ICI Welcomes new Associate Dean for Research, Innovation, and Community Partnership & Director of SGISD, Dr. S. Tiffany Donaldson

Community Inclusion
3 min readSep 21, 2023
A portrait of a Black woman in her 50s with shoulder-length, curly, dark brown hair smiling at the camera.

As an institute within the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development (SGISD), we are deeply honored and excited to announce that Dr. S. Tiffany Donaldson will begin her new role in the College of Education and Human Development as Associate Dean for Research, Innovation, and Community Partnerships and Director of the School for SGISD this fall! Dr. Donaldson joins us from UMass Boston, where she served as Professor of Psychology in the Psychology Department and Honors College for the past 26 years.

In 1993, Dr. Donaldson received her PhD with Distinction in Psychology from Northeastern University with concentrations in Neuroscience and Psychopharmacology. In her two-and-a-half-decade tenure at UMass Boston, Dr. Donaldson has led initiatives focused on anti-racist practices and developed expertise in three main areas:

1. Securing funding to support Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) research trainees. Dr. Donaldson has led many National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded initiatives that have trained BIPOC and Deaf and hard of hearing scholars who are traditionally underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. She secured funding from the Department of Education and from various foundations to operate a multi-summer, hands-on Science Literacy Camp at low- to no-cost for BIPOC students in Boston Public Schools. She was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Service for this outreach.

2. Training faculty on anti-racist mentorship practices. Dr. Donaldson has trained over 250 undergraduates and has trained/co-mentored more than 10 graduate students. She received training from the NIH-funded National Research Mentoring Network as a Mentor Trainer in 2016. Since that time, she has hosted mentor training sessions across UMass Boston, the Commonwealth, and for multiple nationwide public and private institutions promoting evidence-based mentoring practices for the social and behavioral and biomedical sciences, emphasizing anti-racist and reflective diversity and equity practices. She was also recently awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching for her commitment and dedication to mentoring students and faculty.

3. Conducting community-engaged participatory research on evidence-based interventions in BIPOC communities. Dr. Donaldson has encouraged a broader view of health career trajectory for BIPOC students at UMass Boston, including public health and community based participatory research in their communities. As the co-director of the Outreach Core of the U54 UMass Boston Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Partnership, Dr. Donaldson has worked in Lawrence, MA and around greater Boston with community- and faith-based organizations to adapt evidenced-based interventions to address inequities in cancer burden. In these settings, she has trained UMass Boston undergraduates in using community-based participatory research principles. She also helped to develop a Science Café format to share science outside of the academy to foster relationships and connections in the community.

As SGISD’s new Director, Dr. Donaldson aspires to learn more through conversations and shared spaces to support the existing work and to encourage further inclusion of marginalized BIPOC communities in this ongoing work. Dr. Donaldson has collaborated with graduate students, faculty, and staff from SGISD on NIH and National Cancer Institute-funded participatory action research in BIPOC communities. Through these partnerships and collaborations, she has learned about research and the global and inclusive work of SGISD programs, the Asian American Studies Program, the Institute for New England Native American Studies, and the ICI.

Dr. Donaldson is impressed with the anti-racist work the SGISD community has begun and the commitment to diversity and inclusion. She is excited to highlight the research, community partnerships, and innovation of SGISD, and partner to extend the work.

Welcome, Dr. S. Tiffany Donaldson!

Learn more about Dr. Donaldson and her work in UMass Boston’s Behavioral Psychopharmacology Neuroscience Lab.

Read Dr. Donaldson’s research publications.

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Community Inclusion

The Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities in school, work, health care and community activities.