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Dr. Jason F. Kirksey


Dr. Kirksey

Dr. Jason F. Kirksey is the Vice President for Institutional Diversity and the Chief Diversity Officer at Oklahoma State University (OSU). He also holds the rank of Associate Professor in the OSU Department of Political Science. Dr. Kirksey serves as the principal investigator (PI) for the Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (OK-LSAMP) Program, which is a $3.9M, five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant designed to increase underrepresented minority science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates at twelve higher educational institutions across Oklahoma. He also served as the PI for the previous five-year phase of this program, which was a $3.4M sponsored grant from NSF. Dr. Kirksey also serves as the PI for the OK-LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate Program at OSU, a $1.1M two-year NSF grant that provides graduate school funding for twelve LSAMP Scholars. Over the past decade, Dr. Kirksey served as PI for approximately $10M in total NSF funding at OSU. During his tenure as Vice President, Dr. Kirksey also had administrative oversight of an additional $10M in NSF and U.S. Department of Education funding. Since January 2014, he has also served as an appointed member by the chairman of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to the statewide Oklahoma NSF Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Committee.


Dr. Kirksey brings over 25 years of experience teaching, researching, and active engagement with diversity, equity, and inclusion issues. His expertise includes minority politics; race, politics, and sports; and public policy, emphasizing African Americans, Native Americans, and women in the American political system. Dr. Kirksey’s published research has appeared in the National Political Science Review, Women and Politics, the Voting Rights Review, Focus on Law Review, and Oklahoma Politics. In addition to his published articles, Dr. Kirksey has written several book chapters focused primarily on the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Additionally, he has served as a federal court-certified expert witness in voting rights cases in Alabama, Arkansas, and New Mexico.


Under the past 14 years of Dr. Kirksey’s leadership, OSU has emerged as one of the nation’s leaders in diversity and inclusion. Since 2009, OSU has experienced a 111% increase in the enrollment of students of color (African American, Latino, Native American, Asian American, and Biracial/Multiracial students) and a 222% increase in first-generation students of color. Most importantly, since May 2010, OSU has had a 106% increase in students of color earning a bachelor’s degree. Also, over the past decade, more Native Americans have earned a college degree from OSU than any other institution in the nation. OSU has also experienced over a 90% increase in African American, Latino, Native American, and biracial/multiracial faculty in classrooms across the institution since 2010.


Throughout Dr. Kirksey’s tenure, the number of U.S. Department of Education TRIO programs housed within the Division has increased to four. In addition to the Student Support Services Program directly serving OSU students for the past eight years, in August 2017, the Ronald McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement      Program also referred to as the McNair Scholars Program, was awarded to the Division. Additionally, two pre-college TRIO programs, Upward Bound and Talent Search, are also housed within this executive-level unit.


These four TRIO programs account for approximately $5M in federal grants serving first-generation, low-income, and differently-abled students at OSU.


The Division of Institutional Diversity continues to play an integral role in OSU, being recognized with a number of accolades, including several nationally prestigious awards and recognitions. OSU has received the 2016 National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) Institutional Excellence Award, the 2016 Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council (SMSDC) Corporation of the Year Award, the 2012-2022 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from Insight Into Diversity, the 2017-2022 HEED Award Diversity Champion, the 2016-2019 Minority Access, Inc. Institution Committed to Diversity Award, the 2016 and 2017 Mosaic Five-star Inclusive Workplace Culture Award from the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce’s diversity business council, as well as Mosaic’s 2020 and 2021 Top Inclusive Workplace Award, the 2017 American Association for Access, Equity, and Diversity’s (AAAED) Dr. Roosevelt Thomas Champion of Diversity Award, and the 2018 Innovation + Inclusion Leadership Award from The Society for Diversity. Additionally, OSU is one of seven four-year schools nationwide to have received the HEED Award for eleven consecutive years. In the past five years (2018-2022), OSU was recognized in the Military Times' Top 100 schools for veterans. Also, from 2014-2018, the U.S. Department of Education designated OSU as a Minority Serving Institution (MSI).


In March 2017, Dr. Kirksey received the NADOHE 2017 Dr. Frank W. Hale, Jr. Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes individuals who distinguish themselves in higher education with a robust record of consistent service for inclusive excellence, exercising innovative and courageous leadership and vision, and exemplifying the philosophy, principles, and practices of NADOHE while contributing substantially to diversity and inclusive excellence.


In November 2018, Dr. Kirksey received the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) Commission on Access, Diversity, and Excellence (CADE) Distinguished Service Award for creating partnerships, broadening access and opportunity in higher education, and contributing to the achievement of diversity at all levels of the academic community.


In August 2021, Dr. Kirksey was selected for the Inclusive Excellence Leadership Award from Diversity & HR Solutions in North Carolina. This award is for an individual who: effectively leads by consistently demonstrating innovative, future-forward, visionary thinking; rallying, engaging, and inspiring others to imagine and invest in future state possibilities; leads by example and demonstrates a commitment to bold exploration, risk-taking, and learning from both failure and success; and holds themselves and others accountable and challenges others to continually work toward making a difference in the work/life experiences of present and future generations.


Most recently, Dr. Kirksey became a recipient of the 2023 Diamond Award Excellence in Education Leadership, Diversity | Equality | Inclusion, Humanitarian & Community Engagement by The Not Alone Foundation, Incorporated and The Academy of the Diamond Awards in Atlanta, Georgia. This award honors individuals in the entertainment and business worlds who, through their perseverance and success, have significantly impacted their industries. These individuals have opened new doors and changed the world, from donating their time, money, and influence to philanthropic activities to acting as role models or pioneers for others in their fields.


In March 2021, Dr. Kirksey was elected to serve a second consecutive three-year term on the NADOHE Board of Directors. He was initially elected in 2018 to serve on the NADOHE Board. Within the NADOHE Board, he chairs the Awards Committee, and the past year Dr. Kirksey chaired the NADOHE Branding TaskForce at the request of the Board Chair. He recently served as President of the Big XII Chief Diversity Officers Consortium from 2013-2017. In September 2020, he served as a reviewer for the NASPA (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators) IV-West Awards. Since 2014, Dr. Kirksey has served as President of the Oklahoma Diversity Officers and Practitioners Consortium, a statewide diversity-based organization. Dr. Kirksey also served as a member of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence (CADE) from 2011-2015. Additionally, for over a decade, he has been a panelists for the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral, Dissertation, and Predoctoral Fellowship Programs Review through The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. From 2017-2019, Dr. Kirksey chaired the Ford Fellowship Program Review panel on Interdisciplinary Studies,  the largest panel in terms of the number of reviewers and submitted applications.


In 2014, Dr. Kirksey embarked on an unconventional and unprecedented capital campaign at OSU. The five-year campaign focused on engaging OSU alums of color, primarily African Americans, to develop private program support and resources, particularly scholarships, focused on diversity and inclusion. The campaign goal was $1.65M. The campaign concluded in June 2019 with the total dollars raised at $6.4M. The campaign established approximately 50 new endowed diversity-focused scholarships. Under Dr. Kirksey’s leadership from 2009-2023, the Division of Institutional Diversity was instrumental in over $20M in philanthropic gifts to OSU. This transformative effort continues to enrich OSU's commitment to inclusive excellence substantially.


Dr. Kirksey is a highly sought consultant and speaker and serves on several diversity-related boards and councils, including the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice (OCCJ), the KIPP Tulsa Board of Directors (elected Vice Chair 2020-2021 and elected Board Chair beginning July 2021and Governance Committee Chair 2020-2021), and the KIPP Oklahoma Board of Directors since 2021. Most recently, Dr. Kirksey was selected to serve a three-year term on the Board of Trustees of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of USA Taekwondo from 2018-2022, the Oklahoma Policy Institute Board of Directors from 2017-2019, the Stillwater Public Schools Long Range Facility Planning Committee from 2014-2016, and coached youth basketball, softball, and baseball in Stillwater for over ten years. Dr. Kirksey is also a past President of the Stillwater Big Brothers/Big Sisters Board of Directors (1999-2001) and a former Executive Committee member of the Board of Directors for the Stillwater Family YMCA (2006-2014). He has given countless diversity and inclusion presentations and workshops across the state and nation. Previously, Dr. Kirksey served as the Director of the OSU Center for Africana Studies (2007-2011), President of the Oklahoma Political Science Association (2002), and he held the Hannah D. Atkins Endowed Chair for Political Science and Government Information in the OSU Department of Political Science (1995-2010). Dr. Kirksey is also president of JFK Consulting, LLC.


He holds a BA in Political Science and Economics (1989) and an MA in Political Science (1991) from OSU. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of New Orleans in 1997. He is also a 2014 graduate of Class XXVII of Leadership Oklahoma.


Dr. Kirksey is a native of Denver, Colorado. He and his wife Kim, also an OSU alum, have two children, Kaitlyn, a 2020 OSU graduate and Garrett, a 2023 OSU graduate.


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