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Menah Pratt

Nationally recognized as a leader, scholar, and author of four books on issues of race, class, gender, diversity, education, women’s leadership, and critical race feminism, Dr. Menah Pratt is the Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity and Professor of Education at Virginia Tech. She has received several national awards, including Women We Admire in Virginia, 2023; the 2023 Individual Winds of Change award by the Forum on Workplace Inclusion; the 2021 Inclusive Excellence Individual Leadership Award by the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education; and the 2018 American Education Studies Association Critics’ Choice Award for outstanding scholarship. She joined Virginia Tech in 2016 and she has almost 25 years of leadership experience in higher education, including serving as chief strategy officer, chief diversity officer, university compliance officer, assistant secretary of the university, university board member, and attorney. She is the founder of the Faculty Women of Color in the Academy National Conference (11th year) and the Black College Institute (6th year) at Virginia Tech. She has previously worked at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), Vanderbilt University, and Fisk University.

She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa with a major in English and minors in Philosophy and African-American Studies. She received her master’s degree in Literary Studies from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in Sociology from Vanderbilt University. In addition, she earned her PhD and JD from Vanderbilt University. Her forthcoming book in 2024, Blackwildgirl: A Writer’s Journey to Take Back her Superpower, is a unique and non-traditional autobiography of her life journey from Black girlhood to Black womanhood in America, based on 45 years of journals. It builds on her book about her mother’s life, From Cotton Picking to College Professor: Lessons about Race, Class, and Gender in America (2018), winner of the American Education Studies Association Critic’s Choice Award.