Black Administrators

As aforementioned, the 2000s were a time of growth for faculty of color on campus, especially Black faculty, as the University of Idaho presented a stronger outreach to farther and more diverse areas of the country. The first of many important faculty elected to a high position at the University was Mark A. Edwards, who in 2006 was hired as the first Black director for diversity and community.1 This hire was important for many reasons, but its biggest significance is that this position reported directly to the President’s Office, which means that Edwards was given a role with significant power at the University. His main role was to ensure the enrichment of educational programs through diversity and to help integrate a more diverse faculty. Thanks to his efforts and those of many others, many new Black and African faculty members have been hired throughout the years.

Another big appointment was Michael Satz, the associate dean in the College of Law in 2012, to interim dean in the College of Law in 2013.2 Even though his appointment was only temporary, this is one of the highest positions held by a Black faculty member at the University of Idaho, and it shows that Black faculty are able to climb the proverbial ranks of the system in place at the University. In 2014, Mike Satz became the University of Idaho Associate Vice President and Executive Officer for Southwestern Idaho, the highest position held by any Black faculty member at the University of Idaho.

Additionally, Dr. Hassel Andre Morrison, a doctoral graduate from North Carolina, was hired as the associate dean of students in 2015.3 This important role allowed him to maintain a stable relationship with Black students and ensure that they were successful at the University. He maintained this position until 2018, when he was named Vice President for Student Life at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.

This continued effort to diversify University faculty and staff can be seen in the employment of mid-level administrators, such as Raymond A. Dixon to the position of assistant professor at the University in 2011 and later to the department chair of Curriculum and Instruction in 2018.4 He was the first Black administrator in the College of Education.

Dr. Wudneh Admassu, a professor in chemical and biological engineering, was the first person of African descent to become a full professor at the University, in 2015, as part of the University of Idaho’s international recruitment program. For a period of time, Dr. Admassu also served as the chair of the Chemical and Materials Engineering Department.

Dr. Romuald Afatchao began his journey at the University in 2001 by completing an English language program and then beginning the doctoral program in environmental science in 2003 and earning his PhD in 2009. He has since established himself quite strongly on campus, becoming a clinical full professor in 2014 and being appointed the associate director of the Martin Institute at the University of Idaho in 2009.5 The Martin Institute’s purpose statement is a “research and outreach center at the University of Idaho dedicated to understanding the causes of war, the conditions necessary for peace and the international system.”6


  1. “University of Idaho Names Mark Edwards as Director for Diversity and Community,”_ University of Idaho News_, November 21, 2006,
  2. Betsy Russell, “U of I Names Interim Law Dean,” The Spokesman Review, May 30, 2013,
  3. Kari VanDerVeen, “St. Olaf Names New Vice President for Student Life,” St. Olaf College News, August 20, 2018. 
  4. “Raymond A. Dixon,” VIVO: University of Idaho Research and Expertise,
  5. “Romuald Afatchao,” University of Idaho Martin Institute Faculty,
  6. “The Martin Institute,” University of Idaho Martin Institute,


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The Seminal History and Prospective Future of Blacks at the University of Idaho Copyright © 2023 by Brody Gasper and Sydney Freeman Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.