Jessica C. Harris, PhD, is an advocate for equity and inclusion. She believes in the transformative power of higher education and the impact that access and real opportunity can have for individuals, their families, communities, and our society.
In March 2021, she was named Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s (SIUE) inaugural Vice Chancellor for Anti-racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Her strategic vision includes operationalizing inclusive excellence at all levels of the institution to ensure an equity-minded and student-centered campus culture.
Prior to this appointment, Harris served as Assistant Provost for Academic Equity and Inclusive Excellence in the Office of the Provost. An accomplished teacher and scholar of 20th century African American History, she is also a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of History and formerly served as Director of the Black Studies Program. Harris has earned awards including the St. Louis Business Journal’s Champion for Diversity and Inclusion award, the Change, Create Transform Foundation’s Humanitarian Award, the Metro Area Professional Organization’s Distinguished Professional Achiever in Education Award, the Dillard University 40 under 40, the SIUE Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award, and the SIUE Phenomenal Woman Award. Harris earned both her PhD and Master of Arts in history from Cornell University and her Bachelor of Arts from Dillard University.