Dr. Karis Clarke Joins Us, Bringing Advocacy and Expertise to Education Leadership

Accomplished Educator Assumes Role as Assistant Dean and Director of the Graduate School of Education

July 19, 2023
Dr. Karris Clarke standing and smiling, wearing a bright yellow suit

Touro University California welcomed Dr. Karis Clarke as the new Assistant Dean and Director of the Graduate School of Education this July. With a distinguished background in education and a deep commitment to advocacy and social justice, Clarke brings a wealth of expertise to her role in shaping the future of education.

“I’ve taught pre-Kindergarten, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and I really did that work because I wanted to be an advocate for students, but while I was teaching, I found out that adults need advocates as well,” says Clarke.

While pursuing a doctorate, Clarke began a career in higher education, shifting focus from helping students to developing teacher education and leadership programs to prepare educators to meet the needs of students. Prior to joining TUC, Clarke served as Associate Professor and Department Chair of Educational Leadership at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Transitioning into higher education to support teachers with impactful education systems was a turning point for Clarke. As a leader and mentor, she cultivates vibrant and high-achieving learning environments, elevating the student experience and ensuring strong retention rates. Additionally, Clarke fosters growth by actively collaborating with both internal and external stakeholders, steering strategic initiatives in alignment with the institutional mission.

Hailing from Beaufort, South Carolina, Clarke's passion for education runs deep, coming from a family of educators. Her father was in the military and instilled in Clarke the values of service and community engagement, which continue to drive her commitment to making a positive impact in the field of education.

“I have always been taught about the importance of being an advocate for people, especially those who can't be one for themselves,” says Clarke, adding that this is what led her to a career in education.

In her new position, Clarke aims to continue the exceptional work already being done at TUC. She is committed to fostering social justice within education and empowering students to achieve their dreams. Her approach is centered on collaboration and inclusivity, recognizing the importance of diverse perspectives and backgrounds in creating a well-rounded educational experience.

“We want to grow our programs, basically trying to make certain that our students understand social justice and the place that has in education,” says Clarke, who has been busy meeting with various stakeholders, including faculty, staff, and community members. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the needs and aspirations of the community, she seeks to ensure that Touro's educational programs align with the evolving requirements of students and the community.

Recognizing the value of having educators from diverse backgrounds and the positive impact it has on students and the community, Clarke embraces inclusivity and diverse perspectives that contribute to personal and collective growth.

“I think we really do ourselves a disservice, when we're not embracing everybody, we should be more inclusive because that helps us all to grow,” says Clarke.