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Dr. LaDonna Young is a champion for educational equity and racial justice. With over twenty-five years of urban K-12 and higher education practitioner and administrative experience, LaDonna served as the founding Dean of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Mathematics at Southwest Tennessee Community College (Memphis, TN), which led to the creation of The Office of High Impact Practices and Innovation (HIPI) and the Gatekeeper Faculty Fellowship, which is a multi-year, faculty-driven initiative targeted at closing the equity gaps in the College’s Top 12 Gatekeeper (Gateway) courses. LaDonna was an active member of the Student Success Council, the Equity & Inclusion Council, and the Achieving the Dream Data Team while also chairing the Courageous Conversations about Race and Social Justice Issues and Equity Audit Working Group. This work helped to lead the college to ATD Leader College Status and the Bellwether Award. As an Achieving the Dream Equity Coach, Dr. Young finds joy in institutional transformation and designing teaching and learning contexts that affirm students of color’s genius, culture, identities, and humanity. LaDonna believes education is at its best when all of humanity is centered on educational practice. We all do better when we all do better.  

LaDonna is an Alabama (Roll Tide!) native, a thrifting enthusiast, and enjoys all things hip-hop and cookies-n-crème. 


  • Diversity and Inclusion Certification | Cornell University 
  • Certificate in Equity-Minded Practices | Vanderbilt University, Peabody College 
  • Certified Anti-Racist Leader | National Conference for Racial and Social Justice  
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate l University of South Florida Muma College of Business  
  • Ed.D. (Higher and Adult Education) | University of Memphis 
  • M.A. (Teaching, Secondary Education) | University of Memphis 
  • B.A. (History / Pre-Law) | Christian Brothers University  

Past Experience:  

Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships & Equity Initiatives | University of Virginia – Motivate Lab 

Dean, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Mathematics | Southwest Tennessee Community College 

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