News & Announcements

CSU Names VP for Campus Engagement, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell joins the university in September

Dr. Phillip Cockrell

CLEVELAND (August 26, 2021) – Cleveland State University has selected Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell, an experienced thought leader in advancing student success and championing diversity, equity and inclusion, as Vice President for Campus Engagement, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. He comes to CSU from the University of Toledo, where he has served for the past 5 years.

Dr. Cockrell will be responsible for leading and integrating CSU’s student-facing support services including Residence Life, Health & Wellness Services, Counseling Center, Disability Services, Multicultural Student Affairs, Veterans Center, LGBTQ+ Student Services, the Mareyjoyce Green Women’s Center, the Office of Institution Equity and the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement.

“We couldn’t ask for a better leader to spearhead these key university priorities that are essential to our growth,” said CSU President Harlan Sands. “As a first-generation college graduate who has spent his entire academic career working in service to students most in need, Dr. Cockrell has a profound, personal understanding of the many challenges facing today’s diverse group of high school graduates, graduate students, and adult learners.”

CSU recently unveiled an aggressive, growth-oriented plan for emerging from the global pandemic as a stronger, more-focused institution. The plan – CSU 2.0 – sets a goal of 4,500 additional students and 200 new faculty members by 2025. It outlines multi-million-dollar investments in research, faculty positions and initiatives to advance student success, grow existing programs and build new partnerships. In his new role, Dr. Cockrell will play a critical part in the plan’s implementation.

“I am very excited to join President Sands and the strong leadership team he has assembled,” Dr. Cockrell said. “The bold CSU 2.0 plan reflects the kind of values and focus I believe in, and I look forward to working with the CSU faculty, staff and students as we advance educational access and affordability in Northeast Ohio and beyond.”

As Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice Provost at UT, Dr. Cockrell was the chief student affairs officer providing strategic direction and leadership for 16 departments and a team of more than 400 staff and students. In this role, Dr. Cockrell helped lead efforts to increase retention and graduation rates, transform the student experience, enhance data systems, secure additional state support for mental health services, champion an internship guarantee program to expand experiential learning opportunities, create the university’s first parent and family member association, and raise funds to address food insecurity and provide emergency funding for students in need.

Before joining the University of Toledo, Dr. Cockrell worked at Jackson State University, a public HBCU in Mississippi and the state’s only urban university, serving as Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs/Dean of Students.

Dr. Cockrell holds a doctoral degree in urban higher education from Jackson State University, a master’s degree in educational leadership/student affairs administration from Florida International University and a bachelor’s degree in family studies from Mississippi University for Women.