Eric Mayes

Eric Mayes
Campus Address
Wilson House
Room 206
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Institutional Research and Professor of Education

Dr. Mayes, a staunch advocate for social justice and educational equity, serves as Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Professor of Education at Lawrence University.

Previously, he served as founding director of a center of educational equity and associate professor in the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas.  His research focuses on the examining the mediating role of culture on cognition and learning, with particular interest on the impact that culturally responsive pedagogy and assessments have on academic and life outcomes for linguistically and culturally diverse students and communities.  He currently serves as a Co-PI on a US Department of Education Teacher and School Leadership grant focused on improving student achievement in rural, hard to staff and under resourced schools in the Arkansas Delta.

Prior, Dr. Mayes served on the faculty at John Hopkins University working at the nexus of leadership development, social entrepreneurship and educational equity; designing and implementing an innovative online Doctor of Education program in entrepreneurial leadership in education that focused on addressing some of the most intractable problems in education.  Dr. Mayes also chaired the school’s committee on diversity and civility, served as the faculty rep for the United Way campaign and sat on the School of Education’s Teach for America Advisory Committee while publishing multiple peer-reviewed articles and presenting research at national and international conferences and convenings. 

While serving as full-time faculty, he spent two years as a coach on the Johns Hopkins football team, winning two conference championships in back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, compiling an overall record of 22-2 during his tenure and advancing to the national championship semifinals

As a former national director at the Children’s Defense Fund, Dr. Mayes led national initiatives, including program evaluation, growth strategy and overseeing the CDF Freedom Schools program. Dr. Mayes has served as a director at the historic Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute, executive director of its Child Development Center, and inaugural faculty fellow in the Eugene Applebaum Chair in Community Engagement while at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Mayes also worked as a director at the U.S. Dream Academy and as an elementary and middle school building administrator in Washington, DC. Prior to his leadership positions, Dr. Mayes served as a high school teacher in Detroit and also led student athlete development efforts with the University of Michigan football teams.  He has worked and researched internationally in West Africa, studying instruction, curriculum development and assessment practices in the Gambian education system; and in Brazil, where he assisted in the delivery of programs focused on increasing higher education access to Afro-Brazilian students in Salvador, Bahia.

He holds a post-doctorate master’s degree in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Howard University, and both a Master’s degree in Educational Technology and a Bachelors from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

A former college athlete, Dr. Mayes advanced from a walk-on to Co-Captain of the 1997 University of Michigan National Championship Football Team.  He travels internationally as a motivational speaker on overcoming adversity and actualizing potential, while also lecturing on leadership, education and social justice.

He has served as a volunteer for Special Olympics as a team captain, University of Michigan’s Motts Children’s Hospital, City of Hope Cancer Center, Detroit Deny and West Side Cubs Footballs, and on the Boards of the Detroit Chapter of the Black Child Development Institute and the Michigan League of Public Policy.

Harvard University

Howard University

University of Michigan