on the faculty at Tulane University. At Claremont Lincoln, he has designed and taught graduate courses in the Interfaith Action, Ethical Leadership, and Social Impact Programs, and graduate-level capstone courses. He has been recognized with the awarding of several prestigious fellowships and delivered over 40 presentations and lectures at conferences and professional meetings nationwide.

Ezell is the author of Beyond Cairo: U.S. Engagement with the Muslim World (Palgrave Macmillan) and numerous essays, articles, and reviews. Outlets that have carried his work include The Huffington Post, Fair Observer, and EA Worldview. In 2012, his expertise in international affairs led to his serving as a Global Expert with the United Nations Global Experts Program/Alliance of Civilizations.

Additionally, Ezell has held posts in both the government and non-profit sectors. At the U.S. Department of State, he served in the Office of Peacekeeping, Sanctions and Counterterrorism focusing on post-9/11 U.S.-U.N. relations and with the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service (Clinton Foundation) as a doctoral researcher. His non-profit work is marked by leading social justice campaigns and building grassroots programs with the Interfaith Center of New York in 2004 and later with Interfaith Worker Justice that demonstrated his commitment to social justice and advocacy for immigrant and labor rights. Ezell's social justice work in the rural south is highlighted in the award winning John Fiege documentary, Mississippi Chicken (2007).

A native of North Alabama, Ezell was graduated from Alabama A&M University with Honors earning a B.A. in Psychology. He was an Exxon/Mobil-Tom Joyner Fellow and Presidential Scholar. His graduate training includes an M.A. in Systematic Theology from Union Theological Seminary (NY) and the Ph.D. in Religion and Politics from The University of Birmingham (England) where he was awarded the Nali Dinshaw Dissertation Prize. His post-doctoral training saw completion of a graduate certificate in Higher Education Administration at Northeastern University (MA) and certification in The Principles of Fundraising from Indiana University [Fundraising School (IN)].

Ezell's commitment to higher education also is reflected in his service on the Board of Trustees at Rust College (MS). Ezell is a member of numerous professional, civic, and social organizations and associations, among them membership in Sigma Pi Phi (Epsilon Tau Boule), Kappa Alpha Psi, the National Eagle Scout Association, the International Studies Association, the American Association of University Administrators, the American Conference of Academic Deans, the International Leadership Association, and Psi Chi Honor Society. He also is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, one of which includes being inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College in 2017.

Ezell resides in Claremont, California and enjoys golf and hiking.

Joyce T. Shirazi Ph.D.

Joyce T. Shirazi Ph.D.









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Joyce T. Shirazi has had a long and distinguished career in higher education and in industry. Currently, as the Dean of the School of Engineering and Technology at Hampton University, she leads a skilled team of faculty and staff in the Architecture, Aviation Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering departments, helping to ensure that Hampton University is a leader in STEM-related fields.  She led her team in acquiring accreditation for the Computer Engineering program through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and is establishing it as a world-class degree program.

Shirazi has a diverse mix of business and academic experience at every level and has managed projects and programs in each sector.  She has a span of career experience that comprises senior vice president, chief of staff, chair, program director, professor, associate professor, assistant professor, specialist and engineer.  This experience includes over two decades in higher education leadership, helping to provide a high-quality educational experience for students by utilizing cutting-edge technology and innovative methods of instruction, plus 20 years with Fortune 500 corporations.

Shirazi identifies funding sources for support of educational programs and research in line with the academic mission, and helps to secure grants and scholarships for student support (e.g., recently acquiring a science grant award with $468,000 for student stipend payments and $136,000 for student aid, increasing student support by over 100%).  In addition, she organized a recruiting initiative by faculty on high school and community college campuses, and increased communication with accepted student applicants, which has resulted in a 23.8% increase in engineering enrollments.

Shirazi served in both faculty and staff positions in the University System of Maryland (USM), including Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff in the Office of the President; Chair of the Information and Technology Systems Department; and Program Director and Collegiate Professor for Engineering Management, MBA, Management of Information Systems, and Technology Management programs in the Graduate School at University of Maryland University College.  She served as the Chair of the Council of University System Faculty for USM and as the chief liaison between the Chancellor, the Board of Regents and the Council.  She advised the Chancellor, Presidents and Provosts on matters of system-wide professional and educational concern to the faculty and matters to which faculty bring special expertise.  In addition she served on the Maryland Higher Education Commission Faculty Advisory Council.

Shirazi guided the university through a global process of creating a strategic plan, which was a university and community-wide endeavor for faculty, staff, alumni, boards, and students.  She managed a budget of approximately $15 million, which included Communications, Special Events, Commencement, Institutional Advancement, Alumni Relations, Career Services, Administration and Priorities, Diversity and Equity, Executive Cybersecurity, Fair Practices and Compliance, Government Relations, and the Arts Program.

In ensuring compliance with accrediting organizations and promoting the delivery of a curriculum and learning environment designed to produce graduates of the highest caliber, Dr. Shirazi led the overall academic and administrative management of the technology department in the graduate school with at least 300 adjunct faculty members and over 20 full-time faculty and staff members.  She supervised the creation of an employer-based Cybersecurity Curriculum Advisory Council to enhance cybersecurity programs, with key employers and representatives serving on the council.

In enhancing the graduate programs and making necessary changes to ensure the excellence of graduate as well as doctoral training, she led the completion of the biotechnology management and technology management academic program reviews as mandated by USM.  She oversaw major course revamps in all technology programs, which included emergency management, homeland security management, database systems management, biotechnology management, information management, information technology, technology management, information systems, software engineering, environmental management, and project management.  Shirazi was a founding director of the successful and innovative online MBA Program, which was one of the first in the nation.

She has experience in multinational corporations, including project management and design of engineering systems such as offshore oil platform structures, wide-body jet airplanes and hazardous waste and air quality environmental systems in countries around the world.  This includes working with local, state and federal regulatory agencies and other firms. As an engineer in the oil industry, she travelled internationally, performing hands-on design and analysis work.  In London, England, she analyzed North Sea offshore platforms with finite element analysis, and in Göteborg, Sweden, she managed the study of a prototype offshore oil platform.  In Kinshasa, Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo), she performed environmental water analyses at the height of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) crisis.

Shirazi is a past president of the Northern California Council of Black Professional Engineers, and has served her community through a variety of local and national organizations, including the US Citizens Network on UN Environment & Development Conference, the Maryland State Board of Elections, and the Society of Women Engineers, to name just a few.

Shirazi is a licensed, professional civil engineer (PE) and has academic credentials that include a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Howard University, Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Doctorate of Science in Environmental and Engineering Management from The George Washington University, and executive leadership training from the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University.

Lawrence T. Potter Jr. Ph.D.

Lawrence T. Potter Jr. Ph.D.









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Dr. Lawrence T. Potter, Jr. has served as an Academic Dean at two minority-serving institutions—three years as Dean of the Dollye M. E. Robinson College of Liberal Arts at Jackson State University, an Historically Black University, in Mississippi, and currently in his fourth year as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of La Verne, an Hispanic-Serving University in California. He brings more than twenty years of higher education leadership experience as a tenured professor, department chair, associate dean, two-time chief diversity officer, and Principal Investigator/Director of McNair Scholars Program.

Potter’s professional experiences at diverse types of U.S. higher education institutions (public/private, liberal arts/comprehensive/research-intensive, urban/rural/regional, HBCU/HSI/PWI) has made him a highly sought speaker, consultant, and commentator on matters related to college access, student success and retention initiatives, faculty development and advancement, academic budgeting and strategic planning, institutional climate and culture (diversity and inclusion), international education, curricular innovation and program  development/growth, as well as  fundraising, governance, and external relations.

In 2009-10, Potter was selected as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow and spent a year at DePaul University. In 2008, the St. Paul Foundation awarded him the Facing Race Ambassador Award for his anti-racism work in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota in 2008. A champion of diversity and inclusivity initiatives, Potter developed the Center for Intercultural Advancement and Student Success, the Diversity Scholar-in-Residence, and the Council on Diversity and Equity at Allegheny. Diverse Issues in Higher Education did a three-part series recognizing his transformative leadership on diversity, inclusion, and the impact of race in higher education. His work and diversity models have been used by many colleges and universities nationally and internationally. Potter has been selected as the Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa for January 2019.

A respected teacher-scholar, Potter has served on faculties at Western Michigan University, University of St. Thomas (MN), Allegheny College (PA), Jackson State University (MS), and at the University of La Verne. He was awarded the Lewis Walker Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award at Western Michigan and the William B. Malevich Faculty Leadership Award at the University of St. Thomas for his outstanding teaching and mentoring of students and faculty.

Potter has published a number of articles in the Encyclopedia of African-American Literature and other publications, including “Brother to Brother: Collected Writings by Black Gay Men,” “Invisible Life” and “Literary Authenticity: Life, Reality and Experience as Reflected in Black Literature.” His essay, “Still Invisible, Still Voiceless: Or, Still Too Taboo?” in Ain’t Nobody Worryin’: Maleness and Masculinity in Black America (2011) was recognized by the American Men’s Studies Association as best scholarly contribution on black masculinity. He recently completed a monograph on famed Harlem Renaissance author and critic Wallace Henry Thurman entitled Harlem’s Forgotten Genius: The Life and Literary World of Wallace Henry Thurman and is editing a collection of essays on race and ethnicity in 21st-century higher education. Potter has presented more than 100 academic papers at national and international conferences.

Over the course of his academic career, Dr. Potter has acquired both federal agency and private foundation grants totaling more than $10 million. He currently serves on the American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD) Board of Directors and the San Bernardino Catholic Elementary Schools (SBCES) Board of Directors.

Dr. Potter graduated magna cum laude with a triple major in English, philosophy, and religion from Stillman College and earned his Master’s and Ph.D. in English, with distinction, from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has traveled and lectured extensively to Africa, Asia, and Europe.