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Dr. Cynthia Spence


Spelman College

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Dr. Cynthia Neal Spence is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Spelman College and Director of the UNCF/Mellon Programs. Her teaching and research interests in the areas of sociology, criminology, law and social justice and violence against women support the Law and Criminology concentration in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.  Her interest in issues of higher education access, service-learning, criminal justice reform, gender role socialization and violence against women frame her research, writing, community service involvement and public speaking. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission, she served as a co-author of   “How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Black Riots and Civil Disorders vs White Rejection and Protest.”  


Dr. Spence also serves as the Director of the Spelman College Social Justice Fellows Program.  The Social Justice Program is a living and learning community program that attempts to match students’ intellectual interests with their social justice advocacy passions. She is committed to helping Spelman women fully actualize their commitment to “making a choice to change the world” through social justice advocacy.   Dr. Spence serves as the Director of the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center, an initiative sponsored by the American Association of Colleges and Universities.


As Director of the UNCF/Mellon Programs, Dr. Spence creates, manages and oversees a suite of future faculty development and faculty career enhancement programs for UNCF (United Negro College Fund) students and faculty.  Under her leadership, students are groomed to enter the Ph.D. pipeline and faculty throughout the UNCF consortium are supported in their development as teachers and scholars.  The UNCF/Mellon Programs  are headquartered at Spelman College.


She has served as consultant for the Ford Foundation Institutional Transformation Project, the University of Chicago Provost Initiative on Minority Affairs, the Agnes Scott College Center for Teaching and Learning  and the Georgia Department of Corrections.  She completed a two term appointment as Faculty Trustee on the Spelman College Board of Trustees and is the former chair of the Board of the non-profit agency Men Stopping Violence and former Chair of the Board of Directors of Georgia Women for Change (now the Women’s Policy and Advocacy Group of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta). She is a Founding Member of the Women’s Solidarity Society for the Center for Civil and Human Rights.


Dr. Spence has served in the capacities of Assistant Dean for Freshman Studies, Associate Academic Dean and Academic Dean at Spelman College. She is a graduate of Spelman College and earned both the Masters and Ph. D. degrees in Criminal Justice with a special concentration in law from Rutgers University.

Dr. Spence is a graduate of Spelman College where she earned her B.A. degree. She earned both the Masters and Ph.D. degrees from Rutgers University

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