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Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning presents JSU professor with Excellence in Diversity, Inclusion Award

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Dr. Lisa Beckley-Roberts, associate professor of ethnomusicology in JSU’s Department of Music, has been named a Distinguished IHL Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award winner by the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning..

“I’m humbled to have been considered and nominated by the university for the award. I’m also inspired by our students and the daily work that our faculty and staff do to ensure that our university builds upon the mission of educating underrepresented and underserved populations alongside those who are most prepared for post-secondary education,” said Beckley-Roberts, who is also interim chair of the Department of Music.

According to an IHL release, honorees were chosen for the way they embrace “diversity of thought, cultural background, experience and an identity that helps to foster inclusive and intellectually enriched campus communities that maximize opportunities for success among all students and employees.”

“It continues to be an honor to serve my students, regardless of race, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, religion or creed and to assure that they all have the opportunity to thrive at JSU,” she said.

After hearing from her fellow nominees, Beckley-Roberts shared that she is even more inspired to advocate for all members of her community while assuring that she continues to provide exposure opportunities to cultural expressions of the people of the world and especially underrepresented people.

Beckley-Roberts earned her doctorate in ethnomusicology and master’s degrees in ethnomusicology and harp performance at Florida State University, after having received her Bachelor of Arts degree in harp performance from Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

She has taught courses including Minority Music in America, American Roots Music, American Popular Music, World Music Cultures, Western Music History, Intro to Ethnomusicology, Women in Medieval Music, Artists of African Descent in Renaissance Europe, and African Music and Dance. In addition, she has lectured and presented papers on Africana religious practices and the role of music in them, Peruvian shaman ritual chanting and the creation of sacred space through music. 

Beckley-Roberts is also an accomplished performer who has been principal harpist with the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra and the Central Florida Symphony Orchestra. She’s performed with orchestras throughout the Southeast and maintains an active performance career, having accompanied singers with the neo-soul and hip-hop performers of Tallahassee Nights Live. 

Currently, Beckley-Roberts serves as a member of the Africana Studies Department exploratory committee and is  co-advisor for the Jackson State University chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota. She has served on numerous faculty search committees and college and departmental committees. As well, she is active in a number of professional and service organizations, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, the Society for Ethnomusicology, The American Harp Society, and the American Musicological Society. She regularly volunteers as a mentor for girls at Hardy Middle School in Jackson. 

Dr. Lisa Beckley-Roberts

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