about irma

I believe you must change hearts, change minds, and change behavior to achieve transformation.

Irma McClaurin
Dr. Irma McClaurin is a past president of Shaw University, an award-winning author, and an activist anthropologist who has committed her life and career to helping others transform the world. She holds the PhD and MA in Anthropology and the Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in English, both from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As the Principal of Irma McClaurin Solutions (IMS), a consulting business, she specializes in helping others find immediate and sustainable solutions to emerging and urgent issues. McClaurin offers support as an asylum expert witness, leadership consultant and guru, speaker/facilitator, writer/editor, executive coach, researcher/evaluator, and diversity strategist.

McClaurin knows first-hand what it means to lead under fire. She has led institutions through disaster recovery after tornado damages and stepped in to take charge after both the abrupt departure of the provost and president. This has given her experience in managing organizational and culture change, crisis management, diversity audits and conflicts, leadership development, and institutional recovery and stabilization. She uses this first-hand knowledge to support her clients in achieving their goals.

A woman of many talents, McClaurin can speak, comment, and conduct workshops on a variety of topics. She is an activist anthropologist, asylum expert witness, award-winning author, black feminist author and speaker, black feminist archive founder, diversity champion and consultant, executive coach, feminist and social justice poet, free-lance writer and editor, leadership consultant and guru, leadership resilience trainer, professor of anthropology and literature, researcher and evaluator, and a writing coach.

Passion and a deep commitment to social justice have guided Dr. McClaurin through a successful journey as a senior executive, and now she wants to give back by leveraging what she’s learned in her work with clients; she is committed to helping others transform the world and using her unique leadership skill set to be of service to achieve sustainable and transformative results.

Her career spans the sectors of higher education, government, nonprofits and philanthropy, and her leadership background includes serving as Chief Diversity Officer at Teach For America, senior faculty at the Federal Executive Institute (FEI) where she taught leadership education to senior federal executives from agencies like the CIA, Veterans Affairs, NASA, DoD, DOE, and many others. She also was Coordinator and Coach for the four USAID leadership programs at FEI.

Other past positions are president of Shaw University, founding executive director and associate vice president of the University of Minnesota’s first Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), deputy provost at Fisk University, and the Mott Distinguished Chair of Women’s Studies at Bennett College for Women where she founded the Africana Women’s Studies Program.

McClaurin has been awarded tenure twice as an Associate professor of anthropology, and received the following honors: A special award in 2017 for “Vision and Commitment” from the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) and the 2016 “Distinguished Alumni Award” from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

A prolific writer and experienced editor, McClaurin was a free-lance writer and Culture and Education Editor for Insight News of Minneapolis. She penned 78+ columns, and in 2015 earned recognition as “Best Columnist in the Nation” by Black Press of America and first-place recipient of the Emory O. Jackson National Column Writing Award given by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. This made her Insight News’ first and only award-winning writer. In the academic arena, McClaurin’s edited book, Black Feminist Anthropology: Theory, Politics, Praxis and Poetics, was selected as an “Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice Magazine in 2002. Also an accomplished poet, her poetry has appeared in over 16 magazines and anthologies, and are translated into Spanish and Swedish.

Dr. McClaurin is also the founder of the “Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive,” a collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s W.E.B. Du Bois Library Department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) and the W.E.B. Du Bois Center. She now presents nationally on the Archive and recently appeared on abc7 “Here and Now” to talk about her legacy project: (http://abc7ny.com/society/here-and-now-for-january-21-2018-segment-2—black-feminists/2983911/).

This Archive will be a game changer by preserving and showcasing the intellectual and activist contributions of Black Feminists for all eternity.

Who I Am

  • Activist Anthropologist
  • Asylum expert witness
  • Award-winning Author
  • Black feminist author and speaker
  • Black Feminist Archive founder
  • Diversity champion and consultant
  • Executive coach
  • Feminist and social justice poet
  • Free-lance Writer and Editor
  • Leadership consultant and guru
  • Leadership resilience trainer
  • Professor of anthropology and literature
  • Researcher and Evaluator
  • Writing coach

Dr. McClaurin Accepts UMass Distinguished Alumni Award

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