Dr. Donna J. Nicol is an Associate Professor and Chair of Africana Studies at California State University Dominguez Hills. Africana Studies, at CSUDH, is a dynamic multi-disciplinary curriculum exploring the global African diaspora experience in history, art and literature and the social sciences.

Dr. Donna J. Nicol

Donna Nicol

College of Arts & Humanities

Department of Africana Studies

Chair and Associate Professor


Dr. Donna J. Nicol is currently an Associate Professor and Chair of Africana Studies at California State University Dominguez Hills.

Dr. Nicol earned her doctorate degree in Social and Cultural Foundations of Higher Education from The Ohio State University (with a specialization in African American higher educational history and a graduate minor in African American Studies) in 2007. Prior to coming to Dominguez Hills, she was the first woman of color to be promoted and tenured in Women's Studies at CSU Fullerton. She worked in higher education administration for nearly a decade prior to joining the faculty ranks.

Dr. Nicol’s primary research interest focuses on the role that political forces outside of the university (namely philanthropic foundations and boards of trustees) have on African Americans’ access to and success in public higher education institutions. She has written and presented several papers on the historical and contemporary uses and abuses of philanthropy in American higher education as it pertains to attempts to eliminate Africana Studies and other ethnic studies programs in the United States. 

Her secondary field of interest centers on African American women as faculty and educational leaders and the ways they must wrestle with a specific type of “cultural-identity taxation” which affects not only their ability to be successful teachers, scholars and university administrators but also affects the quality of their personal lives, health and general well-being. 

Her research appears in Race, Ethnicity and Education, The Feminist Teacher, Habitus of the 'Hood.  She has presented academic papers at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History Annual Meeting, Midwest Popular Culture Association Meeting, the California American Studies Association and the 40th Anniversary of the SFSU Strike for Ethnic Studies and the Oxford University (England) Women's Leadership Symposium. Dr. Nicol is also a life member of the Association of Black Women Historians.