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Research at JSU

Interim Vice President

Dr. ConSandra McNeil, Ph.D., was appointed as Interim Vice President of Research and Economic Development on February 1, 2024. In this capacity, Dr. McNeil oversees various aspects of Jackson State University’s research and innovation enterprise.

Dr. McNeil is an action-oriented researcher and scholar with more than 20 years of experience as a sociology professor and researcher in higher education. Her work integrates scholarship, engagement, and community involvement. Before assuming her current role, she served as Assistant Provost with a focus on research engagement.

Additionally, Dr. McNeil continues to serve as the activity director of the Institute for Social Justice and Race Relations and as a professor of sociology. From 2018 to 2020, she was an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow with the National Science Foundation, where she contributed to evaluating the NSF Sexual Harassment Term and Condition in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. She was also selected to participate in the Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) Leadership Institute at Wellesley College. Dr. McNeil’s expertise spans diversity and inclusion, project development, research assessment, and evaluation, as well as policy oversight and implementation, including compliance with federal-sector EEO and civil rights regulations in the grantee community.

As Assistant Provost, Dr. McNeil facilitated strategic engagements in research, scholarship, and service, resulting in research excellence demonstrated by successful tenure and promotion awards and external recognition of faculty achievements. Her work was guided by the following objectives:

  • Facilitating team-building across disciplines, experience levels, and skillsets
  • Supporting faculty capacity-building for research participation
  • Increasing research collaboration with other institutions
  • Removing barriers to access funding agencies, program officers, and research opportunities
  • Encouraging greater participation of faculty, staff, and students in research activities

To achieve these objectives, Dr. McNeil implemented various programs and activities. She provided platforms for research discourse and dissemination through events such as Research Engagement Week and the Spring Virtual Research Colloquium. She also introduced initiatives such as Research Table Talk and Spring Break Extreme to foster team-building and support interdisciplinary research teams. Additionally, she initiated a grant-writing coaching program for JSU faculty following the retirement of two NSF programs. Dr. McNeil forged inter-institutional partnerships for research collaboration and career pathways, arranging opportunities for JSU faculty, students, and staff to engage with program officers at funding agencies and fellowship program directors. Since 2021, she has served as Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on more than $1,397,057 of externally-funded grants. This productivity builds on a successful grant-writing record, including her role as Co-PI of the JSU ADVANCE Program, which earned her recognition as a High Grant Award Winner by the Office of Research and Federal Relations at JSU.

Dr. McNeil is widely acknowledged as a leader in her academic field and a subject-matter expert in sociology. She has been invited to review proposals for federal agencies and nonprofit foundations, as well as to evaluate city government programs and STEM projects. Dr. McNeil has also served as a journal and book reviewer, authored several articles, and co-edited a book. Her work often integrates STEM techniques and tools into social science disciplines. A proficient communicator, she has presented at national, regional, and local conferences and workshops. Dr. McNeil is an advocate for community improvement opportunities, with extensive experience in working with diverse populations and culturally-focused projects. She has served in various capacities in the JSU Faculty Senate and chaired numerous university committees. She has earned numerous awards and accolades for her academic and community outreach achievements, including the IHL Diversity Leadership Award in 2021.

Dr. McNeil earned a graduate certificate in homeland security-disaster management from Texas A&M University, a doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a master’s degree in sociology with a focus on alcohol and drug studies from Jackson State University, and a bachelor’s degree from Lane College.

ConSandra McNeil, Ph.D.
Interim Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Tel: 601-979-2008

Research Administration

To really succeed in any area of research, you need supporters who believe in you. JSU’s Office of Research and Economic Development is here to help you with securing funding, finding opportunities, and bringing your work to the public.

Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIEED) leverages the best of JSU’s STEM, business, and entrepreneurial capabilities to help solve some of society’s most pressing problems. By pairing our researchers with entrepreneurs, designers, and businesses, we help you bring your inventions to life.

Division of Research and Economic Development


Division of Research and Economic Development
Administration Tower, 6th Floor
1400 J.R. Lynch Street,
Jackson, MS 39217-0280