Skip Navigation
Oklahoma State University

Dr. Jason F. 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 $3.4M, five-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant designed to increase underrepresented minority science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates at eleven higher educational institutions across the state of Oklahoma. He is also the PI for the OK-LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate Program at OSU, which is a $1.1M two-year NSF grant that provides graduate school funding for twelve LSAMP Scholars. In total, Dr. Kirksey has served as PI for approximately $6M in NSF funding at OSU. 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 approximately 25 years of experience teaching, researching, and active engagement with issues related to diversity and inclusion. His areas of expertise include minority politics, race and sports, and public policy, with emphasis on 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 litigation consultant in voting rights cases.

Under the nine-year tenure 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 96% 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 74% 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 a 53% increase in the number of African American, Latino, and Native American 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 seven years, in August 2017, the Ronald E. 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 Educational 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 students with disabilities at OSU.

The Division of Institutional Diversity has played an integral role in OSU being recognized with a number of accolades, including several nationally prestigious awards. 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 2012-2018 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from Insight Into Diversity, the 2018 and 2017 HEED Award Diversity Champion, the 2016-2018 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, the 2017 American Association for Access, Equity, and Diversity’s (AAAED) Dr. Roosevelt Thomas Champion of Diversity Award, and most recently, the 2018 Innovation + Inclusion Leadership Award from The Society for Diversity. Additionally, OSU is one of ten four-year schools in the nation to have received the HEED Award seven consecutive years. Also, since 2014, the U.S. Department of Education has designated OSU as a Minority Serving Institution (MSI).

In March 2017, Dr. Kirksey was the recipient of 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 2018, Dr. Kirksey was elected to serve a three-year term on the NADOHE Board of Directors. Within the NADOHE Board, he chairs the Awards Committee. Dr. Kirksey served as a member on the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence (CADE) from 2011-2015. He recently served as President of the Big XII Chief Diversity Officers Consortium from 2013-2017. Since 2014, Dr. Kirksey has served as President for the Oklahoma Diversity Officers and Practitioners Consortium, which is a statewide diversity-based organization.  Additionally, for over a decade, he has served as a panelists for the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral, Dissertation, and Predoctoral Fellowship Programs Review through The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The past several years, Dr. Kirksey has chaired the Ford Fellowship Program Review panel on Interdisciplinary Studies.

In February 2014, Dr. Kirksey embarked on an unconventional and unprecedented capital campaign at OSU. The five-year campaign focused on engaging OSU alumni of color, primarily African Americans, to develop private program support and resources, in particular scholarships, focused on diversity and inclusion. The campaign goal was $1.65M. Six months short of the end of the campaign in January 2019, the total dollars raised is approximately $4.5M, and has yielded approximately 40 new endowed scholarships. This transformative effort has substantially enriched OSU’s commitment to inclusive excellence.

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) and the Oklahoma Policy Institute. He served as a member of the Stillwater Public Schools Long Range Facility Planning Committee from 2014-2016, and coached youth basketball, softball, and baseball in the community for over ten years. Dr. Kirksey is also a past President of the Stillwater Big Brothers/Big Sisters Board of Directors and a former executive member of the Board of Directors for the Stillwater Family YMCA. He has given countless diversity and inclusion presentations and workshops across the state, as well as nationally. 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 as the Hannah D. Atkins Endowed Chair for Political Science and Government Information in the OSU Department of Political Science (1995-2010).

He holds a BA in both 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.