Director and Staff

Jason E. Shelton, Director

Dr. Jason E. Shelton is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for African American Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington. His research interests concern the sociology of religion, as well as the intersections of race, class, and attitudes about various political and social issues in contemporary America. Dr. Shelton’s articles have appeared in Social Science Quarterly, Du Bois Review, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Sociological Perspectives, Journal of African American Studies, American Behavioral Scientist, and other respected publications. New York University Press published his first book, Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions, which won a major award sponsored by the Southern Conference on African American Studies and an “honorable mention” from the American Sociological Association’s Section on the Sociology of Religion. He is currently working on his second book, which examines religious diversity among African Americans.

Dr. Shelton currently serves as Chair of the Arlington Unity Council, a major initiative sponsored by the Office of the Mayor that aims to “study equity strategies that the City could implement to promote and encourage greater equality, and report to the City Council on its findings and recommendations.” (Click here to learn more about the Unity Council) He has been interviewed by major media outlets for news stories relevant to his research such as the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, National Public Radio (NPR), the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), Christianity Today, Houston Chronicle, and network television affiliates in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He earned his PhD and MA degrees in Sociology at the University of Miami (FL), and BA in Sociology at Kent State University. From 2006-2008, Dr. Shelton served as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Sociology at Rice University, where he worked on the first wave of the Portraits of American Life Study (PALS). 

Dr. Mia Moore Kirby, LCSW-S

Mia M. Kirby, Ph.D., LCSW-S

Assistant Professor in Practice, Social Work Department & Center of African American Studies

2019 Ph.D., Texas Woman’s University

2006 MSW, University of Maryland, Baltimore

Dr. Kirby's CV

Dr. Mia Moore Kirby, LCSW-S

As a licensed clinical social work supervisor, Dr. Kirby’s practice experience includes the Baltimore Juvenile Justice System, Foster Care, Outpatient Mental Health, Private Practice, and Nursing and Rehabilitation facilities. Dr. Kirby has over ten years of Social Work and Sociology teaching experience. Her most recent research examined the relationship between the strong Black woman archetype and mental health help-seeking behaviors of Black women. Additionally, Dr. Kirby has recently completed the Association of College and University Educators, Certificate in Effective College Instruction.

Research Interests: Qualitative Research focused on race, ethnicity, gender, mental health, and discrimination. More specifically, examining an intersectional approach to mental health service provider practices.

Dr. Frederick Engram, Jr.

Frederick Engram, Jr., Ed.D.

Assistant Professor of Instruction, Criminology & Criminal Justice and Center for African American Studies

2019 Ed.D., Northeastern University, Boston, MA

2009 M.S., University of Phoenix-Online

Dr. Engram's CV

Dr. Frederick Engram, Jr.

Dr. Frederick Engram, Jr. is an expert of graduate enrollment and diversity, equity, and inclusion. He is a qualitative researcher who grounds his research in critical race theory. He held faculty appointments at American University and Radford University. He focuses his research on the lived experience of African American graduate students enrolled at PWIs (predominately white institutions). He is a published scholar and a contributing author of the book No Ways Tired: The Journey For Professionals of Color in Student Affairs: Vol II (2019), and the article “An Act of Courage: Providing Space for African American Graduate Students to Express Their Feelings of Disconnectedness” (2020). He has published several other articles for Blavity and Diverse Issues in Higher Education.