JANS – Rico Devara Chapman, Ph.D., is the new dean of Jackson State University’s College of Liberal Arts. His tenure officially begins on August 1, 2023.
“Dr. Chapman’s track record shows that he is a student-focused transformative leader versed in cultivating opportunities for others. His insight and talent will only enhance our College of Liberal Arts and aid in strengthening our academic programming,” said Elayne H. Anthony, Ph.D., acting president of JSU. “We enthusiastically welcome him back to his alma mater and look forward to collaboratively advancing the mission of the College of Liberal Arts.”
Chapman is a recognized higher education professional with experience serving as assistant dean for the School of Arts and Sciences, as well as director of the Humanities Ph.D. Program, professor of history in the Department of African American Studies, Africana Women’s Studies and History, and interim associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Clark Atlanta University (CAU).
“I am honored to return to JSU to serve as the dean of the College of Liberal Arts. I will do my best to make my community proud as I pick up where past deans have laid an impressive foundation. I will encourage faculty, staff, and students to think of the college as an interdisciplinary space that critically engages technology and social justice, welcomes international initiatives, and operates with an ethic of care,” said Chapman.
He has secured funding and directed multiple grant projects totaling over three million dollars from various agencies, such as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the National Park Service, the Microsoft Corporation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In addition to his book “Student Resistance to Apartheid at the University of Fort Hare: Freedom Now, A Degree Tomorrow,” he has a number of published articles and book chapters. Chapman is also the founding director of the Center for Africana Digital Humanities and a recent recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Scholar award to South Africa.
Chapman received his Bachelor of Science in history and Master of Arts in history from JSU, and a Ph.D. in African Studies from Howard University. In previous years, he taught courses in digital humanities and research methods at CAU; and in African and public history at JSU, to name a few. He also served as director of the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO: Human & Civil Rights Interdisciplinary Education Center. Chapman has presented at a number of conferences and holds board appointments and membership in various organizations.