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Dr. Laurence B. Alexander​

Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, a nationally recognized scholar and academic leader, is in his 10th year as Chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a public land-grant research HBCU in an urban setting. After a national search in 2013, Alexander was selected to serve as Chancellor by University of Arkansas System President Donald R. Bobbitt and approved by the Board of Trustees.

Alexander brings more than three decades of combined professional and academic experience as a transformational university leader, administrator, distinguished professor, First Amendment scholar, attorney and journalist. He has fostered excellence across the university through innovation, entrepreneurship, and student-centered approaches and outcomes. Under his leadership, the university has grown in enrollment, achieved remarkable increases in retention and graduation rates, launched several new marketable academic programs, completed reaffirmation of university accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission, reached higher levels of research investment and grant funding, acquired funding for new construction and renovation of capital projects, increased levels of community and statewide engagement, and success in major-gift fundraising and development, including the three largest donations in the university’s history. In that time, UAPB has grown in prominence and national visibility by rising to a Top-20 public HBCU ranking in U.S. News and World Report and to the 11th ranked public university in the Washington Monthly ranking of bachelor’s institutions, which is based on contributions to social mobility, research, and providing opportunities for public service.

This year, Alexander launched a new university strategic planning process. The blueprint for the university’s recent accomplishments was a visionary, collaborative, and inclusive Growing the Pride: 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, which emphasized five priorities: Growing enrollment and fostering student success at the undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. level; optimizing efficiency; upgrading and expanding facilities; diversifying and increasing revenue streams and preparing for a capital campaign; and enhancing the university’s reputation and national visibility. Based on the priorities and values of the strategic plan, Alexander led the university in completing a Campus Master Plan that helped reposition UAPB for large-scale resource development and greater investment in academic programs, faculty development, experiential learning, and a capital program.

 

In 2022, Alexander was appointed by President Joe Biden to serve as Chair of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD), an advisory committee to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that was established to ensure that USAID brings the assets of U.S. universities to bear on development challenges in agriculture and food security and supports their representation in USAID programming. His appointment as BIFAD Chair marks the first time the board is chaired by a leader of an 1890 public land grant university, acknowledging the valuable contributions of HBCUs and presenting opportunity to further strengthen USAID’s partnerships with HBCUs and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). The Board supports USAID’s global commitments in agriculture and food systems through initiatives such as the revised U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy and U.S. Government Global Food Security Research Strategy; responding to climate change; expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion; and strengthening local systems.

Alexander’s academic leadership received additional recognition when he was featured as an Arkansas Business Journal Influencer in Education in 2017. He was also selected for inclusion in the inaugural publication of the 200 Most Influential Leaders by Arkansas Business Publishing Group in 2018, and he was recognized nationally as one of the HBCU Campaign Fund’s 10 Most Dominant HBCU Leaders in 2019.

A native of New Orleans, Alexander earned a bachelor's degree from the University of New Orleans, a master's degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Florida, a Juris Doctor from Tulane University, and he earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Florida State University. His dissertation, Public Forum Doctrine in Higher Education: Student Rights and Institutional Prerogatives, received the national Joseph C. Beckham Dissertation of the Year Award from the Education Law Association.

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