Shawn Ricks

Appalachian State University announces Shawn Ricks as the new chair of the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies.

BOONE — Shawn Ricks was recently named the chair of the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies in Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education.

Ricks’ appointment began in July. About her goals for the department, Ricks said, “I am excited about exploring options for collaboration with other departments and the community, as well as the creative ways Leadership and Educational Studies can best prepare students for a variety of leadership roles in response to our rapidly changing national landscape.”

Ricks comes to Appalachian from Salem College in Winston-Salem, where she served as assistant vice president of equity, diversity and inclusion. She has also served as an associate professor of counseling and human services at Old Dominion University and as chair and associate professor of human service studies at Winston-Salem State University.

“Appalachian is well-known and respected for its ability to create community, develop leaders and foster innovative thought,” Ricks said. “I am excited to be part of a community that forefronts issues of social justice and equity, and is committed to graduating well-rounded global citizens.”

Ricks added that her first impression of App State was from a parent’s perspective, as her daughter graduated from the university in 2010.

“As a parent, sending her first ‘baby’ to school, I was impressed by the care and professionalism of the faculty and staff,” Ricks said. “She has great memories of her time at Appalachian and loves her alma mater.”

Ricks earned a Ph.D. in educational leadership and cultural foundations from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She also holds an M.Ed. in counselor education and a B.A. in African and African American studies, both from Pennsylvania State University. Her research centers on the mental health and wellness of Black women in higher education; racial trauma and education; and living and learning in a “post-racial” America.

Prior to moving to North Carolina 20 years ago, Ricks — a Philadelphia native — lived in Boulder, Colo. She loves reading and tennis, and she is beginning to dabble in yoga.

When asked to share something interesting about herself, Ricks said, “My dad is a twin, his mom was a twin and I have twin siblings; it’s supposed to skip generations — I know.”

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