ABOUT DR. EZELL
(Dr. Ezell with Dr. Alisher Faizullaev, former Uzebekistan Ambassador to NATO & European Union)
Darrell is the Principal of Heritage Solutions LLC, a boutique higher education strategy consulting firm and past Vice President for Academic Affairs and University Dean at Claremont Lincoln University in Claremont, California. He is a recognized visionary in higher education with over a decade of experience shaped by his time in academia, government, and non-profit management. He is a social scientist with research and practitioner-based experience in social justice and conflict resolution. His administrative experience reaches into academic and student affairs, online education, and innovation in higher education. He has excelled as a senior administrator building a new online graduate university in 2014 from inception, establishing high performing graduate degree programs, launching strategic academic and corporate partnerships, and leading Claremont Lincoln University to initial regional WSCUC accreditation. Committed to community service, Darrell serves as a Board of Trustee at Rust College as Chair of the Committee on Educational Affairs & Faculty and as a Talakto District Council Member for the Boy Scouts of America (Greater Alabama Council). Committed to innovation in higher education, he is an editorial reviewer for The Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Learning (Springer Publishing) and The International Journal for Smart Education and Urban Society.
Innovation in Higher Ed
In 2014, Darrell was recruited to join the administration and startup transition-team of Claremont Lincoln University with responsibilities to build the first online degree program and launch a new private non-profit graduate university from incubation status at Claremont School of Theology. Claremont Lincoln was established in 2011 with a $50M gift from David C. Lincoln with a mission to educate students to promote positive social change. While at Claremont Lincoln, Darrell served in various capacities of university administration. As Vice President for Academic Affairs, his time in this role was marked by expanding and restructuring the Office of Academic and Student Affairs to ensure program demand and curriculum enhancement, launching online graduate and executive education certificate programs, utilizing predictive data analytics to improve digital marketing and enrollment, and implementing a 2019 academic expansion and innovation plan to launch new degree programs. His previous roles include: Dean of the M.A. in Interfaith Action Program (renamed Peace & Social Justice), Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Foreign Affairs, and Founding Program Director of the M.A. in Interfaith Action degree. In January 2019, Dr. Ezell was awarded The Visionary Award in recognition of his outstanding service of championing the University’s mission and David C. Lincoln’s vision.
As a senior leader, he has direct experience as a trusted adviser to the President, briefing board members as an academic affairs committee liaison, and serving as a collegial member on the executive cabinet. His technology expertise reach into launching new graduate online degree and certificate programs that satisfy employer demand, utilizing data analytics to make evidence-based decisions, hosting digital conferences, and introducing innovative solutions to enrich faculty development. As a cabinet member, he has participated in university-wide fundraising initiatives as comprehensive, capital campaigns and grant-based initiatives.
As a social scientist, Darrell's academic career is deeply rooted in interdisciplinary teaching and research in the fields of religion and conflict resolution with a particular focus on public diplomacy and peacemaking. Beginning at Louisiana State University as a Visiting Assistant Professor, he taught in both the Department of Political Science and the International Studies Program and served on faculty in the Department of Political Science at Tulane University. He has lectured widely on topics related to diversity and inclusion, religion-based peacemaking, ethnic conflict, post-9/11 U.S. foreign policy, public diplomacy, and contemporary global issues. At Claremont Lincoln, he designed and taught graduate courses in the Interfaith Action/Peace & Social Justice and graduate Capstone programs and led teams to design graduate-level courses through curriculum labs in the Ethical Leadership, Healthcare Management, Technology Management, Civic Engagement, Organizational Leadership, Higher Education, and Social Impact degree programs.
He has held several prestigious fellowships and delivered over 40 presentations and lectures at conferences and professional meetings in the U.S. and abroad. Most notably, he is the author of Beyond Cairo: U.S. Engagement with the Muslim World (Palgrave Macmillan) and author of numerous essays, web articles, and reviews. Some outlets include The Huffington Post, Fair Observer, and EA Worldview, USC's Center for Public Diplomacy Perspectives on Public Diplomacy. Committed to global interfaith education, he presented key findings on ideological violence and hate speech at the 2016 Parliament for the World’s Religions (Salt Lake City, UT) and authored Exploring the Role and Importance of Interfaith in the Year 2020.
Government & Non-profit Relations
Additionally, Darrell has held posts in both the government and non-profit sectors. At the U.S. Department of State, he served in the Bureau of Organizational Affairs (Office of Peacekeeping, Sanctions and Counterterrorism) focusing on post-9/11 U.S.-U.N. relations and with the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service (Clinton Foundation) as a doctoral researcher exploring cross-cultural communication theory and global peace-building projects. His non-profit work is marked by serving as a community organizer after September 11th leading social justice campaigns and building grassroots programs with the Interfaith Center of New York in 2004 and later with Interfaith Worker Justice that demonstrated his commitment to social justice and advocacy for immigrant and labor rights. His social justice work as a labor rights activist and community organizer in the rural south is highlighted in the award-winning John Fiege documentary, Mississippi Chicken (2007).
Ezell is a member of numerous professional, civic, and social organizations and associations. Several include memberships in the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA), Sigma Pi Phi (Epsilon Kappa Boule), Kappa Alpha Psi, Free and Accepted Masons, the International Studies Association, the Association of Governing Boards, and Psi Chi Honor Society. He is also the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, one of which includes being inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College in 2017. His knowledge in international relations has led him to serve as a member of the UN Global Expert Program (UNAOC) and his commitment to inter-cultural relations has received official recognition by The Vatican from Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran of Pontificium Consilium Pro Dialogo Interreligiones.
Darrell holds a Ph.D. from The University of Birmingham in England, with a thesis examining the role of U.S. diplomacy, interfaith relations, and ethnic conflict in the Muslim World after 9/11. He also holds a M.A. degree in Systematic Theology and Ethics from Union Theological Seminary and a B.A. degree in Psychology from Alabama A&M University respectively. His post-doctoral training includes earning executive certificates in: Higher Education Administration at Northeastern University, Fundraising at Indiana University (The Fundraising School), Understanding Financial Statements at Cornell University, and in Leadership Principles from Harvard Business School. He is currently completing a Mini-MBA in Business Strategy with the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University (expected September 2020).