Emory University has named Ashley L. Brown, EdD, as inaugural associate dean of students, effective Feb. 1. Brown brings a decade of experience in social justice education and student engagement to this role. She will report to Dr. Kristina Bethea Odejimi, associate vice president for belonging, engagement and community and dean of students.


As associate dean of students, Brown will guide the strategic direction of Belonging and Community Justice (BCJ), which encompasses Emory’s six student identity spaces: Asian Student Center; Centro Latinx; Emory Black Student Union; Emory First, which includes 1915 Scholars and Emory QuestBridge; Center for Women; and Office of LGBT Life. Brown will lead development of the vision for the identity spaces, creating opportunities to engage students around belonging and community concepts. She will also work closely with the Dean of Students to collectively assess and enrich the student experience in ways that empower all students to flourish, promoting their persistence to graduation and cementing lifelong connections to the Emory community.

“Ashley is a great fit for the position and an outstanding addition to Campus Life’s team,” said Odejimi. “She brings a profound understanding of, and sensitivity to, the complexities that our undergraduate, graduate and professional students encounter in their daily lives. Just as important, Ashley has a deep knowledge of best practices for delivering the exceptional support that helps ensure that Emory students flourish.”

“I am thrilled and honored to join the Emory community in this inaugural role,” said Brown. “As a restorative practitioner, I’m deeply commitment to co-creating a vibrant, polycultural community of students who are empowered to be their full, authentic selves while remaining grounded in values of cultural humility and fostering socially just practices. The fact I get to be a part of something new and groundbreaking at Emory is incredibly exciting.”


Strong background in social justice and student engagement

Most recently, Brown served with Vanderbilt University as senior director for Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and led the Student Center for Social Justice and Identity (SCSJI). In these roles, she provided counsel on EDI-related matters to the associate dean for EDI and the vice provost for student affairs/dean of students. She also supported strategic planning and implementation of initiatives focused on the needs of students, faculty, staff, post-doctoral scholars, and the local Nashville community.

Brown created the award-winning IgniteVU program, a diversity, equity, and inclusion education initiative that improved Greek-affiliated students’ intercultural awareness, competence, and skills by 83 percent. The program boosted student engagement in SCSJI training by 79 percent.

Brown also fostered new strategic partnerships with several Vanderbilt graduate schools, which committed to regular SCSJI workshops for all students in their respective schools.

Before joining Vanderbilt, Brown was assistant director in housing for Georgia State University (GSU), where she led a cross-functional team that designed and implemented Ubuntu, an inclusion program for all full-time housing staff. Brown also pioneered the first GSU housing study-abroad trip for a group of students and staff to Luxembourg to present at an international conference, publish scholarship, and conduct research.

Brown holds a EdD in student affairs leadership from the University of Georgia, master’s in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University, and bachelor’s in public administration from Texas State University. The recipient of multiple professional awards, she has held leadership roles in the student affairs professional associations including NASPA and ACPA.

When she is not working, Brown enjoys hiking to explore waterfalls, attending concerts, traveling, and binge watching tv and movies with her dog Lucy.