Dr. N. J. Akbar, Associate Vice President for DEI, serves as the second to the VP/CDO for university-wide diversity efforts. As AVP, Akbar is primarily responsible for assisting the VP with strategic planning, research, assessment and student success initiatives for the division; overseeing divisional regional campus engagement for equity institutionalization, University Diversity Action Council, diversity graduate student research programming, equity scorecard, grant writing and the anti-racism website and resources; serving as the divisional representative to student retention, persistence and graduation; consulting with all university divisions on equity strategy, assessment and planning; and evaluating programs and services. Dr. Akbar also serves on the university’s DEEDS Leadership Team, DEEDS Workgroup, Retention Taskforce, Male Empowerment Network 10 Year Anniversary Planning Committee and LGBTQ Student Center Advisory Board.
Previously, Dr. Akbar served as Assistant Dean for Academic Diversity Success in University College. In that role, he oversaw TRIO Student Support Services, TRIO McNair Scholars Program and University Academic Diversity Outreach and provided strategic support for the academic diversity outreach network in all colleges at Kent State University. Additionally, he has served on Removing Barriers Committee, Student Life Committee, Academic Diversity Outreach Action Team, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee and as campus advisor to the Epsilon Delta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Black United Students, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, Pride! Kent and Focus on the Future.
Under Dr. Akbar's leadership, he has written awards and received many grants (TRIO McNair Scholars Program, Student Support Services and many others) focused on completion and diverse student success. During his time at KSU, he has helped establish the academic diversity outreach network, Provost's Leadership Academy, EHHS' Office of Diversity Outreach and Development, LGBTQ Student Center as the Interim Director, Male Empowerment Network as a founding member and former lead mentor, Linked Courses and Early Alert.