Association of American Colleges and Universities Honors UMass Amherst Doctoral Student as ‘Future Leader’

AMHERST, Mass. – Marcella Runell-Hall, a doctoral student in the School of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of 10 graduate students in the nation to be recognized with the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Awards by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).

The awards recognize graduate students who are committed to developing academic and civic responsibility in themselves and others, and who show exemplary promise as future leaders of higher education.

The awardees were chosen from a pool of more than 200 nominations through a rigorous application process through which they demonstrated their leadership ability or potential for exercising leadership in teaching and learning, and their strong commitment to academic and civic responsibility.

“This is another stellar year for the future of faculty leadership,” said K. Patricia Cross, the David Gardner Professor of Higher Education emerita at the University of California, Berkeley. “It is heartwarming to see these impressive and dedicated teachers join the faculties of our colleges and universities, and we are so pleased to provide both praise and publicity for their extraordinary contributions.”

A resident of Brooklyn, N.Y., Runell-Hall is currently completing her doctoral studies through the social justice education program at UMass Amherst. Her dissertation is titled “Education in a Hip-Hop Nation: Identity, Politics and Pedagogy.”

Runell-Hall, who is currently associate director in the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs at New York University, has also worked as a freelance writer for the New York Times Learning Network and VIBE magazine. In addition, she served for two years as the director of education for the Hip-Hop Association. She recently co-edited “The Hip-Hop Education Guidebook” with Martha Diaz. Hall also edited “Conscious Women Rock the Page: Using Hip-Hop Fiction to Incite Social Change.”

She attended Ramapo College of New Jersey for her bachelor’s degree in social work and New York University for a master’s degree in higher education administration.

Each recipient of the award will attend the annual meeting of AAC&U in Seattle from Jan. 21-24, where they will be honored at the opening plenary. They will also be presenters in the session, “Faculty of the Future: Voices from the Next Generation – A Conversation with the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders.” The Cross awardees will participate in other sessions and meetings throughout the conference.


Marcella Runell-Hall can be reached at For more information about AAC&U or the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award, visit