Faculty Profile: Dr. Crystal Chambers

Name: Crystal R. Chambers

Title: Professor

Department: Educational Leadership

Hometown: New Windsor, New York

Colleges attended and degrees: Spelman (BA), UVA Law (JD), UVA Education (PhD)

Years working at ECU: 15

What do you love about ECU?

Great people who are passionate about educating their students and making a difference in ENC and the world.

What are your research interests?

I love inquiring into people coming to and through academia. This includes students through my college choice work and my work on faculty examining race, gender, and intersectionality in faculty experiences generally as well as reappointment, promotion, and tenure processes.

What is your favorite course you have taught/currently teach?

Law and Governance in Higher Education

What drew you to Educational Leadership and, in particular, the Higher Education area?

From the time I was ten, I wanted to be a lawyer but in my last year of undergrad, I had a professor tell me that I would do fine in law school but that I would hate it. She was right. During my last year of law school I reconnected to my interests, my passions, and at my core, I am concerned about disparate access to educational opportunities. I worked on a symposium that year entitled Equal Education under the Law which exposed me to issues of school finance as well as deepened understandings of desegregation and affirmative action in the education context K-16. From here, my interest in college choice arises.

What is the most interesting element to you about teaching Higher Education?

I think my students are the most interesting elements. They each come from a different set of backgrounds as practicing higher education administrators in two and four year, public and private, minority serving and predominantly white institutions. Together with our core curriculum students forge a sense of praxis across institutional contexts with the ultimate goal of helping their students achieve. I love that I educate achievers who help others to achieve.

What are your current research projects?

I am currently finishing my Carnegie Project inquiry into the college choices of rural students. I am also a part of THRIVE@ECU, An NSF ADVANCE Adaptation Grant designed to facilitate institutional transformation towards a climate that is inclusive of, celebrates, promotes, and advances the leadership of women in academe, especially those in STEM fields. Within this project I am currently analyzing baseline data of faculty attitudes and beliefs, experiences and witness of discrimination, as well as perceptions of institutional support related to race/ethnicity, gender and gender identity, as well as sexuality.

I am incredibly excited about this initiative. Our website with events and information for the entire campus will be available soon at https://thrive.ecu.edu/ .