Wood Uses Scholarship to Promote Advocacy

By Levitan, Monica | Diverse Issues in Higher Education, September 20, 2018 | Go to article overview

Wood Uses Scholarship to Promote Advocacy


Levitan, Monica, Diverse Issues in Higher Education


Growing up in the small town of McCloud, California, Dr. J. Luke Wood became interested in higher education after noticing the lack of diversity in the faculty and administration during his undergraduate years at the California State University, Sacramento.

"There were too few people, Black faculty of color, staff of color, administrators of color, who were there advocating and representing our communities and providing a different type of perspective on what directions the institutions needed to go," says Wood, who is the Distinguished Professor of Education at San Diego State University. "My involvement and entry into the academy was really a response to that and wanting to be the person to set the different paradigm."

Formerly the director of the joint Ph.D. program in Education between San Diego State University and Claremont Graduate University and director of the Ed.D. program in Community College Leadership, Wood was recently appointed associate vice president for faculty diversity and inclusion at San Diego State University (SDSU), a move he made in support of the university's new president and provost's vision "around diversification."

In this new position, Wood will work with SDSU faculty and administrators to create a diverse and inclusive culture that supports professional success. As the university's chief diversity officer, he will work closely with the administration to ensure that diversity and inclusion goals are met.

"I'm excited to be working for a great president and provost who are committed to ensuring that San Diego State honors its identity as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and advances equity for students, faculty, staff and administration," he says.

Outside of SDSU, Wood is the co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL), a national research center that partners with about 150 colleges across the country to collect data about their students.

Wood's counterpart is Dr. Frank Harris III, professor of postsecondary education at SDSU.

Wood, according to Harris, is "one of the hardest working people" he's ever met and says that collaborating with the educator is "truly like working with a creative genius. It's like going to work with George Lucas or Steve Jobs, somebody who just kind of has out-of-the-box ideas," adds Harris.

After graduating with a degree in Black history and politics and a master's degree in student affairs and early childhood education, Wood earned a Ph.D. in higher education from Arizona State University. …

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