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Dr. D. Jason DeSousa

Dr. D. Jason DeSousa is the University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s next Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

DeSousa’s first day at UMES will be April 20.

He currently works at Fayetteville (N.C.) State University, where he has been assistant vice chancellor for student retention since January 2012.

“Dr. DeSousa is the right person at the right time to fill this important leadership post at UMES,” President Juliette B. Bell said. “I know our campus community will make him feel welcome.”

“He brings a wealth of experience and success in the challenging field of college enrollment, and I am confident he will help us achieve our goals in that critical area,” Bell said.

A 1987 Morgan State University graduate, DeSousa’s two-decade career in higher education has included administrator positions at his alma mater as well as Tuskegee University, Alabama State University, Savannah State University, Huston-Tillotson University in Texas and Clark Atlanta University.

“UMES is known as the kind of institution genuinely concerned about providing an educational experience that is compelling, innovative and transformative,” he said. “And that approach is very exciting to me.”

DeSousa holds a master’s degree in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and a doctorate in higher education administration from Indiana University, where he was a Ford Foundation Fellow.

He has brought in some $3 million in grants to institutions where he has worked to support projects focusing on “student retention, student leadership and enriching educational experiences,” including a $1 million award from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation announced just last month.

That grant will support a program that provides learning resources, tutoring and mentors targeting students capable of doing college work but who are struggling to keep pace with classmates.

He has testified before a U.S. Senate committee in May 2014 on “Strengthening Minority Serving Institutions,” and shared his expertise with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities on strategies to attract more minority men to those institutions and keep them motivated to graduate.


Inspire magazine in 2013 named DeSousa one on its “Top 40 Inspirers” and Morgan State honored him with its 2003 Distinguished Male alumnus award. He is also a former president of the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals.

DeSousa says he envisions UMES aggressively using cutting-edge technology to bolster traditional recruiting methods as well as enlisting outgoing students to work alongside admissions counselors to help “sell” the university as “the right choice.”

“I see my role as being the person responsible for ensuring campus life is robust, interesting and that students have access to a spectrum of co-curricular experiences that enriches their time at UMES,” DeSousa said.

And when UMES plays his alma mater, Morgan State, in basketball, who will he root for?

“I’ll be sitting at half court,” DeSousa diplomatically said with a laugh.

Bill Robinson, director, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355