Executive Director Named for New Black Cultural Institute

News subtitle

Other new hires include a special advisor on climate and a director of federal relations.

Laura Ogden, David Robinson-Morris, and Emily Burlij
From left, Laura Ogden, David Robinson-Morris, and Emily Burlij. (Illustration by Erin Supinka)

Dartmouth filled some key positions in January in the Institute for Black Intellectual and Cultural Life, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of Government and Community Relations.

David W. Robinson-Morris

Executive Director, Institute for Black Intellectual and Cultural Life

The Institute for Black Intellectual and Cultural Life has hired David Robinson-Morris as its first executive director, beginning Jan. 22.

Robinson-Morris joins Director Kimberly Juanita Brown, an associate professor of English and creative writing, in the leadership of the institute, which launched last summer as a cultural and scholarly hub for the Black community at Dartmouth. As executive director, Robinson-Morris is working alongside Brown to provide leadership for the institute. 

“I am so thrilled to join the Dartmouth community and to lead the institute—which was catalyzed by Black alumni and friends of Dartmouth—alongside Kimberly Juanita Brown,” Robinson-Morris says. “The institute invites us into a long, rich intellectual tradition of wrestling with ideas from diverse Black and African diasporic perspectives. We seek to build upon the ideas of past and present Black thinkers and artists, generate new understandings, and imagine liberated futures to solve contemporary dis-ease. Our work—our programming, our thinking, and our reimagining of the world—must necessarily unfurl toward liberation, justice, and collective transformation.”

The author of Ubuntu and Buddhism in Higher Education: An Ontological (Re)Thinking, as well as several peer-reviewed articles, Robinson-Morris is the founder and chief of the strategic diversity, equity, and inclusion consultancy The ReImaginelution. 

Previously, he was executive director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society; regional director of diversity and inclusion of the Bayou Region for Ochsner Health; founding director of the Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit; and an assistant professor in the Division of Education and Counseling at Xavier University of Louisiana, where he served as assistant vice president of development. He completed his bachelor’s degree in communications and public relations at Loyola University New Orleans and went on to earn a master’s of public administration from the University of New Orleans and a PhD in educational leadership and research from Louisiana State University, where he also earned a certificate as an education specialist. His doctoral dissertation won the 2016 American Association of Blacks in Higher Education Dissertation Award.

In addition to Robinson-Morris, Jénee Potts has joined the institute as program coordinator. 

Laura Ogden

Special Advisor to the Provost on Climate and Sustainability 

Professor of Anthropology Laura Ogden has been named to a new, one-year advisory role designed to “enable Dartmouth to maximize its academic impact in the climate space and to help identify ways to support that work in the future,” according to an announcement on the Office of the Provost website

Action on climate change is one of the top priorities that President Sian Leah Beilock outlined in her inaugural address

“This year, I will be convening interdisciplinary conversations on campus to help identify Dartmouth’s unique strengths and opportunities for climate scholarship and teaching, beginning with the question of how best to activate our amazing resources, such as forest lands, our organic farm, and the campus itself,” Ogden says.

“Of course, we need to balance a careful and inclusive approach to understanding these opportunities with the urgency we all feel about climate change. Therefore, I will also work with the provost to identify projects and initiatives that we can begin this year, including those focused on engaging our campus and Upper Valley communities.”

As a scholar, Ogden studies the politics of environmental change and conservation. Her work includes ethnographic research in the Florida Everglades; Tierra del Fuego, Chile; and urban environments around the United States. She is the author of two books, Loss and Wonder at the World’s End and Swamplife: The Entangled Lives of Hunters, Gators and Mangroves in the Florida Everglades.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina, she earned her master’s and PhD in anthropology from the University of Florida. She has been a member of the Dartmouth faculty since 2014.

Emily Burlij

Director of Federal Relations

Dartmouth’s Office of Government and Community Relations has appointed Emily Burlij to support Dartmouth’s strategic relationships with federal agencies, policy officials, decision-makers, and thought leaders in Washington, D.C. She will also advise Dartmouth’s leaders on national issues, policies, and regulations.

“There is so much potential here at Dartmouth to build its reputation among D.C. audiences as a pioneering research institution,” says Burlij, who will report to Emma Wolfe, the vice president for government and community relations. “I am excited to be joining at such a pivotal time, both at Dartmouth and within the national higher education landscape.”

Burlij comes to Dartmouth from Boston University’s Office of Federal Relations, where she spent 11 years, first as associate director and then director.

Previously, Burlij was an associate with the lobbying firm Cassidy & Associates, a legislative program assistant for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and a development associate for the National Park Foundation. She graduated from Villanova University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and went on to earn her JD from Washington College of Law at American University.