Dr. Leslie U. Ekpe has taught for Uplift Summit International Preparatory, Dallas College and Texas Christian University. Her dissertation study, “The Test Does Not Define My Ability: A Critical Narrative Study on the Experiences of First-Year Black College Students Who Took the SAT When Pursuing Selective Four-Year Institutions,” received first place in the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education 2023 Holmes Program Dissertation Funding Competition.
Through qualitative methodologies, Ekpe conducts research on anti-racism, DEI and racial equity by analyzing the challenges encountered by marginalized peoples, and investigates equitable practices and policies for institutions and societies to implement and sustain. Her research can be found in the Journal of Research on Technology in Education, Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, Equity in Education and Society, Innovative Higher Education and the Journal of School Leadership.
Ekpe serves on the editorial board for Literature Reviews in Education and Human Services and the Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership. Additionally, she is secretary for the Council on Ethnic Participation within the Association of the Study of Higher Education, a visiting scholar at Rutgers University’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, and Justice, and a community fellow for BRAVE/R Together 76104, a grassroots initiative located in Fort Worth, Texas, focused on eliminating racial disparities in housing, business/economic development, healthcare and education.
A Conversation with Dr. Ekpe
What draws you to your discipline?
As a Black woman, my lived experiences inform my research interests. It is important that I engage in Sankofa as an academician to ensure that those who look like me know that this opportunity is also for them. Service is sovereignty.
What has been your favorite course to teach?
I have enjoyed teaching Qualitative Research Methods. As in introductory class, it is always fun to witness students realize that they engage in qualitative methods in their everyday lives. The course offers meaningful practices to adopt when conducting critical research, examining the way people come to make meaning of their perceptions and lived experiences.
Tell us about a project you are currently working on or recently completed.
I am working on a project that builds off of my dissertation study, which focused on the lived experiences of Black students and the SAT when applying to post-secondary education. Further exploring the need for admissions reform, I highlight Black students' responses to test-optional policies and how this influenced their college-going experiences.
- Ph.D., Higher Educational Leadership, Texas Christian University, 2023
- MBA, Business Administration, Sam Houston State University, 2016
- M.A., Communication Management, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2015
- B.S., Management, Alabama A&M University, 2014
Awards and Honors
- Outstanding Graduate Student Service Award, Texas Christian University, 2023
- Graduate Student Pillar of University Leadership, Texas Christian University, 2023
- First place, Holmes Dissertation Funding Competition, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, 2023
- Outstanding Graduate Student, American College Personnel Association, 2023
- Outstanding Service Award, Texas Christian University, 2022
- Outstanding Doctoral Student, American College Personnel Association, 2022
- Outstanding Graduate Student Service Award, Texas Christian University, 2021
- Bob Bolen Leadership Scholarship, Texas Christian University, 2021
- Bob Bolen Leadership Scholarship, Texas Christian University, 2020
- Founder’s Day Scholarship Award, Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education, 2020
- Founder’s Day Scholarship Award, Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education, 2019
- Diversity, equity and inclusion
- Higher education
- Minority-serving institutions
- Racial equity
- American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
- American College Personnel Association
- American Educational Research Association
- The American Educational Studies Association
- Association for the Study of Higher Education
- Conference on Academic Research and Education
- Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education
- University Council for Educational Administration
The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, and Justice at Rutgers University has appointed A&M-Commerce faculty Dr. Leslie U. Ekpe as a Visiting Scholar. The Proctor Institute aids Visiting Scholars with research on leadership, equity and justice in higher education. Appointees are required to participate in the institute’s programming and research and are provided […]