Naima Brown

2020-21 Aspen Rising Presidents Fellow
Dr. Naima Brown is the vice president for student affairs at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida. She leads a team that is focused on increasing access, improving support, advancing success, and creating equity for about 22,000 students annually. Dr. Brown is also a guided pathways coach and is serving to increase student success and equity statewide as a navigator with the Florida Pathways Institute. Prior to her tenure as vice president, she served as professor of sociology. In that role, Dr. Brown helped internationalize the curriculum. She traveled to Africa, Europe, South America, Asia, and the Middle East to learn and teach about cultural differences.

Having grown up in a housing project in urban North Philadelphia, Dr. Brown has had firsthand experience with the poverty, violence, and crime that hinder so many American youth from pursuing education. In fact, her own father was murdered in a drug-related incident. When Brown left home as a first-generation college student in 1990, she did so with a firm commitment to make a better life for herself and for people facing similar struggles. With support from caring professors and the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, Brown experienced the life-changing power of higher education. Her success against the odds fuels her unwavering passion to meet students where they are, remove barriers to success, and be a bridge that helps them reach their goals.

Dr. Brown earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Florida A&M University and her master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from the University of Florida.