Amoaba Gooden, Ph.D., Selected as Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Dear Members of the Kent State University Community, 

I am pleased to announce that Amoaba Gooden, Ph.D., has accepted the position of vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, effective May 1, 2021.

Amoaba Gooden, Ph.D.

For nearly a year, Dr. Gooden has been serving in this position on an interim basis while remaining as chair and associate professor in the university’s Department of Pan-African Studies. She is the right person at the right time to lead the division as our invaluable partner, advisor, advocate, convener and resource in achieving our vision of institutional equity, diversity and inclusion in the fullest sense.

Dr. Gooden already is one of the leaders of our Anti-Racism Task Force, which is charged with examining all areas of university life to document ways in which racism has or could impede the success of our students, faculty or staff. The task force’s recommendations will form the basis for change. This important work will thrive under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Gooden and will enable us to eliminate the racial challenges and barriers that exist at Kent State to transform our university into a more diverse, equitable and inclusive institution. 

Dr. Gooden also is playing a key role in the development of our diversity strategic plan, which will guide the university into the future. Her leadership will touch all aspects of university life as Kent State strives to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in every aspect of our operations. Our vision is that every unit, campus, division and person at Kent State will be involved in this critical work.

The Kent State community already has experienced Dr. Gooden’s strong devotion to students, and I am confident her leadership and insight will enable her to achieve great success in her new role.

Dr. Gooden has served Kent State exceptionally well in positions of increasing responsibility since 2006. She began her Kent State career as an assistant professor in the Department of Pan-African Studies. She became a graduate faculty member in the Department of Geography in 2009. In 2012, she became an associate professor in the Department of Pan-African Studies and served as interim chair of the department. She was named chair of the Department of Pan-African Studies in 2013. In August 2021, Dr. Gooden will become a full professor. Before joining Kent State, Dr. Gooden was an associate member of the Faculty of Nursing’s Diversities and Politics of Health research cluster at the University of Toronto. She also served as an instructor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and at Temple University and Pierce College, both in Philadelphia.

A resident of Kent, Dr. Gooden received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees, both in history, from the University of Guelph. She also received a Master of Arts and a doctorate degree in African-American Studies, both from Temple University.

Our thanks and appreciation go to Mark Polatajko, Ph.D., senior vice president for finance and administration, for serving as chair of the search committee for this key leadership post, and to the 12 faculty and staff who served on the search committee. We are grateful for their dedication and efforts in assessing candidates in a national search that launched in mid-February.

Thanks to all who participated in the search process, including those who took part in campus interviews and shared their feedback. Throughout all phases of this search, your pride, energy and enthusiasm for Kent State’s future were evident and gratifying.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Gooden on her selection to this critical role and thanking her for her continued commitment to our university.


Todd Diacon

POSTED: Wednesday, April 28, 2021 04:00 PM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 02:50 PM
Todd Diacon, President