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Jackie McLean Fellowship

Jackie McLean was a world-renowned alto saxophonist, educator, composer and community activist who served on the faculty at the University of Hartford for 36 years. In 1968, he established the African-American music department and later the Jazz Studies degree program at The Hartt School. In 1970, he and his wife Dollie McLean founded the Artists Collective, a nationally recognized non-profit, interdisciplinary cultural arts institution serving at-risk youth and the Greater Hartford community through the preservation and perpetuation of the art and culture of the African Diaspora.

Competition for the Jackie McLean Fellowship is open to candidates who have completed all coursework toward a terminal degree (doctoral degree or MFA). Post-doctoral candidates are also eligible. Fellows must be in residence during the fellowship year. Responsibilities include teaching one course per semester, conducting research or creative scholarship toward the completion of their degree or as a follow-up to their graduate work, giving at least one performance or presentation to the University and/or Hartford community, mentoring students and/or student organizations, and engaging in academic service. Fellows will be granted non-tenure-track faculty status at the Visiting Instructor or Assistant Professor level for one year, and receive salary, benefits, and travel funds.

Candidates for the Fellowship are nominated by one of our academic departments. Interested applicants should contact the relevant department chairs to explore the possibilities for the upcoming academic year (a list of departments and chairs can be found on our web site). Screening begins in February.

The University of Hartford's academic mission is to engage students in acquiring the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to thrive in, and contribute to, a pluralistic, complex world. The full text of our academic mission and the university can be seen at

The University of Hartford is an open and welcoming community, which values diversity in all its forms. In addition, the University aspires to have its faculty and staff reflect the rich diversity of its student body and the Hartford region. Candidates committed to working with diverse populations and conversant in multicultural issues are encouraged to apply.

Questions about the fellowship can be addressed to Associate Provost T. Clark Saunders at

Jackie McLean Fellows

Markeysha Davis (Current Fellow)

Markeysha Davis

Markeysha, a Ph.D. candidate in African American Studies at the University Massachusetts at Amherst, joins our Africana Studies program.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University and a Master of Arts from UMass . Her doctoral research employs a multidisciplinary perspective on Black poetry and drama of the 60s and 70s. 

Paula Austin


Paula Austin

Paula C. Austin, holds a PhD in history from the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. She holds a Master of Arts and a Master of Philosophy in history Her doctoral work examines black poor and working class subjectivity in Interwar Washington, D.C.

She joined the Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences for the spring semester of 2015, teaching African American History. Paula is currently on the faculty at California State University, Sacramento.

Cesar Rodriguez


Cesar Rodriguez

Cesar, a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, spent the year in the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Cesar completed his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California at Santa Barbara during the fellowship year. His doctoral research is on the "school to prison pipeline" (STPP), which examines the connections between the struggling, inter-city schools and the incarceration of students of color. Cesar is currently an Assistant Professor at California State University San Marcos.

Adryan Wallace


Adryan WallaceAdryan completed her Ph.D. in Political Science at Rutgers University. Her sub-fields are women and politics, comparative politics, and African political theory. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Florida and an M.A. in African Studies from Howard University. Adryan's dissertation and subsequent scholarly work focuses on Hausa women in Nigeria and Ghana, and their use of both NGOs and community organizations to challenge the economic status quo. She received two dissertation fellowships at Rutgers to support her work. We are delighted to say that Adryan will be staying at the University in a tenure track position as an Assistant Professor of Politics and Government.

Lisa Coons


Lisa CoonsLisa earned a PhD in music composition from Princeton University and joined the Division of Music Composition in the Hartt School. Coons also holds an MFA in composition from Princeton University, and an MA in composition from SUNY Stony Brook. Her research on identity and music is an ongoing exploration of how art relates to cultural context. In addition to composing, Coons is a talented metal worker who has designed and built percussion instruments. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Composition at Western Michigan University.

Lummie Spann


Lummie SpannLummie is a saxophonist who earned a Bachelor of Music in African American music studies from the Hartt School in 2001 and studied with Jackie McLean as an undergraduate. He also holds a Master of Music from SUNY Purchase, which he completed in 2009. Spann is an active performer and teacher who shares the McLean family's vision for arts in the community. He performs locally, nationally, and internationally and has performed with Hartt faculty members and noted jazz musicians Steve Davis, Nat Reeves, and Rene McLean.

Laura Hymson


Laura HymsonLaura spent her fellowship year in the Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences. She now holds a Ph.D. in American Culture at the University of Michigan, a B.A. in American Studies from Wesleyan University and an M.A. in Gender and Cultural Studies from Simmons College. Her scholarship examines the intersection phenomenon of corporate globalization and culture. Laura is an Assistant Professor of History at Bard High School Early College.

Meredith Nickie


Meredith, a Jackie McLean Fellow in Sculpture, holds an M.F.A. degree from Cornell University and a B.F.A. from York University in Canada. She has participated in a number of prestigious residencies and fellowships at institutions including the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, The Universität der Künste in Berlin, the Whitney Museum, and most recently at the Santa Fe Institute of Art. During her fellowship year, Meredith taught an Introductory Sculpture in the Fall of 2009 and a Special Topics in Sculpture: Remix and Mashup in the Spring of 2010, and continued her research in issues of post-colonialism, gender, and race as framed by the historiographies of imperial rule, and the enduring legacies of culture and capital. In the spring of 2010, she returned to New York to continue her studio art practice. She presented two solo exhibitions - including "This is Going Down" at the Vox Populi Gallery in Philadelphia, PA (June 4–June 27, 2010) and a solo show at ArtSpace Gallery in New Haven, CT (October 7–November 6, 2010). Meredith participated in "Simultaneous Presence: 2010 Sculpture at Evergreen Biennial" at the Evergreen Museum & Library, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD (Curated by Ronit Eisenbach and Jennie Flemming, May 2–September 26, 2010). Her work was also included in the Whitney Museum of American Art Auction Party on June 9, 2010.

Nadia Brown


Nadia BrownNadia, a Jackie McLean Fellow in Politics and Government, holds a B.A. in Political Science from Howard University, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. During her fellowship year, Nadia taught of American National Government; Gender, Power, and Politics; and Black Impact on Western Civilization. She also finished her dissertation during the 2009-10 year, completing her Ph.D. in Political Science at Rutgers University. Her scholarship examines the intersection of race, gender and politics and dissertation was entitled "The Intersection of Race & Gender on Representation - Black Women Legislators' Impact on Legislation." Nadia has joined the faculty of St. Louis University.

Karen Tejada-Peña


Karen Tejada-PeñaKaren holds a BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara and Ph.D. in Sociology from the State University of New York at Albany. During her fellowship, Karen taught Social Problems and Race and Ethnic Relations. She also continued work on her dissertation "Building Political Habitus: A Case Study of Salvadorans' Political Experiences in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area" examining how Salvadorans engage in politics and what the role of a civil war history, transnationalism, and the metro area play in this activity. Karen has joined the faculty in Hillyer College and we are delighted she is staying with us. She currently teaches a variety of courses in both Hillyer College and the College of Arts and Sciences, including Introduction to Sociology, Sociology of the City, Race and Ethnic Relations, and Sociology of Immigration.