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Director Irungu

Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies
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Jane N. Irungu, PhD

Executive Director, Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies

Jane Irungu

Ph.D., University of Kansas

MS., University of Kansas

B.Ed., Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya

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Dr. Irungu has more than three decades of experience in the field of education, organizational management and intercultural relations. She has worked extensively with K-12, higher education professionals and private organizations in the U.S. and in Africa.

Prior to joining the University of Oklahoma (OU) in 2017, Dr. Irungu held different positions at the University of Oregon (UO): Assistant Vice President of Intercultural Initiatives in the Division of Student Life; Assistant Vice President of Student Engagement and Director of the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence in the Division of Equity & Inclusion, Director of Graduation and Post-Graduation Success, and Associate Director, Office of Multicultural Academic Success.

During her tenure at UO, her portfolio included, among others: oversight of programs for historically underserved, underrepresented, first-generation, undocumented and international students' network of support; faculty and staff resource groups; leadership development and training; scholarship administration, community outreach and pipeline programs, ethnic organizations, social justice initiatives through the multicultural center, and post-graduation success. Dr. Irungu also served in numerous campus-wide committees, was an elected member of the Officers of Administration Staff Council and participated in strategic planning initiatives focusing on student success, campus diversity, equity and inclusion and many others.

Prior to joining the UO, Irungu worked at the University of Kansas for twelve years in many different capacities: Associate Director for the federally funded Title VI Kansas African Studies Center; Program Director with the Office of International Programs; Outreach and Foreign Languages Coordinator, and Lecturer in the Department of African and African American Studies. Irungu received her Ph.D. and Master’s degrees in Higher Education Administration and Policy Studies Graduate Certificates in African Studies, and Women and Studies from the University of Kansas. She received her Bachelor’s in education with majors in Kiswahili, Philosophy and Religious Studies from Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, where she was a high school teacher and eventually principal. She migrated to the U.S. in 1997.

Irungu is multilingual and provides consultancy in curriculum design, translation and interpretation in her two native languages, Swahili and Kikuyu; diversity and inclusion initiatives, strategic planning, cross-cultural/intercultural communication, program evaluation; student engagement and success. She has been a member and contributor in several national organizations including Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education: NASPA, Association of International Educators: NAFSA, The Global Community for Academic Advising: NACADA, and the International Association of Student Affairs and Services: IASAS, among others. Irungu has received several awards for her outstanding work and leadership as an educator and a champion for social justice.

As a first-generation college student, Dr. Irungu believes education must be a transformational tool; transforming and improving the quality of life for individuals and communities at large.