Dr. Monique L. Akassi joins the Hilltop as new DEI assistant

Dr. Monique Akassi, WLU’s Special Assistant in Charge of DEI.

West Liberty University has named Dr. Monique L. Akassi as interim Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) leader.

Effective as of Jan. 31, 2022, Dr. Akassi’s full title is special assistant, DEI and strategic initiatives. A member of the President’s cabinet, Akassi replaces Shemrico Stanley who resigned due to family obligations.

Akassi says her experience at WLU has been nothing short of incredible. “Everyone welcomed me with open arms. I have never felt so welcomed in my entire academic career. I am very grateful to be here and a part of the family,” she explained.

Akassi is the oldest of her four siblings and the only female, which she says created a lot of pressure to “raise the bar” for her younger siblings. As a first generation higher education graduate, Akassi says she knew from the start that the power of education was extremely important. She says she has been working towards her dreams and goals since she was 14 years old. “My purpose in life is to uplift as many people as I can along the way while I am on this journey in higher education. It’s important to me to stay humble and treat everyone with love and kindness along the way,” Akassi said. She continued saying, “I believe once you discover your purpose in life, then it’s up to you to do what you have to do as far as reaching those goals.”

Present day, Akassi has more than a decade of experience as an administrator, researcher, educator and higher education consultant. Prior to climbing the Hilltop, she lived in Fredericksburg, Va. and worked at Howard University in Washington, DC as a full-time faculty member. She also served as an adjunct professor at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. In addition, Akassi has held executive positions at other institutions of higher education including: assistant to the president, associate provost, director, full-professor tenured and department chair.

Earning her bachelors in English and comparative literature from the University of Cincinnati, Akassi went on to earn a master’s in English and composition and rhetoric from Wright State University. She earned her doctorate degree in English composition and rhetoric with minors in literary criticism theory and African American literature from Morgan State University. Akassi also completed postdoctoral studies and earned a certificate in diversity and inclusion from Cornell University; additionally, she earned certificates in management and development and women in higher education leadership from Harvard University.

Akassi has authored and/or edited nearly 23 publications including: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Africana Rhetoric of Dealienation; Postcolonial Composition Pedagogy: Using The Culture of Marginalized Students To Teach Writing, Research and Writing Across The Curriculum; Research and Writing Across The Curriculum, Virginia Union University’s Journal on Undergraduate Research In The Humanities and Beyond, and Bowie State University’s Journal on Undergraduate Research Across The Disciplines.

Akassi is from Cincinnati, Ohio and says “it’s good to be back in the midwest.” She is married to Dr. Clément A. Akassi who is an associate professor at Howard University. They also have a son named Amare.

In her free time, Akassi enjoys gardening and spending time with her two Yorkshire Terriers named Blue and Teddy. She also enjoys writing. “West Liberty is like a writing paradise for me. Something about the rolling mountains and nature air, it has inspired me to start writing again.”

For more information, please visit WLU’s News & Media Relations resource page by clicking this link. You can also watch the special YouTube video of Akassi introducing herself or visit her webpage using this link.