Dr. Kimberly Underwood

University Research Chair, Center for Workplace Diversity & Inclusion University of Phoenix

Dr. Kimberly Underwood is the University Research Chair of the Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research at the University of Phoenix. She has two decades of experience in diversity and inclusion management and strategy, consulting, research, teaching, and administration. She has served in several leadership and advisory positions within numerous professional and community organizations, including the Council of Exceptional Children, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, Ulrich Children’s Action Network, Chicago Safe Start, and the Mid-South Collaborative Network.
Her many publications and national presentations address organizational diversity socialization, social justice and inclusion, and the diversification of K-12 and higher education. Her most recent research examines topics of Black male educators in P-12 education and the impact of highly visible instances of police violence against people of color and the impact on P-12 classrooms.


Dr. Underwood obtained her PhD in Educational Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and MBA from the Illinois Institute of Technology. She also earned an advanced certification-- Executive Certificate in Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Management-- from Georgetown University, where she is currently a lecturer and subject matter expert in the areas of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice.

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Using Traditional Wisdom to Examine the Lack of Diversity in the Teaching Profession

Achieving a diverse and inclusive teacher workforce within P-12 education is critical to ensure that students receive a robust, quality educational experience. However, overcoming the shortage of educators of color, specifically Black males, has been a major dilemma for our nation’s schools for decades. As society changes and we find our nation’s student bodies more diversified than ever before, educational leaders, activists, and policy makers remain continually stationed at a crossroad. What is the current status of diversification within the teaching profession? How do we diversify the teaching profession so that it accurately reflects the recent growth of diverse representations within student populations? More specific, how do we increase the number of Black male teachers within the teaching profession?

These questions will be explored in this keynote address by Dr. Kimberly M. Underwood, a nationally-recognized diversity and inclusion expert, the Research Chair for the University of Phoenix Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research, and the current lead researcher and author of the highly acclaimed white paper entitled, “Having Our Say: Examining Career Trajectories of Black Male Educators in P-12 Education.” Within the discussion of this topic and recent project, Underwood also discusses the continued need for further exploration and consequential action to increase the numbers of Black males within the teaching profession.