VUU appoints Dr. Ahkinyala Cobb-Abdullah as Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences


July 19, 2022

[RICHMOND – July 15, 2022] – Virginia Union University announces new leaders in its academic and administrative teams.

“Accomplished people build top universities,” said Dr. Hakim J. Lucas, President and CEO. “Virginia Union University welcomes new, experienced leaders who are doing great things and who will help propel us toward our goal of becoming best-in-class.”

Dr. Ahkinyala Cobb-Abdullah is Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Cobb-Abdullah worked in higher education for more than 15 years before joining the faculty at Virginia Union University in 2016 as an associate professor of environmental science and ecology. In 2018, Dr. Cobb-Abdullah was appointed to serve as the founding Director of the VUU Center for STEM Diversity. She serves as a research mentor for undergraduate and graduate students across the center. Through her work as PI of the NSF-funded S-STEM Grant, Community Culture Research Fellowship Program, she provides scholarships, mentors STEM students, conducts a series of career seminars, and collaborates with the Department of Natural Sciences to host a STEM exhibit, which showcases an undergraduate student’s research. She is also co-principal investigator on several research projects, notably in collaboration with Florida A&M University.

Cobb-Abdullah’s work with VUU’s Green Team helps bring programs, such as Earth Day celebrations and the RVA Environmental Film Festival, to VUU. She manages the Virginia Union University Greenhouse in conjunction with staff from the Department of Natural Sciences and VUU facilities staff. She facilitated partnerships with community urban gardeners and plant education workshops in the VUU greenhouse. In partnership with community organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers, Girl Scouts of America, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Renew Richmond, and the Richmond Math and Science Center, Dr. Cobb-Abdullah works to facilitate opportunities for students by VUU.

Dr. Cobb-Abdullah holds a BS in Biology from Tuskegee University and an MS in Molecular Biology and PhD in Environmental Science from Florida A&M University. She is a Higher Education Leadership Fellow, member of the advisory board of SEM Link, Inc., member of the board of directors of the Virginia Women’s Network of the American Council on Education, devoted wife and proud mother of two children.


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