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Academic Affairs Taps Sparkman-Key as Director of Faculty Diversity and Retention

By Noell Saunders

Narketta Sparkman-Key, associate professor for counseling and human services Old Dominion University, recently was named director of faculty diversity and retention in Academic Affairs.

Sparkman-Key will work to enhance relationships with programs graduating diverse teaching and research faculty, and assist search committees and mentors to recruit, facilitate success and retain a diverse faculty. Her team is creating a website that will highlight affinity groups, faculty diversity leaders, diversity-focused events and inclusive excellence.

"The college faculty diversity leaders and I are confident that Dr. Sparkman-Key will provide transformational leadership to Academic Affairs in recruiting and retaining outstanding diverse faculty," said Kate Hawkins, vice provost for Faculty Affairs and Strategic Initiatives.

Sparkman-Key holds a doctorate in human services from Capella University, a master's in liberal studies, interdisciplinary studies from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, a bachelor's in sociology from Madonna University, a HS-BCP (Human Services Board-Certified Practitioner) designation and a certificate in global health and college teaching.

"My goal is to leverage our resources, develop new programs that foster a more inclusive environment and work hand in hand with colleagues around campus to garner insight on our progress toward inclusive excellence," Sparkman-Key said. "We want to constantly enhance our efforts."

Among other roles, she is an award-winning international speaker, adolescent suicide expert and a published researcher of vulnerable populations.

Sparkman-Key's research focus is geared toward further defining the professional identity of human services practitioners and delineating practice with diverse populations.

She has been recognized for her accomplishments by the National Organization of Human Services, as well as by former students, who nominated her as their "Most Inspiring Faculty." She also was nominated by the Urban League of Hampton Roads as a Community Leader in Education and by the YWCA of South Hampton Roads as a Woman of Distinction in Research and the Sciences. In 2016, Sparkman-Key was named an Inside Business Top 40 Under 40 and received the President Broderick Award for Diversity and Inclusion.

She has partnered with Union Mission Ministries, Strong Willed Survivors, ForKids, Portsmouth Social Services and Lambert's Point Community Center to provide STEAM camps and empowerment workshops. Internationally, Sparkman-Key works with the University of West Indies Montego Bay, Montego Bay Community College and the Women's Centre Foundation to empower teens and provide training for the community.

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