Dr. Tia Brown McNair

Dr. Tia Brown McNair is the Vice President in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Student Success at Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in Washington, DC.  She oversees both funded projects and AAC&U’s continuing programs on equity, inclusive excellence, high-impact educational practices, and student success, including AAC&U’s Network for Academic Renewal series of yearly working conferences.  McNair also directs AAC&U’s Summer Institute on High-Impact Educational Practices and Student Success.

Dr. McNair serves as the project director for several AAC&U initiatives: “Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation,” “Strengthening Completion Pathways and Career Success by Developing Intentional Learning”, “Committing to Equity and Inclusive Excellence: Campus-Based Strategies for Student Success,” and “Purposeful Pathways: Faculty Planning and Curricular Coherence.” She directed AAC&U’s projects on “Advancing Underserved Student Success through Faculty Intentionality in Problem-Centered Learning,” “Advancing Roadmaps for Community College Leadership to Improve Student Learning and Success,” and “Developing a Community College Roadmap. McNair chaired AAC&U’s Equity Working Group that was part of the General Education Maps and Markers (GEMs) project that represented a large-scale, systematic effort to provide “design principles” for 21st-century learning and long-term student success.

She is the lead author of the book Becoming a Student-Ready College: A New Culture of Leadership for Student Success (July 2016). McNair is a co-author on the publication Assessing Underserved Students’ Engagement in High-Impact Practices

Prior to joining AAC&U, McNair served as the Assistant Director of the National College Access Network (NCAN) in Washington, DC. McNair’s previous experience also includes serving as a Social Scientist/Assistant Program Director in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation (NSF), Director of University Relations at the University of Charleston in Charleston, West Virginia; the Statewide Coordinator for the Educational Talent Search Project at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission; and the Interim Associate Director of Admissions and Recruitment Services at West Virginia State University. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at several institutions where she taught first-year English courses. McNair earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and English at James Madison University and holds an M.A. in English from Radford University and a doctorate in higher education administration from George Washington University.

Keynote: Intentionally Approaching Discovery, Innovation, and Experience as Ways of Educating Today’s Student

How can we accelerate broad-scale systemic innovation to advance educational practices that engage diversity and challenge inequities in student outcomes to make excellence inclusive? What are promising strategies for designing educational pathways that emphasize discovery and innovation as fundamental aspects of a high-quality liberal education? How do we articulate and demonstrate the value of experiential learning and student participation in high-impact practices as essential preparation for productive work, life, global citizenship, and an inclusive democracy? Through a discussion of the core elements of AAC&U’s signature initiative, Making Excellence Inclusive as well as lessons learned from national projects, including Committing to Equity and Inclusive Excellence: Campus-Based Strategies for Student Success, participants will explore the necessary steps to reach new heights in shared efforts to advance student learning and success.

Dr. McNair will also be facilitating one of the Concurrent Sessions:
Making Excellence Inclusive and Advancing Educational Equity: A Quality Framework for Experiential Education

The dynamism of higher education is the opportunity to participate in an environment where intellectual diversity is cherished, where a free exchange of ideas is appreciated, and where student diversity is valued. Higher education institutions represent an educational space where inclusion, not exclusion, should thrive. However, this is not always the reality for all students and educators, even though the aspiration is to create educational environments where all participants can achieve their full potential and develop their human gifts. Designing educational experiences that are inclusive and value students’ “cultural wealth” represent an ongoing challenge and an opportunity. This interactive workshop will assist faculty members in the intentional design of high-quality educational experiences that promote student engagement and assets, equity in student outcomes, and learning across differences.


Skip to toolbar