Bio – Dr. Donna J. Nicol

Dr. Donna J. Nicol is a Professor and Chair of Africana Studies at California State University Dominguez Hills.  Dr. Nicol joined the faculty at CSUDH in Fall 2017 after a decade in the Women and Gender Studies Department at California State University Fullerton where she became the first woman of color to be granted tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2014. She is the recipient of the 2021 Faculty Excellence in Service Award at CSU Dominguez Hills. Dr. Nicol earned early promotion to full professor in 2021, making her the department’s first woman to achieve this academic rank.

Before joining the professoriate, Dr. Nicol spent seven years in higher education administration as a Program Coordinator, Program Manager and Director along with three years as a secondary social studies and language arts teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District.

Dr. Nicol is a proud alumna of California State University Fullerton (BA, History and African American Studies, 1995) and California State University Long Beach (MA, History, 1999). She earned a master’s degree in educational policy and leadership in 2002 and a Ph.D. in educational studies (with a specialization in African American educational history) in 2007 from The Ohio State University.   Dr. Nicol’s research and teaching centers on history and politics of African American educational access with a focus on philanthropic foundations, university trustee boards, and African American women as faculty, university administrators and educational activists. She was a featured expert on the Al Jazeera documentary, The Big Picture: A Race for America, which aired in February 2021 and has subsequently published opinion and historical analysis articles for Al Jazeera English.

Dr. Nicol is a member of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, a life member of the Association of Black Women Historians, member of the California Faculty Association, and serves on the board of directors for the Historical Society of Southern California.

In her spare time, Dr. Nicol enjoys taking hip hop dance classes, cooking, debating politics and traveling with her husband.