The Power of One Woman's Voice

Menah Pratt-Clarke, J.D., Ph.D., Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity, Virginia Tech

AbstractMenah Pratt-Clarke

Using A Black Woman's Journey from Cotton Picking to College Professor: Lessons about Race, Class, and Gender and Journeys of Social Justice: Women of Color Presidents in the Academy, as contextual backdrops, Menah Pratt-Clarke shares key themes related to journeys of courageous leadership and the importance of living a life of impact and transformation.


Menah Pratt-Clarke is the Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity at Virginia Tech. She is also a professor of education in the School of Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, with affiliations in Africana studies, women’s and gender studies and the Department of Sociology.  

She has more than 20 years of administrative, academic and legal experience in higher education, with a focus on large-scale institutional transformation. Prior to joining Virginia Tech, she served as Associate Chancellor for Strategic Affairs and Associate Provost for Diversity at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for nine years. She was also the University Compliance Officer, Assistant Secretary of the University and University Counsel at Vanderbilt University for eight years.

Dr. Pratt-Clarke has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa with a major in English and minors in philosophy and African-American studies. She received her master’s degree in literary studies from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in Sociology from Vanderbilt University. In addition, she earned her Ph.D. and J.D. from Vanderbilt University. While in Nashville, she also taught at men’s and women’s maximum- and minimum-security prisons through American Baptist College and at Fisk University. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Tennessee.

Her research interests include transdisciplinary analysis of diversity issues in higher education. In addition to her first book, Critical Race, Feminism, and Education:  A Social Justice Model (Palgrave, 2010), she recently released A Black Woman’s Journey from Cotton Picking to College Professor: Lessons About Race, Class, and Gender in America. (Peter Lang, 2018), which was awarded the American Education Studies Association Critics’ Choice Award for scholarship deemed to be outstanding in its field. Additional books include Journeys of Social Justice: Women of Color Presidents in the Academy (Peter Lang, 2017) and Reflections on Race, Gender, and Culture in Cuba (Peter Lang, 2017).