LEADERSHIP STUDIES FACULTY
The Minds You Will Encounter at Leadership Studies
Dr. Ceola Ross Baber has been a professional educator for over thirty years. She began her career as a high school social studies and English teacher in northern California, after completing an M.A. degree at Stanford University. She taught at the middle school and community college levels in California and Alabama before pursuing her doctorate at Purdue University. She is currently a Professor of Leadership Studies at North Carolina A&T State University. Her appointments in higher education include Director of the African American Studies & Research Center at Purdue University (1984-1989); faculty member in the UNC-Greensboro Department of Curriculum and Instruction (1989-2008); Associate Dean for Teacher Education & School Relationships in the UNCG School of Education (1999-2004); UNCG Interim Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (2007-2008). She served as Dean of the NCA&T School of Education from 2008-2010. Dr. Ross Baber has made numerous presentations at the state, regional and national levels and is the author of many scholarly publications related to urban and equity education. She serves as manuscript reviewer for Review of Educational Research, American Educational Research Journal, Journal of School Leadership, Teacher Education Quarterly. Her current research/scholarship agenda includes: a) equity education in K-20 institutions, (b) racial/ethnic minority student achievement, and (c) home-school-community-university collaboration. She chaired 16 doctoral committees at UNC-G; she serves as chair or co-chair for nine LEST dissertation committees.
Liz Barber, PhD, is an experienced teacher, literacy studies professor, and ethnographic researcher. She teaches in the Leadership Studies Doctoral Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and conducts participatory action research projects in both Greensboro, North Carolina, and Domasi, Malawi. Her research focuses on writing, literacy, and leadership as these develop within cultures or communities of practice. Dr. Barber graduated summa cum laude with B.A. in English, Psychology & Education from Roanoke College 1981; M.Ed. from Virginia Tech, 1985, Curriculum & Instruction. Ph.D. from Virginia Tech, 1995, Literacy Studies. She is a National Writing Project Fellow, Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society Doctoral Fellowship, and Fulbright Scholar.
Daniel M. Miller is an Associate Professor of Leadership Studies at North Carolina A&T State University. Dr. Miller earned his MS and Ph.D. at Cornell University. Dr. Miller earned his BS in Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. His research interests and professional activities draw upon his foundations in education, leadership, organizational behavior and policy in the areas of social entrepreneurship, health systems, and renewable and alternative energy. He is currently working on local, national and international partnerships that are developing programs in the areas of African American males, STEM education, engineering, economic development, housing, green energy, and health systems operations. He has supervised fifteen doctoral dissertations and served on nineteen additional dissertation committees since 1995. His dissertation advisees have included senior level executives in education, military, defense contractors, engineers, business, public administration, and health services.
Dr. Comfort Okpala is the interim chair and a professor in Leadership Studies, School of Education at North Carolina A & T State University. Her teaching interests include Qualitative Research, Quantitative Research, Higher Education Finance, and Leadership. Her research agenda is grounded in leadership studies, policy, finance, social justice, and resource equity. Dr. Okpala has a variety of educational publications in refereed journals like the Journal of Early Childhood Education, Journal of Education Finance, Journal of Educational Researcher, Urban Education, Journal of Applied Business, Journal of Negro Education, Journal of College Teaching and Learning, Contemporary Issues in Education Research, Education, and Instructional Psychology. Dr. Okpala’s published articles have received over two-hundred and forty (240) citations according to Google Scholar. She reviews manuscripts for many refereed journals like Journal of Negro Education, Urban Education, Journal of Early Childhood Education, and Journal of Education. Dr. Okpala has presented her research at local, state, national and international conferences like American Education Research Association (AERA), American Education Finance Association (AEFA), American Evaluation Association (AEA), Eastern Educational Research Association (EERA), North Carolina Association for Research in Education (NCARE), and others. Dr. Comfort Okpala has been a member of AERA since 1998 and has served as a reviewer of conference articles for many years and a Treasurer for Fiscal Policy SIG. She served as a Board member for four (4) consecutive years on the North Carolina Association for Research in Education which is a local affiliation of AERA. She has been awarded numerous grants that include NSF grants and Twenty-First Century grant as well as other travel grants.
Forrest D. Toms is as an Associate Professor in the Department of Leadership Studies Doctoral Program at N C A&T State University. His current research is in the areas of leadership development with faith-based/community leaders around spiritual capital and civic engagement. Toms is recognized nationally for his systems approach and processes related to diversity and cultural competency in the education, health and mental health fields. He has successfully designed and implemented effective organizational change models for the NC Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities, NC Division of MHDDSAS and many school systems statewide and nationally. He has published articles, produced books and multimedia training products in the areas of diversity, cultural competency and community engagement. He has served as a member of the NC Social Service Commission and the N C Justice Center Board of Directors. He is a member of the NC Division MHDDSAS’ Practice Improvement Collaborative (NC PIC) and N C Raising Achievement and Closing the Gap Commission. Dr. Toms received his BS and MA degrees in Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and a PhD in Developmental Psychology from Howard University, Washington, DC. He resides in Hickory, NC with his wife Phyllis, son, Forrest II and daughter, Zakiya.