Indiana State University Newsroom

New director of African American Cultural Center named

May 2, 2010

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Stephanie R. Jefferson, assistant dean for recruitment and director of the urban health program at the University of Illinois at Chicago has been named the director of Indiana State University's African American Cultural Center. She will be welcomed to campus during a reception Friday, May 7, from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Cultural Center.

Jefferson succeeds Charlie Brown, who retired after serving as the center's director for more than 30 years. She has more than 20 years of experience in education and 15 years experience in higher education primarily in student affairs.

"When I visited Indiana State University, I was really taken by the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of the campus," Jefferson said. "I am impressed with the wonderful and long history that the African American Cultural Center has on campus and in the community."

Jefferson hopes the cultural center becomes the setting for student and community interaction and discussion, adding she would like to organize activities such as book discussion groups, movie series and panel discussions.

"I look forward to collaborating with other departments and academic units," she added.

Jefferson is a firm believer in the role of African American Cultural Center, due in part to her own personal experience.

"As an undergraduate student in Urbana-Champaign, I frequently participated in activities sponsored by the African American Cultural Center, attending lectures and receptions," Jefferson said. "Much like the students here at Indiana State, the cultural center was a place that other students and I called home. It was a constant in our lives; parties and student organizational meetings were held there. It was and is a good place and I would like for current and future students to have the same sentiments about the cultural center at Indiana State."

Jefferson comes to Indiana State from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she was assistant dean for recruitment and director of the urban health program in the College of Applied Health Sciences. Previously, she worked with the college's Urban Allied Health Academy, co-founding a health careers explorer program for high school students. While at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she worked in the office of minority affairs as a graduate counselor, research assistant and assistant director. She organized the Single Parent Network, a support group for students who have parenting responsibilities, while an assistant director. The program flourished and is still in existence.

"Stephanie has a leadership style that engenders a collective, shared process, which will be quite beneficial to the various populations that need to be served through the cultural center -- students, alumni and the community -- as well as collaboration efforts. She is a true humanitarian and understands how health, economics and social issues all work together in the development and retention of students," said Carmen Tillery, dean of students.

Tillery added that Jefferson understands that the efforts of cultural centers need to focus on student retention and graduation.

"Stephanie will be a great addition to the Indiana State community," Tillery said.

Jefferson earned a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and a Ph.D. in human and community development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master of education degree in early childhood education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interests include the experiences of minority individuals and families living in urban environments and the social support and social networks of African American women.

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, 812-237-3783 or