Dr. Judy "J.J." Jackson, Senior Advisory Consultant 

Dr. Judy "J.J." Jackson serves as Senior Advisory Consultant to Harris Search Associates on higher education assignments providing insight, national relationships, and vetting of candidates on behalf of client institution committees and our firm.

Most recently, JJ has served as the diversity and inclusion officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

In 2008, J.J. became The University of Kentucky’s (UK) first Vice President for Institutional Diversity.  Dr. Jackson has advised the President and Provost since then on all academic, fiscal and administrative policy decisions regarding the university’s diversity goals; on developing, implementing and evaluating the university’s diversity plan; and on active community involvement around diversity issues. She is the senior administrative officer responsible for promoting collaboration among faculty, staff, administration and students in earnest pursuit of UK's diversity goals.  She also holds a tenured associate professorship in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation.

Dr. Jackson has pursued a challenging career in academic administration in several institutions of varying size, mission, and location.  Positions she held before joining UK include Dean of the College at Vassar College, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at New York University, Executive Assistant to the President and Clerk of the Corporation at Babson College in Massachusetts.  At MIT she served successively as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education & Student Affairs and Director of Minority Education, as ombudsman in the President’s Office, and as Special Advisor to the Provost on Faculty Diversity.  Dr. Jackson served at Cornell University’s College of Engineering as Assistant Dean for Advising, Counseling and Minority Programs.  She began her administrative career at Bucknell University, as Advisor to Minority and Foreign Students.  Prior to that, she taught Freshman Writing in the English Department at Susquehanna University.

She earned her doctorate in Higher Education Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.  She received an interdepartmental Master of Arts degree in Francophone African Literature, Geography, and Foreign Policy from Bucknell University.  Her Bachelor of Arts degree in French Language and Literature is from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Dr. Jackson’s dedication to education and her passion for ensuring diversity and inclusion as a university strategic goal is born out of a lifetime of personal and professional experiences that have taught her the power and the promise of these concepts.  She has published and presented widely on topics relating to diversity in higher education and served in leadership positions at many education-related civic and community organizations.


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Harris Search Associates is a leading global executive search firm. Our higher education and academic medicine practices are focused on identifying and attracting leaders Presidents, Provosts, Deans, Department Chairs, Researchers, and Senior Administrators to support the growth of clients in the areas of research, science, engineering, academic medicine and commercial enterprises. We are the higher education headhunters of choice for universities around the globe.