Deniece Dortch

Deniece Dortch
Assistant Professor, Higher Education Administration
(202) 994-6853

Dr. Deniece Dortch’s research and teaching grapples with systemic oppression across multiple axes. She uses critical phenomenological approaches to understanding how African American undergraduate and graduate students experience and respond to race and racism at predominantly white institutions of higher education. Dr. Dortch studies the socialization of undergraduate and graduate students of color. She is especially interested in how psychological violence and fear is experienced, manifested and reproduced in the academy. Her most recent projects explore intra-racial relationships, racial agency and their effects on persistence in higher education.

Dr. Dortch’s publications address topics such as the self-efficacy of graduate students and the sense of belonging of undergraduate students of color at predominantly white institutions. Prior to joining the faculty at George Washington University, Dr. Dortch was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Utah where she created the African American Doctoral Scholar’s Initiative, a comprehensive mentoring program focused on graduate student socialization into the academy. A former Program Director at Texas AM University, Dr. Dortch also co-founded Sista to Sista, a co-curricular leadership development program designed to foster a sense of connectedness amongst Black female college athletes. Dr. Dortch is a returned United States Peace Corps Volunteer who served in both Morocco and Jamaica.

She earned her Ph.D. in Higher & Postsecondary Education Leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an Ed.M. in Higher & Postsecondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Intercultural Service, Leadership & Management from the School for International Training in Vermont and a B.A. from Eastern Michigan University.

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison
Ed.M., Teachers College, Columbia University
M.A., School for International Training in Vermont
B.A., Eastern Michigan University


Campbell, C., & Dortch, D. (in-press). Reconsidering academic rigor: Posing and supporting rigorous course practices at two research institutions. Teachers College Record.

Dortch, D., & Patel, C. (2017). Black undergraduate women and their sense of belonging in STEM at predominantly white institutions. NASPA Journal About Women in Higher Education, 1-14.

Carter-Francique, Dortch, D., & Carter-Phiri, K. (2017). Black female college athletes’ perception of power in sport and society. Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education, 11(1), 1-25.

Dortch, D. (2016). The strength from within: A phenomenological study examining the academic self-efficacy of African American women in doctoral studies. The Journal of Negro Education, 85(3), 350-364.

In the News

Dr. Deniece Dortch participated in a webinar discussion with scholars on the manner in which race, the intercollegiate athletic enterprise, and the system of higher education intersect to impact Black student-athletes’ experiences. Click here to watch a recording of the webinar.


Dr. Deniece Dortch published an article in the International Journal for Cross Disciplinary Subjects in Education entitled, "Revolutionary Acts: African American Doctoral Students Exercising Racial Agency at a Predominantly White Institution of Higher Education in the United States."

Dr. Deniece Dortch provided expert advice for a series of articles, including the Community for Accredited Online Schools' "Q&A: How to Find and Apply to Scholarships," the "From the Expert" section of's "Publish or Perish: Graduate Students' Guide to Publishing," the "Interview" section of Best Colleges' "Online Programs - Doctorate in Education," and's "How to Self-Promote at Work (Without Being Obnoxious)." She was also profiled in the School for International Training's interview, "From Peace Corps to diversity scholar, her path started at SIT," and was a featured guest on the Impact the World TV Show podcast (video starts at 2:30). In addition, her scholarship on reframing academic rigor for new directions in higher education was featured in the article "Reframing Rigor for Senior Service Colleges."

Faculty and students represented GSEHD at the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Conference in Tampa, FL:

  • Dr. Daniel Klasik and doctoral student Angel Jones (Ph.D. in Education) presented in a Paper Session: The Many Paths to College Enrollment: Re-Conceptualizing College Choice. Dr. Klasik also presented in a Paper Session: The Consequences of Geographic Immobility on Postsecondary Outcomes for Low-Income Students.
  • Dr. Maxine Freund and doctoral candidates Lauren Hunter Naples and Elisabeth Kutscher (both Special Education and Disability Studies) presented in a Paper Session: Beyond Accommodation: Advancing a Culture of Neurodiversity in Higher Education. Elisabeth Kutscher also presented in a Round Table Session: “We’re Not All Cut from the Same Cloth”: A Mixed Methods Investigation of College Persistence in Students with Disabilities and/or Learning Differences.
  • Dr. Ashley Stone presented in a Paper Session: Reframing Rurality: How Empowering Rural Students Enriches Rural Research. Dr. Stone also presented in a Paper Session with a colleague from the University of Maine on The Positionality of Place: Examining How Scholarship Engages with the “Where” in Higher Education Research.
  • Doctoral student Nancy Stalowski (Higher Education Administration) presented in a Round Table Session on: The White Male Benefactor: Venture Philanthropy in Higher Education.
  • Dr. Deniece Dortch presented in a Paper Session: Naming and Disrupting the Problem of White Western Models of Socialization: Toward a New Understanding of the African American Doctoral Student Experience.