Shana Lassiter Appointed Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement
Dr. Shana Lassiter has joined Duke’s Office for Faculty Advancement as assistant vice provost, tapping into a passion for faculty development she discovered throughout a career in higher education.
For six years, she played a key role in Columbia University’s faculty advancement office as assistant provost. Seeking a smaller city with a slower pace, Lassiter moved to Durham and enjoyed a new focus as assistant dean for academic programs and student affairs at the Sanford School of Public Policy. But when she learned of the faculty advancement opening across campus, she couldn’t resist the opportunity.
“It feels like a homecoming,” she said. “Working toward a thriving, diverse, inclusive and excellent faculty body feels really important and satisfying.”
Growing up in New York City, she often heard tales about her great grandmother on her mother’s side, who was a teacher in the Caribbean. Education is the key, she learned, a powerful force that can transform lives.
Throughout her multifaceted career in higher education administration, she developed a deep respect for the importance of a thriving, diverse faculty. And at both public and private universities, she learned that students from historically underrepresented populations yearned for more faculty who looked like them.
In her new role, Lassiter is responsible for leading the planning, delivery and assessment of the Office for Faculty Advancement’s suite of initiatives in three interconnected areas: hiring for inclusive excellence; faculty and leadership development; and climate, culture and community.
She sees herself as a connector and problem-solver, helping members of the team translate big ideas into action. “And it’s not just about faculty support or development, it’s about helping faculty to thrive,” she emphasized. “To me, that’s the ultimate goal.”
“Shana really gets faculty advancement, and her commitment to faculty growth and success is deep,” said Abbas Benmamoun, vice provost for faculty advancement. “I am delighted to welcome her to our team.”
Lassiter succeeds Carolyn Mackman, who retired from Duke University on June 30 after 12 years of service. Her appointment follows a search chaired by Dr. Sherilynn Black, associate vice provost for faculty advancement.
She earned her Ed.D. in health education from Columbia University’s Teachers College and a master’s degree in clinical and community psychology from Georgia State University. Lassiter received her bachelor’s degree in psychobiology from Binghamton University (State University of New York).
The transition from Harlem to Durham has been a smooth one for Lassiter and her two children. Citing the Bull City’s rich African-American history, she says this place feels like home. Settling into her new office in the Allen Building, she looks forward to meeting people from across the university and connecting faculty to opportunities to grow and thrive. “I can’t think of a better place to land.”