ADVANCE Annual Lecture | Enobong (Anna) Branch: Working in Black and White in the Knowledge Economy

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - 4:00pm
Great Hall of the Old Chapel | UMass Amherst

ISSR is proud to co-sponsor the fifth ADVANCE Annual Distinguished Lecture, with presentation of ADVANCE Faculty Peer Mentor Awards followed by the keynote address by Dr. Enobong (Anna) Branch, Professor of Sociology and Sr. Vice President for Equity at Rutgers University. 


4:00 pm
Welcoming Reception and Opening Remarks

4:15 pm
Presentation of ADVANCE Faculty Peer Mentor Awards
To honor the critically important work faculty perform in mentoring and supporting their colleagues’ professional development and success.

4:30 pm
Keynote Address and Q&A
The knowledge economy holds both promise and peril, with every industrial shift in America, there have been winners and losers. Greater representation of underrepresented minorities and women in science, technology, engineering, and math fields is projected as the solution to persistent inequality, and education is heralded as the key to an economically stable future. Yet, increasingly Americans are disillusioned as the gap between their aspirations and reality grow. This talk reflects on the limits of individual effort in shifting longstanding, entrenched inequality.

Based on Work in Black and White: Striving for the American Dream, recently coauthored by Branch, this talk is an invitation to grapple with meritocratic ideals and imagine what a just racial future would require.

Enobong (Anna) Branch, PhD is the Senior Vice President for Equity at Rutgers University and provides strategic leadership to ensure that the institutional commitment to equity is reflected in the research, educational, and public engagement efforts that occur throughout the university and the focus extends to faculty, staff, and students. She leads the University Equity and Inclusion office and the Division of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement on the New Brunswick campus, championing the role of diversity and inclusion in achieving excellence and strengthening the institutional commitment to its diverse community on and off campus. 

Prior to joining Rutgers University, Dr. Branch served as Associate Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her significant accomplishments in that role included leading the integration of diversity throughout the campus strategic plan, executing the university’s campus climate survey, creating diversity infrastructure through climate advisors in executive areas and diversity officers in schools and colleges, and leading the National Science Foundation funded ADVANCE program pursuing innovative organizational change strategies to spur institutional transformation and support racial and gender equity in the faculty ranks. 

A professor of sociology, Dr. Branch's commitment to advancing equity extends to academic research on labor and work that explores the historical roots and contemporary underpinnings of racial and gender inequality. She is the coauthor of Work in Black and White: Striving for the American Dream (2022), coauthor of Black in America: The Paradox of the Color Line (2020), the editor of Pathways, Potholes, and the Persistence of Women in Science: Reconsidering the Pipeline (2016), and the author of Opportunity Denied: Limiting Black Women to Devalued Work (2011). A sought-after national expert on diversity in the academy, Branch serves on several advisory boards that aim to advance inclusive excellence within professional societies, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, the Association of American Universities and more. Dr. Branch received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University at Albany, SUNY and her B.S. in biology from Howard University.