Na’ilah Nasir once wanted to be a first–grade teacher, and she ended up as President of the Spencer Foundation – the country’s largest foundation dedicated solely to education research.
Along the way, she served on the faculty in the Education Department at Stanford, she was chair of the African American Studies Department at UC Berkeley (go Bears!), and she went on to be Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion there. She still holds a faculty appointment in Education and African American Studies at Berkeley.
Na’ilah has been shaking up the academy for years, and as President of the Spencer Foundation, she is helping to make sure that education research serves the students who would benefit most.
With humor and candor and a true sense of delight, Na’ilah talks with Eric about her career path, how she’s using communications to advance the work of the Spencer Foundation, and how she’s trying to change the traditional structures in the academic world.