Human development professor is honored for Black History Month
As a teenager, Michelle Dunlap thought she’d likely have a career working at the post office.
But her life took a different path when a college professor urged her to continue with school and attend a graduate program. Now she serves as a professor of human development at Connecticut College and devotes her time and energy to ensuring students realize their full potential.
At the end of February, in celebration of Black History Month, Dunlap, along with seven other local women, was honored by Sankofa Education and Leadership Inc., a Connecticut-based nonprofit that works to provide opportunities for young people in marginalized and underserved communities.
The event recognized all eight women for the positive impacts they have on the lives of black students. During her remarks, Dunlap repeated the words of the professor who had encouraged her as a student. “He told me that for every one African American who has both the ability and opportunity, there are 10,000 others who also have the ability, but who will never have the opportunity,” Dunlap recalled.
Those words resonated with Dunlap, and still help guide her work today creating a more socially just world, particularly for black women and their families who still have to contend with prejudice and oppression.
Dunlap, who specializes in multicultural and contemporary family issues, joined Connecticut College in 1994, and has gained international recognition as an expert in her field. As a contributor to a wide variety of journals and books, she has written extensively about her research involving college students working in community service-learning settings; intergroup relations; and perceptions and misperceptions of African American child rearing.
Her work has garnered a variety of awards, including the Woman of the Year Award from the Connecticut African American Affairs Commission, and the New England Resource Center for Higher Education's Ernest J. Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement.