State higher education officials have honored ConSandra McNeil, Ph.D., assistant provost and professor of sociology, at Jackson State University for her efforts in advancing diversity and encouraging understanding and respect.
The Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning recognized her Thursday, Feb. 17.
“I am grateful to President (Thomas) Hudson and Provost (Alisa) Mosley for recommending me for this prestigious award. I have spent my entire career promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion,” McNeil said. “From teaching, research, and service, this has been my passion, and it has shaped my approaches to teaching, research, and service. Finally, I can say my work was not in vain.”
McNeil has participated in several projects promoting diversity efforts at JSU, receiving over $9 million in funding. McNeil is described as a natural collaborator and adept at leveraging her past research, diverse network of scholars and passion for promoting diversity. These efforts have resulted in improvements to the JSU campus and positioned the university for future projects in mentoring early-career faculty to obtain funding in the academy, increasing the likelihood they will achieve tenure and promotion.
“Dr. McNeil embodies a scholar utilizing theory and best practices, molding them in meaningful campus initiatives and programming. Her dedicated work in diversity and inclusion resulted in funding for women and students, promoting the university mission, and enhancing the experiences of STEM women faculty and students from underrepresented groups,” praised JSU Provost Mosley, Ph.D.
As an assistant provost, Mosley added, McNeil continues her commitment to diversity and inclusion and implements initiatives to expand access and equity in her work.
McNeil was selected to serve as an American Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology Policy fellow. Her efforts at the National Science Foundation allowed her to work with a team to ensure the agency complies with the laws and regulations that govern federal-sector equal employment opportunity and civil rights in the grantee community and to foster a diverse and inclusive work environment that ensures equal opportunity through policy development, workforce analysis, outreach, and education to serve NSF employees best. Her work there has assisted JSU in promoting several initiatives on campus, including the facilitation of the Inauguration Research Symposium in 2021 as a part of JSU President Thomas K. Hudson’s inaugural activities.
More recently, McNeil agreed to serve as the activity director in the regeneration of the Institute for Social Justice and Race Relations. She coalesced a team of scholars across disciplines to engage in discourse and programming through public health, humanities and economic trends. Again, McNeil has collaborated with community partners, faculty and students to launch diversity initiatives successfully. Her credentials and achievements as a scholar-practitioner support the university’s mission in sharing an enhanced climate and engaged community.
McNeil earned her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. An alumna of JSU, McNeil earned her master’s degree in sociology from the HBCU. She completed her undergraduate studies at Lane College, where she played women’s basketball.