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Dr. Sheila Smith McKoy


 With over thirty years of experience in Higher Education and twenty years of excellence in leadership, Dr. Sheila Smith McKoy (BA- North Carolina State University, MA-University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, PhD- Duke University) brings a wealth of experience in leading change and transformation in higher education. She has served as Provost at Holy Names University, as department chair at Kennesaw State University, and Director of the African American Cultural Center, Director of the Africana Studies Program, and Diversity of Diversity for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at North Carolina State University. Her academic leadership experience dates back to 1995 when she served as an academic lead at Vanderbilt University where she earned tenure as only the second Black woman to be tenured in her college in 2001.  In 1994, Smith McKoy was the first Africa American to earn a PhD in English from Duke University.


Smith McKoy is published widely in the areas of race and difference, mentorship, literature and culture, and mentorship. Her books include the seminal text in understanding white race riots, When Whites Riot: Writing Race and Violence in American and South African Cultures, which has been continuously in publication since 2001. She is co-editor Teaching Literature and Writing in Prisons, forthcoming from the Modern Language Association. She is co-editor of Recovering the African Feminine Divine in Literature, the Arts, and Performing Arts: Yemonja Awakening (2020). She is the editor of The Elizabeth Keckley Reader: Writing Self, Writing Nation (2016) and The Elizabeth Keckley Reader: Artistry, Culture and Commerce (2017). In addition to her scholarly work, Smith McKoy is an award-winning poet, fiction writer, and filmmaker. She values the art of storytelling in the process of institutional and social change. She has written, produced, and directed three films including Maama Watali and Luwero: A Conversation about War, Peace and Gender (2017).

As a trained mediator, Smith McKoy specializes in restorative justice practices. She brings this lens to her ombuds work with colleges and universities. The insights she has gained from serving as a faculty member and higher education leader have enabled her to build consensus while addressing grievances. She also regularly contributes to peace-making efforts in her community by serving as a voluntary mediator in the Bay Area.


Her leadership skillset  has been honed by her work in higher education and with non-profits in the U.S, and abroad, and in consultation with clients in healthcare, law, social justice, and equity management. Smith McKoy’s international engagement work includes creating and sustaining partnerships between higher education institutions in the United States and international universities and non-governmental organizations.

Dr. Smith-McKoy holds a Ph.D in English from Duke University, an MA in  English from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a BA English from North Carolina State University, Magna Cum Laude.

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