University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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Eboni Zamani-Gallaher

Headshot of Eboni Zamani-Gallaher

Teaching and Mentoring in Diversity
2020 Larine Y. Cowan Make a Difference Award

A nationally renowned scholar in higher education and policy, Eboni Zamani-Gallaher is considered one of the leading experts on issues of equity and diversity at community colleges. Her work aims to bridge scholarship with practice in higher education and strives to ensure the applicability of diversity research in educational and workplace environments.

As the Director of the Office of Community College Research and Leadership Dr. Zamani- Gallaher has expanded the scope and vision of that office to provide equity-driven change, comprehensive P-20 educational pathways, transformative leadership, and public engagement through evidence-based research. She was also instrumental in establishing the Dean’s Diversity Lecture Series in the College of Education. Every grant she has secured advances research and informs practitioners’ actions towards achieving racial equity in education. She has secured National Science Foundation (NSF) grants to study the undergraduate STEM pipeline at two-year Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), as well as racial equity and access issues in Calculus courses at community colleges, a Lumina Foundation grant to support professional development workshops for community college leaders on advancing racial justice and equitable outcomes for students, and two Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grants.

A mentor to countless undergraduate and graduate students, Dr. Zamani-Gallaher has been a caring advocate and role model who provides endless support and guidance to grow the next generation of equity-minded citizens and scholars. In the words of one nominator, “I have never met such a truly selfless scholar whose entire embodiment and barometer of success for her own career is based on nurturing, promoting, uplifting, and advancing the careers of others.” Dr. Zamani-Gallaher’s tireless efforts and dedication consistently put into lived practice her message that diversity is excellence.


Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher is Professor of Higher Education/Community College Leadership and Director of the Office for Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL). She previously served as Associate Head of the Department of Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership, and Associate Dean of the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She serves as the Executive Director of the Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC).

Dr. Zamani-Gallaher holds a PhD in Higher Education Administration with a specialization in Community College Leadership and Educational Evaluation from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her teaching, research, and consulting activities largely include psychosocial adjustment and transition of marginalized collegians, transfer, access policies, student development, and services at community colleges. Her research has been published in various journals and scholarly texts, including Equity and Excellence in Education, Higher Education Policy, New Directions for Community Colleges, and Teachers College Record. She has authored/co-authored and edited/co-edited eight books.