Photo courtesy of Emily Paine
On Aug. 1, Associate Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies and Religion Nikki Young was officially appointed as the newest Associate Provost for Equity and Inclusive Excellence. In this position, she will work to create and implement a culture of inclusion for vulnerable communities within the University. Young will partner with faculty and administrators to extend programming, projects and structures to amplify marginalized voices.
After receiving her Ph.D. in Christian Social Ethics from Emory University in 2011, Young joined the University as a visiting assistant professor for the Women’s & Gender Studies department. Her research focuses on the intersectionality of gender, sexuality and race, and the ways in which various identities are connected to larger systems of power and privilege. She is currently working on two manuscripts: “Home Free: A Transnational Ethics of Black Queer Liberation” and “In Tongues of Mortals and Angels: A De-Constructive Theology of God-Talk in Acts and Paul” in collaboration with Jake Myers and Eric Barreto.
Young’s focus on narratives of injustice and inequality has equipped her with the knowledge to launch an anti-racism task force that will identify opportunities for systemic change. Moving forward in her new position, Young says she hopes to continue this work by “not only [creating] an inclusive community but also intentionally deconstruct[ing] race and racism, which is distinctive from DEI [diversity, equity and inclusion] efforts.”
In the wake of George Floyd’s death, Young encouraged the student body to recognize the persistent forms of anti-Black racism and racialized violence in our own communities, and actively use the University liberal arts education to combat these oppressive forces.
Young’s former students are excited to see what changes she enacts in her new role. “I was so happy to hear that Dr. Nikki Young has been promoted to Associate Provost for Equity and Inclusive Excellence. As a professor, she challenges her students to think outside the box and pushes them to be their best selves and re-imagine the world they have been taught,” Meredith Sullivan ’21 said. “When she stepped into the position last year as Interim Associate Provost, I knew she would accomplish great things in this position and push the University further.”