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 was highlighted in the article "African American Doctoral Scholars Initiative Creates Support System for Black PhDs" in the South Seattle Emerald. Dr. Dortch is the founder of the African American Doctoral Scholars Initiative, an innovative program piloted at the University of Utah that created a multidisciplinary cohort of black doctoral students to support one another through their Ph.D. process.

Dr. Deniece Dortch published a research article entitled "Reframing Rigor: A Modern Look at Challenge and Support in Higher Education" with colleagues in the journal New Directions for Higher Education.

Dr. Deniece Dortch was a panelist for The MinorityReport: An Open Forum Discussion last week, hosted by the George Washington University Black Graduate Student Association as part of the MLK Week line up. Dr. Dortch also served as a GW on-site moderator for last week's Presidential Symposium on Racism, Recovery, and Racial Justice Livestream Experience co-hosted with GW's Office for Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement.

Dr. Deniece Dortch will present at an interactive symposium entitled Critical Issues Facing Black/African American Doctoral Students Attending Predominantly White Institutions at the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Conference. In this symposium panelists and participants will discuss how Black/African American doctoral students experience campus racial climate, academic socialization, and sense of belonging and self-efficacy.

Dr. Deniece Dortch was the October speaker at the NASPA Center for Women Lunch and Learn Series--a series of live virtual conversations centered on recent journal publications. Dr. Dortch and fellow participants discussed her article, Black Undergraduate Women and Their Sense of Belonging in STEM at Predominantly White Institutions.