Following an extensive national search, Philander Smith College (PSC) has announced that Tamika S. Edwards, J.D., has been selected to lead the College’s Social Justice Institute. The appointment, which makes Edwards the second Executive Director in the Institute’s history, will begin September 4.
Established by Philander Smith College in 2007, the Social Justice Institute is the central incubator for the College’s focus on its mission to “graduate academically accomplished students, grounded as advocates for social justice….” In recent years, the Social Justice Institute has been inspired to rethink
and re-imagine its approach to justice-driven education. With a newly broadened scope, the Social Justice Institute has reorganized with the intent of making a greater impact not only locally, but also regionally and nationwide.
“We are thrilled that Tamika Edwards is joining us to lead the critical work of the Social Justice Institute, the heart and soul of the campus culture at Philander Smith College. We are confident in her tremendous ability and experience in bringing people together to help enact meaningful change.
Furthermore, her passion for addressing policies that breed inequality will help to elevate the Social Justice Institute’s status as a regional center and resource for justice work,” said PSC President Roderick L. Smothers, Sr.
A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Edwards has nearly twenty years of experience in public policy and community development. Most recently, she served as Director of Governmental Affairs at Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) where she led the development and execution of the organization’s legislative strategy. Prior to AACF, she was Director of Public Policy at Southern Bancorp Community Partners and previously served as Community Affairs Specialist in the Office of U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln.
“I am beyond excited about the opportunity to lead the courageous work of the Social Justice Institute,” said Edwards, continuing, “As we move forward on a bold new path, the Social Justice Institute will strive to train advocates who are willing to challenge the lack of fair and just relations in our society and recognize the public policies that contribute to inequitable systems. I look forward to working with the amazing students, talented faculty and staff, as well as our entire community, to address the conditions and public policies that contribute to social injustice.”
Edwards earned the Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), the Master’s Degree in Professional and Technical Writing from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), and the Juris Doctor from the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law. In addition to serving in numerous community leadership roles, she is a contributor to Talk Business and Politics, a news website that covers business, politics, and culture throughout Arkansas. In 2017, she was recognized in the inaugural edition of The Arkansas 200, published by Arkansas Business, as a leader “who influences the way we live, learn and do business in the state.”
With its most recent activities and events—to include a refreshed brand and look, to its Law and Justice Summit for local leaders, to its first-ever two-day ‘JusticeCon2018’ convening targeted at awakening and nurturing social justice activism in students—the Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College is poised to become a global leader in justice education by inspiring and equipping students, thought-leaders, activists and community members to tackle the work of combatting inequity. More information about the Social Justice Institute can be found at www.rethinksocialjustice.org.