Darris Means, an assistant professor in the department of counseling and human development services, was recently selected as an Emerging Scholar Designee by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), a comprehensive student affairs organization that engages students in learning and discovery.
The Emerging Scholars Program supports, encourages and honors early-career individuals who are emerging as contributors to higher education scholarship and are pursuing research initiatives that align with the mission, interests and strategic goals of the organization.
"Being named an ACPA Emerging Scholar Designee is also about recognizing the educational experiences of black and African American gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer and same-gender loving students," said Means. "These student populations are central to my work and are often overlooked and ignored when it comes to enhancing educational policy and practice."
In addition to receiving a $3,000 research grant from ACPA to fund an empirical investigation, Means will undertake two leadership commitments, including serving on the editorial board for the Journal of College Student Development, a premier research journal focused on college students, and participating in an ACPA-sponsored video-recorded presentation.
Means' research is focused on social justice, student affairs and the educational experiences and outcomes of students who participate in college access and preparation programs. These programs intend to increase access to and persistence in higher education for students with financial need or no family history of college.
"My own family background and social identities inspire my passion for research on diversity, equity and inclusion in K-12 and higher education," said Means. "This recognition provides a community of early career scholars from across the U.S. who can support and challenge me as I continue to work with students, researchers and practitioners on improving campus environments, policy and programs."
Means is the current director of research for ACPA's Coalition for LGBT Awareness and has been involved with the organization for over 10 years.