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Halima Leak Francis, Ph.D. (she / her) joined the Tulane University School of Professional Advancement in 2019 to lead the creation and launch of the school’s Public Administration Program. As Director and Professor of Practice, she works with faculty, advisors, and community partners to shape graduate-level educational experiences that are immediately responsive to contemporary complex societal challenges. A nationally accomplished educator, practitioner, and scholar, her career has focused on strengthening capacity, sustainability, and equitable practices within nonprofits, philanthropy, higher education, and civic sector leadership. Her track record of successful leadership, program development, and relationship cultivation have been critical in her work in promoting the strengthening of communities through meaningful collaboration, public service, and philanthropic investment.

As the Carnegie Corporation of NY Professor of Social Entrepreneurship IV and V, Dr. Leak Francis seeks to engage in interdisciplinary programming, teaching, and applied research that advances cross-sector, community-centered, and equitable solutions to today’s most pressing civic challenges. She intends to expand community engagement, research and student learning opportunities related to social innovation, focusing particularly on Nonprofits Organizations and Community Anchors, Philanthropy, and Public Service. Through this work she seeks to use principles of design thinking and social innovation to build on existing community strengths while increasing opportunities to address complex societal challenges.

Dr. Leak Francis holds a B.A. in English from Hampton University, as well as an M.A. in Sociology of Education and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from New York University – Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. A dedicated community volunteer, she prioritizes advancing systemic equity and inclusion by supporting organizations and programs that are committed to the same. She serves as a founding co-chair of the HERitage Giving Fund, Tulane History Project co-chair, Greater New Orleans Foundation Impact 100 co-chair, and Foundation For Louisiana board member. Additionally, she is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and is an active supporter for a host of other causes.

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