Faculty News

Shaun Harper and Royel Johnson named Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility Visionaries by the Los Angeles Times

Distinguished honor recognizes leaders from across Southern California for their dedication to equity and advocacy across industries.

By Ellen Evaristo Published on

USC Rossier University Professor Shaun Harper and Associate Professor Royel Johnson have been named 2023 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility ("DEIA") Visionaries by Los Angeles Times B2B Publishing.

DEIA Visionaries were selected “based on submissions of hundreds of nominated DEIA professionals and experts” and consist of “the most prominent game changers and thought leaders in the business world today.” According to the Los Angeles Times, the visionaries’ work has inspired Southern California and beyond as they continue to provide guidance to their own organizations and the business community. The publication shared brief profiles for each honoree highlighting their careers and recent successes.

“Being highlighted by one of our nation’s most well-known media outlets is a serious honor,” said Harper. “I am grateful that the recognition is for work I do every day in my fearless pursuit of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. Accolades are nice, but the actualization of my visions for DEIA and justice in our society, its educational institutions and its workplaces would be even more fulfilling. I will keep working in the meantime.”

Harper is Provost Professor of Education, Business and Public Policy, the Clifford and Betty Allen Chair in Urban Leadership and the USC Race and Equity Center founder and executive director. In addition to advising CEOs and leaders on DEI strategy, Harper teaches courses on DEIA in his three academic schools at USC. For the past two decades, he has worked with more than 400 companies, agencies and institutions spanning an array of industries. In addition to his prolific research, Harper’s unwavering commitment to equity earned him numerous awards and recognition as one of the nation’s most influential professors in the field of education.

“I am honored to be recognized as a DEIA visionary alongside my fellow honorees, all of whom are making significant strides in enhancing material workplace conditions for underrepresented groups,” said Johnson. “As attacks on DEI continue to mount, the importance of our work is only heightened. In the face of these challenges, I am more determined than ever to push forward, ensuring diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility remain at the forefront of our collective agenda.”

Johnson is a tenured faculty member with a joint appointment in the USC Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. He chairs the PhD in Education program at USC Rossier and is faculty member in USC Pullias Center for Higher Education. In addition, he directs the National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates (NACCC) in the USC Race and Equity Center, which is the nation’s leading tool for assessing campus racial climate for faculty, staff and students. A nationally-recognized DEI scholar, consultant and speaker, Johnson works with numerous campuses and organizations to study and advise on issues related to campus and workplace climate, and organizational change for racial equity. For his significant and sustained contributions to his field, ACPA—College Educators International recently named him a 2024 Diamond Honoree.

Harvard Education Press is publishing Johnson’s and Harper’s newest book, The Big Lie About Race in America’s Schools, in summer 2024.

“Congratulations to our esteemed colleagues on receiving the DEIA Visionary honor,” said USC Rossier Dean Pedro Noguera. “Shaun and Royel’s dedication to creating an inclusive and welcoming work environment is inspiring. Thank you for your outstanding work and congratulations once again on this well-deserved honor.”

USC Rossier is at the forefront of equity and more importantly educational equity. Last year, USC Rossier launched the USC Rossier Education Equity Initiative building on the school’s focus on educational equity from the earliest grades through college. The Initiative connects the research expertise of the school’s faculty with the work students and alumni are doing in the field. To learn more, visit USC Rossier Education Equity Initiative

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