Dr. Robin Means Coleman is Northwestern’s vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion, chief diversity officer, and the Ida B. Wells and Ferdinand Barnett Professor in the Department of Communication Studies. She holds courtesy appointments in the Department of Radio/Television/Film and in the Department of African American Studies in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
Prior to Joining Northwestern, Dr. Coleman served as vice president & associate provost for diversity and professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A&M University. There she implemented the University Diversity Plan, thereby leading efforts in accountability, climate, and equity. She also provided strategic and scholarly leadership on practices and measures that advance diversity and inclusion progress in diversifying the faculty, staff, and student body, with an emphasis on recruitment, retention, and progression. She worked collaboratively with faculty, staff, and students across Texas A&M’s 16 colleges and schools, two branch campuses, Health Science Center, and University Libraries.
Before coming to Texas A&M University, Dr. Coleman was on the faculty at the University of Michigan, the University of Pittsburgh, and New York University. At the University of Michigan, she served as Associate Dean of Social Sciences in the Rackham Graduate School, as well as Chair of the Department of Communication Studies.
An internationally prominent and award-winning Professor of Communication and Africana studies, Dr. Coleman’s scholarship focuses on African Americans, media, and effective intercultural communication. She is writing five books:
- The Black Guy Dies First: Black Horror Renaissance.
- Horror Noire: A History of Black American Horror from 1890s to Present, 2nd ed.
- Horror Films of the Black Diaspora.
- Movin’ On Up: A History of the Black Situation Comedy.
- Image Wars: The NAACP, Media, and the Quest for Black Respectability.
Dr. Coleman is the author of Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present (2011, Routledge) and African-American Viewers and the Black Situation Comedy: Situating Racial Humor (2000, Routledge). She is co-author of Intercultural Communication for Everyday Life (2014, Wiley-Blackwell). She is the editor of Say It Loud! African American Audiences, Media, and Identity (2002, Routledge) and co-editor of Fight the Power! The Spike Lee Reader (2008, Peter Lang). She is also the author of a number of other academic and popular publications. Her research and commentary have been featured in a variety of international and national media outlets. Her documentary film, Horror Noire, made its international premiere in 2019 to critical acclaim. To-date, Horror Noire has won the 2020 Rondo Hatton Award for Best Documentary and the 2019 FearNyc Trailblazer Award.
Dr. Coleman has earned numerous awards for her teaching and mentoring. She is the recipient of the John Dewey Award for undergraduate education, the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Outstanding Mentor Award, and the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award, all from the University of Michigan. She earned the New York University School of Education Award for Teaching Excellence. She is the recipient of the Minority Access National Role Model Award, the Chatman Women’s Foundation Icon Award, and the Delta Tau Lambda Sorority, Inc. “Commitment to Excellence” Award. She currently holds the Texas A&M/College of Liberal Arts Cornerstone Faculty Fellowship which funds her undergraduate student research lab, “The Black Fantastic.”
Dr. Coleman was a Fellow in the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University. She earned a Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University. She is a graduate of the American Council on Education Leadership Academy, the University of California-Berkeley Executive Leadership Academy, and the National Intergroup Dialogue Institute. Dr. Coleman was a Fellow in the Big 10 Academic Alliance Academic Leadership Program. She is currently participating in the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) Standards of Professional Practice Institute. Dr. Coleman is also a Fellow in the Academic Leadership Institute sponsored by The New School and the University of Michigan.