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Melvin (Jai) Jackson

Director of Graduate Student Success

Poe Hall 504



Melvin (Jai) Jackson (he, him, his) is a higher education scholar-leader currently leading as the Director for Graduate Student Recruitment, Mentoring, and Success within the College of Education at NC State University. Jai earned both his bachelor's degree in Health Care Management and his master's degree in College Student Development from Appalachian State University. He earned his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Research from Louisiana State University where he was recognized as a Louisiana Board of Regents Doctoral Fellow and a Southern Region Education Board Fellow. He is a passionate servant-leader inspired by his work towards student advocacy, success, and representation. Through service in diversity, inclusion, and equity, Jai continues to dedicate his career towards the proliferation of an environment of collective success and anti-racist realities.

Research Description

As an academic scholar, his research has focused on the ‘intersectionality’ that exists within education systems and how this occurrence can promote an environment of inequality for underrepresented populations. The principal goal of his research is to expose the institutionalized racism that exists within American education and further examine how race, power, law, and politics intersect to create an unequal system of discursive ideals and cultural norms that perpetuate institutionalized racism. His research agenda had its inception at the start of my collegiate career in higher education, as he was subjected to the institutional racism that commonly permeates through predominately White colleges and universities he grew more interested in exploring how and why things operated as they did. His earliest research regarding race, culture, and education came about while I served as a co-instructor for a course on social issues and social change. The research he conducts is seen as unsettling and controversial for many in education but he feels passionate about the subject area and all that can be gained from exposing the phenomena that exist to perpetuate the ongoing cycle of oppression, institutionalized racism, and marginalization of underrepresented populations. His research is important because without it, the leaders of today will continue to encounter opaque glass ceilings and those leaders in American schools today will become even more estranged from the potential they possess in the world today.


Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Research, and Policy from Louisiana State University in 2015
M.A. in College Student Development from Appalachian State University in 2010
B.S.B.A. in Health Care Management from Appalachian State University in 2008

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Scholarly Publications

  • Jackson, M. (2019). Escape, Adapt, and Thrive: In Search of the Promised Land. In No Ways Tired: The Journey for Professionals of Color in Student Affairs: Volume II. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
  • Jackson, M. (2018). The Road to Change: The Impact of Culture on Leadership. In D. Griffith & M. Cassar, The Leader Reader (1st ed.). Burlington, Ontario: Word and Deed Publishing, Incorporated.
  • Jackson, M. (2018). The International Struggle for Equality. In M. Robinson-Nichols, M. Galloway Burke & L. Hall, No Ways Tired: The Journey for Professionals of Color in Student Affairs (1st ed.). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. (In Press)
  • Sy, J. & Jackson, M. (2018). Considerations for International Higher Education: Revisiting Cultural Competence and Proficiency. NASPA Knowledge Community Publication, March (2018), 41-43.
  • Jackson, M. (2017). Covert Direction Through Informal Leadership in Higher Education. In C. Rogers, A. HIlton & K. Lomotey, Innovative Approaches to Educational Leadership: Selected Cases (1st ed.). New York: Peter Lang.
  • Jackson, M. (2017). Failure Breeds Opportunities for Success. In A. Robbins, Empower Now: True Stories from 14 Young Minority Professionals (1st ed.). Seattle, Washington: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
  • Morton, B., Jackson, M. J., Frazier, M., & Varner, K. (2016). Roadblock in the mirror: Recommendations for overcoming the cultural disability of whiteness in non-white educational spaces. In S. Hancock & C. Warren (Eds.), White Woman’s Work: Examining the Intersectionality of Cultural Norms, Teaching, and Identity Formation in Urban Schools. Retrieved from *Peer Reviewed
  • Jackson, M. (2014). A Testimony of a Black Male Cadet Facing Racial Battle Fatigue. In But You Can't Take Our Souls: The Front Lines of Racial Battle Fatigue in Higher Education. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. *Peer Reviewed

Honors and Awards

  • Louisiana Board of Regents Fellow
  • Southern Region Education Board Doctoral Fellow
  • Huel D. Perkins Fellow

Services and Engagements

  • Advisor/Advocate
    • Black @ AppState
    • Military & Veteran Students
    • Multicultural Graduate Students
    • Graduate Student Mental Health Alliance

Research Areas