Wed, 11/16/2022 – 09:23 am | From: Van Arnold
As a percussionist in the Pride of Mississippi marching band and a student at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), Dr. Jerlando L. Jackson the importance of teamwork, precision and discipline.
Marching to the beat of a persistent drum, Jackson has built an impressive career in higher education as a renowned author, professor, and scholar. He is currently Dean of the College of Education at Michigan State University (MSU) and Professor of Education for the MSU Foundation. He also serves as Director and Chief Research Scientist of the Organizational Disparities Laboratory.
Jackson received his Bachelor of Music Education from USM in 1996 before earning his Masters in Higher Education Administration from Auburn and his Ph.D. in higher education from Iowa State University. Jackson says his time at USM paved a clear path to the professional success he enjoys today.
“Without question, my experiences both inside and outside of the classroom at USM provided a foundation that enabled me to progress through graduate school, a career in professorship and now university leadership,” Jackson said.
Jackson has authored or co-authored articles in more than 125 publications. He has authored or edited six books, including Measuring Glass Ceiling Effects: Opportunities and Challenges and Ethnic and Racial Administrative Diversity: Understanding Work Life Realities and Experiences in Higher Education. He is credited with coining the term “organizational disparities” after conducting years of research on hiring practices, job mobility, workforce diversity, and workforce discrimination.
He has launched several groundbreaking initiatives, including serving as founding executive director of the Center for African American Research and Policy (CAARP) in 2005, founding co-director of the Asa G. Hilliard III and the Barbara A. Sizemore Research Course on African Americans and training with the American Educational Research Association since 2007, founding director of the Equity and Inclusion Laboratory (Wei LAB) in Wisconsin in 2010, and co-founder of the International Colloquium on Black Males in Education in 2011.
Jackson has also received outside funding to develop the Beyond the Game program and the National Study of Intercollegiate Athletics, transformational projects related to the experiences of student-athletes and staff in intercollegiate athletics.
Born in Ashburn, Georgia into a military family, Jackson lived in Germany for several years before settling in Ft. Benning, Georgia. He enrolled at USM in 1991 after learning of the university’s outstanding reputation in the arts.
“I chose USM as a music major because it had one of the best percussion studios in the country and because I was with Dr. Sherman Hong (longtime USM music professor, now retired) wanted to study,” Jackson said.
While at USM, Jackson was actively involved in Greek life and counts his membership in the Kappa Iota Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity as a highlight of his time on the Hattiesburg campus. He fondly remembers his close acquaintance with Dr. Joe Paul, who served as vice president of student affairs during Jackson’s college years. Paul now serves as 11th President.
“I was fortunate to have a relationship with Dr. Paul, which continued after I graduated,” Jackson said. “These interactions were related to being a member of Greek Life on campus, being a campus student leader, and exploring careers as I learned about career paths leading to work on college campus. He has always been genuine, responsive and helpful with me.”
As colleges and universities across the country grapple with the task of increasing enrollment, Jackson offers some insights into how they might meet the challenge.
“Two factors that will be critical in addressing the challenges of enrollment in public higher education are clarifying and communicating the value proposition of a higher education degree to society, and articulating clear career paths for prospective and current students,” he said.