​This message was sent to faculty and staff by the Provost on June 28, 2022. 

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that Leslie Ashburn-Nardo, PhD, has been appointed professor of psychology and inaugural Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, effective September 1. An internationally recognized social psychologist with expertise in diversity science, Leslie will collaboratively lead DEI work across the Office of the Provost and academic and research operations. Partnering with Drexel's Chief Diversity Officer, colleges and schools and Provost's Office team, she will bolster DEI work related to the University's Strategic Plan, the commitments of the Anti-Racism Task Force report and other campus-wide efforts to build a diverse, equitable and welcoming campus community.

Leslie joins Drexel following her 19-year tenure at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), where she is a professor of psychology, founding director of the Applied Social and Organizational Psychology doctoral program, director of the Industrial/Organizational Psychology master’s program, and a diversity and inclusion faculty fellow in IUPUI’s Office of Academic Affairs. She also served as co-chair of the IUPUI School of Science’s 2021-2026 DEI Strategic Plan Task Force.

Leslie has received 20+ years of continuous funding for her research program identifying and combating social inequalities based on race, gender and other minoritized social identities, from sources such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. She has also conducted contract work for the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Broadly, Leslie offers expertise in diversity as it pertains to STEM disciplines and health outcomes, areas that strongly align with Drexel’s Strategic Plan. She has made significant contributions in the area of prejudice confrontation, an empirically supported strategy for reducing biases, and was the first, along with her collaborators, to model psychological obstacles to confrontation. Another major aim of her research program is identifying biases and removing barriers for minoritized people within academia.

As a diversity and inclusion faculty fellow, Leslie supported efforts to recruit and retain historically underrepresented faculty and increase diverse representation of graduate students in the academic pipeline. She helped develop a hiring toolkit for faculty and staff searches — using evidence-based practices covering the span of organizational diversity — and developed an online onboarding module for new faculty on contributing to an inclusive campus climate.

Professor Ashburn-Nardo has received numerous accolades for her teaching and mentorship, including IUPUI’s Alvin S. Bynum Award for Excellence in Academic Mentoring and Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Multicultural Teaching. As a faculty associate in IUPUI’s STEM Education Innovation and Research Institute, she educated colleagues on the value of inclusive teaching practices for all students. She also created a foundational undergraduate DEI course, “Ethics and Diversity in Psychology,” which is required for hundreds of IUPUI psychology majors annually.  

Leslie is a Fellow in several societies including the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, an Editorial Board member of three journals, and a frequent reviewer of grant proposals for the National Science Foundation. She received her PhD in Experimental (Social) Psychology from the University of Kentucky and previously served as a visiting scholar at Rice University.

We are excited to welcome Leslie to Drexel and look forward to building on her expertise in driving organizational change to advance the University's anti-racism and DEI goals. I want to sincerely thank our Chief Diversity Officer Kim Gholston and Senior Vice Provost Erin McNamara Horvat for co-chairing this search and express my gratitude to the search committee for their time and dedication to the search.

Please join me in welcoming and supporting Leslie in her new role in September.


Paul E. Jensen
Executive Vice President
Nina Henderson Provost