Celebrating Black Women Teachers at FIU | FIU News

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By Fabio Lopez

As Black History Month comes to an end and Women’s History Month is fast approaching, meet 4 faculty members at the intersection of blackness and femininity who are making an impact at the FRC.


Carleen VincentRobinson East teaching professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and is currently assistant dean of the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs.

Vincent-Robinson began her career at CRF 14 years ago as an instructor at the Biscayne Bay campus where she taught all of the criminal justice courses offered.

“I was in the Criminal Justice Department at the BBC,” Vincent-Robinson said of his early career in the department. “I was the only faculty member there. All the others were at MMC.

Since joining her colleagues at MMC, she has made the most of her time as a faculty member and eventually became the Associate President. Some of his notable accomplishments include overseeing a dual-enrollment criminal justice program that has grown to eight different high schools and hundreds of students in just a few years, running an internship program, facilitation of learning assessment so that police officers can earn up to 15 credits for their professional experience and the creation of a teaching internship for doctoral students.

Driven by an incessant quest for knowledge, Vincent-Robinson has accumulated five diplomas in total: an Ed.D. in higher education, a master of arts in sociology with concentrations in race and ethnicity as well as criminology, a master of science in criminal justice, a doctorate in law and a bachelor of arts in professional writing in English.


Okezi T.Otovo has been at the CRF since 2012. She has focused on research and teaching on Latin American history, particularly Brazilian history, as well as gender and sexuality and social history medicine and public health. In addition, she teaches the history of people of African descent and race, gender and intersectionality.

Otovo is currently Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora History and Studies and Affiliate Professor at the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center and Center for Women and Gender Studies at CRF.

Otovo is heavily involved in community work and outreach efforts that facilitate conversations between Black women in the community who have given birth and medical experts and childbirth advocates. She has led several community dialogues in South Florida, such as “Perspectives on Black Motherhood and Health,” a discussion group for community members who have experiences with motherhood and health in Florida to converse. with clinicians, doulas, midwives and advocates.

Currently, she directs the “Black Mothers Care Plan”, funded by The Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade County, which focuses on reducing racial bias in obstetric and postpartum care and supporting maternal and child health. . One of his major accomplishments during his time at the CRF is the publication of his book, Progressive mothers, better babies: race, public health and the state in Brazil, 1850-1945.

Last year, she also led a program centered on epistemologies of black women’s health, which deals with “women’s knowledge and how to share that knowledge about motherhood and the challenges that black women face.” .

Otovo is working on a new book, inspired, in part, by her own experience as a mother during the pandemic, which will center on the history of understanding and lived experiences of black women’s health in South Florida. , and how these understandings and experiences have changed over time.


Donna Aza Weir-Soley has been a Panther for more than two decades, having joined the institution in 1999. She is currently an Associate Professor of English and an Affiliate Faculty Member in African Diaspora and African Studies, Women’s Studies, and at the Latin American Center and Caribbean. In addition, she is also a literary critic, poet, essayist, novelist and anthropologist. She is also the Director of Professional Development and Mentoring for the Black Faculty Association at FIU.

Weir-Soley’s ultimate vision for what she wants to accomplish in her personal and professional life would be “to inspire, lead and give voice to current and future black scholars at CRF and create the next generation of black excellence and governance”.

One of the many classes Weir-Soley has taught over the years is a class on the Harlem Renaissance, a subject that fascinates her. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of its creation, it held a creative writing workshop in which students “read poetry from the Harlem Renaissance and wrote a love poem and a social justice poem… They writes a love quatrain poem with four stanzas and four lines; a Shakespearean sonnet was written on the subject of social justice.

Born in Jamaica, Weir-Soley is deeply committed to work that supports Caribbean countries. She is President of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars, an organization specializing in the promotion and dissemination of Caribbean literature, orature, and interdisciplinary work. She was also named the Butler Waugh Professor of English, a chair that aims to help undergraduate Hispanic and Caribbean students.


Michelle Bradham Cousar is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), National Certified Counselor (NCC), Certified Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) who translates her experience to make the university a more inclusive place for students with disabilities.

Bradham Cousar is an Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Counseling, where she provides advice, guidance and mentorship to the next generation of students to enter the field of rehabilitation services for people with physical and mental disabilities.

She has worked in the field of rehabilitation sciences for over 16 years. She is currently the Bylaws Chair and past Southern Region Chair for the American Counseling Association (ACA) which has over 55,000 counselors.

Having been named “Counsellor of the Year” in 2015 for her contributions to the field of rehabilitation and disability, Bradham-Cousar’s work focuses primarily on health disparities. This is reflected in his work with skills for people with disabilities. His most recent collaborative work has been to uncover and reveal through research, County Resolution #F3 “Structural Racism Study: Building Bridges and Supporting Racial Equity” (passed and approved by the County Council county). She is currently researching students with disabilities within the school system. Additionally, she works with various faculty members in a collaborative effort to find ways to learn about and address how faculty with disabilities are treated within academia.

Although relatively new to the University, Bradham-Cousar is keen to make a lasting impact within the institution. Since joining the FIU in August, she has launched Plan, a community of advisors that encourages discussions around disability and the different ways it can impact people and communities.


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