Dave S.P. Thomas, a candidate for the PhD in Higher Education in the University of Kent’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education, has been inducted into the American Association of Colleges and Universities Future Leaders Society 2022. Dave was invited to join the Society because he was a finalist for the prestigious K. Patricia Cross Award, which recognises graduate students who “show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education and who are committed to academic innovation in the areas of equity, community engagement, and teaching and learning.” Each year, the award attracts hundreds of nominations from across disciplines. Dave is the only student from a university outside of the USA to be selected this year.
Since he began his part-time doctoral studies in 2017, Dave has amassed an exceptional record of achievements including: engagement of student and staff communities at the University of Kent through the Decolonise UKC initiative and the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Staff Network; local community engagement that strengthened connections between African and Caribbean heritage residents in the Medway region and the University of Kent; research on race equality and enhancing teaching and learning in higher education, particularly for minoritised students and; service across the UK higher education sector on race equality. During his doctorate, he contributed as a student success professional at the University of Kent before recently taking up appointments as a Senior Advisor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Advance HE and Associate Lecturer in the Kent and Medway Medical School.
Professor Richard Reese, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Education and Student Experience says, “It is excellent news that Dave’s substantial accomplishments have been recognised. He will be able to exchange expertise with American colleagues on this very important aspect of higher education as he continues to grow as a leader in HE here in the UK.”