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Welcome Message From Dr. Menah Pratt

Menah Pratt, J.D., Ph.D., Vice President Strategic Affairs and Diversity, and Professor Education


Dear Virginia Tech community,

This academic year, like so many others, will be a year of challenges and opportunities.  As an eternal optimist, I’m looking forward to the year.  I’m excited to be kicking off the year with Dr. David Stovall and the Diversity Summit, and my conversation with President Sands on August 16th. The Summit is a day-long educational opportunity so please register and attend in-person or on-line. Register at:

The once vibrant and dynamic landscape for aggressively and courageously advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion is more subdued, as states are enacting legislation to temper this important transformational responsibility of the academy.  Of course, it is not only states, as the Supreme Court has also limited the use of race in admissions decisions, and the care that admissions teams exercised to create a representationally diverse class to promote a learning environment that optimizes diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and ideas.  Yet, the reality is that the work must and will continue.  I am grateful to be able to continue to do this work at Virginia Tech where the support for diversity and InclusiveVT from the leadership team is unwavering.  InclusiveVT is our institutional and individual commitment to Ut Prosim (that I may serve) in the spirit of community, diversity, and inclusion. Our commitment must continue to be visible, tangible, powerful, and impactful.

We must continue supporting our most vulnerable students. We must continue educating our community about different cultural backgrounds and histories and experiences.  We must continue educating ourselves about the best practices to support optimal learning environments. We must continue educating ourselves about how to be allies, advocates, and activists for justice, equity, and more inclusive communities through our teaching in the classrooms.  We must continue diversifying our faculty, including leveraging the Future Faculty Diversity Program.  Applications will remain open through August 22, 2024.

I’m ready and I hope you are, too. The Office for Inclusion and Diversity and the diversity liaisons, directors, deans, and committees across campus are a powerful resource and I hope that each of you will be even more engaged and involved this year by attending and participating in programs and learning opportunities. Our website has been updated and is a wealth of information. Please visit it regularly at

I am excited to share that this year I am honored to be serving as an American Council on Education Fellow.  I will be using the year to learn about the higher education landscape from a national and global perspective by participating in periodic visits and travel to other institutions and learning communities. Though my formal placement will be at the University of Minnesota, I will be spending time visiting historically Black colleges and universities as well and travelling globally to get a pulse on the global experiences of women in education.  I will also be using this opportunity to work on a collaborative book project about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) with many of my colleagues at Virginia Tech.

In order to fully capitalize on this opportunity, I will be shifting day-to-day management for the Office of Inclusion and Diversity to Dr. Ellington Graves, who has been promoted to Interim Senior Associate Vice Provost for Inclusion and Diversity. An amazing and talented leader and a brilliant scholar, Dr. Graves has more than 20 years of experience at Virginia Tech, consistently supporting and leading key initiatives in OID, as well as directing the Africana Studies Program.  Dr. Graves will be supported by another powerful, talented, and passionate leader, ally, and advocate, Assistant Provost for Inclusion and Diversity and Chief of Staff, Dr.  Stacey Wilkerson. Like Dr. Graves, Dr. Wilkerson has also led and managed key initiatives in OID for the past seven years. This year, she will be providing oversight for the Community and Cultural Centers, in addition to other administrative areas.

I will not be fully on-leave, but about 70% of my time will be dedicated to the fellowship.  I will still be involved in advancing high-level strategic initiatives, including the Virginia Tech Advantage and the Corporate Diversity Partners Program. 

Please feel free to reach out to Dr. Graves or Dr. Wilkerson directly at or  My administrative assistant, Sandy Martin, can be reached at for urgent matters that may require my attention.

Thank you and let’s Ut Prosim, together.
Menah Pratt, J.D., Ph.D.
Vice President Strategic Affairs and Diversity, and Professor Education