Dr. Donna J. Nicol

Donna Nicol

Department Chair

Contact Information
La Corte Hall, B-312

Dr. Donna J. Nicol is currently the Chair of the Africana Studies Department at California State University Dominguez Hills. She joined the faculty at CSUDH as an associate professor in 2017 and was promoted to full professor in 2021. She earned her doctorate degree in Educational Studies (with a specialization in History and Philosophy of Higher Education and a graduate minor in African American and African Studies) from The Ohio State University in 2007. Dr. Nicol was the 2021 recipient of the Faculty Excellence in Service Award at CSU Dominguez Hills.

Dr. Nicol’s research focuses on the history of racism and sexism within U.S. higher education, with a specialization in race and conservative philanthropy and the history of African American women’s educational activism. Her work has been published in Race, Ethnicity and Education, The Feminist Teacher (twice), History of Philanthropy, Palimpsest: A Journal of Women, Gender and the Black International, The Encyclopedia of American Women’s History, Encyclopedia of Multiracial America and an edited volume of Habitus of the Hood. In February 2021, Dr. Nicol was a featured guest expert for the Al Jazeera English documentary, The Big Picture: A Race for America. Dr. Nicol has also published opinion columns for Al Jazeera Digital and has appeared on the Insufferable Academics podcast, the Fresh Off the Vote podcast, and the Peace and Justice Radio Show. She is a sought-after anti-racism and racial equity trainer for governmental, corporate and non-profit organizations. Her book manuscript, Black Woman on Board: Dr. Claudia Hampton, The California State University System and the Fight to Save Affirmative Action, 1974-1994 is under advanced contract with the University of Rochester Press.

Prior to becoming an academic, Dr. Nicol spent three years teaching secondary language arts and social studies for Los Angeles Unified School District and seven years in various academic administrative roles at Mt. St. Mary's College and The Ohio State University. Dr. Nicol has previously taught African American History, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Race in U.S. History, U.S. Women’s History and Women’s Studies at Cal State Fullerton, Mt. St. Mary’s College, Coastline Community College and American Military University. She is a life member of the Association of Black Women’s Historians (ABWH) and member of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and served on the Program Committee for the Historical Society of Southern California (HSSC).

Recent Publications

Donna J. Nicol, (Volume 10, Issue 2, November 2021). “Chairing as Self-Care: Strategies for Combating the Cultural Identity Taxation Trap for Black Women Chairs (Special Issue on Black Women Department Chairs Discuss Academic Service, Leadership and Balance) Palimpsest: A Journal of Women, Gender and the Black International.

Donna J. Nicol, “Activism for Profit: America’s Anti-Affirmative Action Industry” Al Jazeera Digital, February 2021.

Donna J. Nicol and Jennifer A. Yee, (April 2019). "On Reclaiming Our Time", University of Illinois Press Blog

Donna J. Nicol and Jennifer A. Yee. 2017. “Reclaiming Our Time: Women of Color Faculty and Radical Self-Care”, Feminist Teacher (Special Issue on Learning to Teach: Women of Color Reflect on Graduate School Pedagogical Praxis). 27, no. 2-3, 133-156.

Work in Progress:

Black Woman on Board: Claudia Hampton, The California State University and the Fight to Save Affirmative Action, 1974-1994 (Under Contract with The University of Rochester Press)

Recent Media/Talks/Workshops:
  • Featured Guest, Topic: Critical Race Theory, Peace and Justice Show (KZFR 90.1 FM Chico), July 2021.
  • Invited Panelist, Valuing Black Womxn’s Work, International Women’s Day Conference, California State University Fullerton, March 2021.
  • Featured Guest Speaker, “Black Woman on Board: Claudia Hampton, the California State University System and the Fight to Save Affirmative Action”, for the California State University Channel Island Ethnic Studies Speaker Series, February 18, 2021 (via Zoom).
  • Featured Guest Expert, The Big Picture: A Race for America (Race and Philanthropy), Al Jazeera Network, February 2021.
  • Panelist, “City of Los Angeles: African American Heritage Month Scholar Roundtable Discussion on the Black Family” Hosted by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Commissioner Mike Davis, February 4, 2021 (via Zoom).
  • Featured Guest Speaker, “Counter-Race Philanthropy in U.S. Higher Education”, City University of London Webinar Series on U.S. Think Tanks and Foundations in World Power: The Nexus of Knowledge and Power, November 13, 2020 (via Zoom).
  • Featured Guest with Dr. Jennifer Yee, “Self-Care” Fresh Off the Vote Podcast, September 28, 2020.
Additional Service Roles
  • Africana Studies Department Co-Advisor
  • Africana Studies Department Representative on CSUDH Academic Senate
  • Co-Chair, Presidential Cabinet Task Force on Anti-Racism in the Academy, 2020-Present
  • Chair, Africana Studies Tenure Track Faculty Search, 2020
  • Co-Chair, Black History Month Planning Committee, 2020-Present
  • Campus Coordinator, 21st Annual Ebonics Conference, 2019
  • Faculty Advocate, Campus Awareness, Response and Education Team (CARE), 2019-2021
  • Asian Pacific Studies Faculty Search Committee, 2018-2019
  • Chicana and Chicano Studies Personnel Committee, Spring 2019
  • Co-Chair, Black History Month Planning Committee, 2019