Dr. Ivory A. Toldson is the president and CEO of the QEM Network, professor of counseling psychology at Howard University and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education. Previously, Dr. Toldson was appointed by President Barack Obama to devise national strategies to sustain and expand federal support to HBCUs as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCUs). He also served as senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and contributing education editor for The Root, where he debunked some of the most pervasive myths about African-Americans in his Show Me the Numbers column.
Scholarship and Advocacy
Dr. Toldson was dubbed a leader "who could conceivably navigate the path to the White House" by the Washington Post, one of "30 leaders in the fight for Black men," by Newsweek Magazine, and the "Problem Solver" by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. Dr. Toldson, according to former U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, is "a prolific young scholar and myth buster." According to NPR, Dr. Toldson has "a desire to shed new light on old issues." A sought after speaker, Dr. Toldson has been featured on MSNBC, C-SPAN2 Books, NPR News, POTUS on XM Satellite Radio, and numerous national and local radio stations. In print, his research has been featured in The Washington Post, CNN.com, The New York Times, The Root, The National Journal, Essence Magazine, BET.com, The Grio, and Ebony Magazine.
Dr. Toldson was named in the 2013 and 2014 The Root 100, an annual ranking of the most influential African-American leaders. His body of research was featured in The Foundation Center report, Building a Beloved Community, for his role in shaping sponsored programs for Black male achievement. Dr. Toldson was awarded the: Equity Champion Award from the New York City Department of Education; Outstanding Alumni Award from Penn State Black Alumni Association; Top 25 Forensic Psychology Professors, ForensicsColleges.com; and The Emerging Scholar designation from the Diverse Magazine.
Dr. Toldson was promoted to full professor while on leave from Howard University to serve President Obama’s administration. He spent 3.5 years at Southern University and A&M College (SU), in Baton Rouge, LA, and more than a decade at Howard University in Washington, DC. At SU, Dr. Toldson was named young researcher of the year after successfully competing for the prestigious W.E.B. DuBois Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Justice. Dr. Toldson continued a high level of research productivity at Howard University, evidence by publishing 4 books, and more than 65 scholarly publications including articles in peer-refereed journals, book chapters, and policy reports. Dr. Toldson became the Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Negro Education (established 1932) in 2008, where he lead an effort to modernize The Journal, moving it to an online platform for peer reviews and subscriptions, while keeping it independently owned and run by Howard University. His efforts attracted many new international subscribers.
Policy and Executive Leadership
Dr. Ivory A. Toldson was appointed by President Barack Obama to be the executive director, for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In addition to ongoing work with elected officials, government executives, HBCU leaders and advocacy groups, Dr. Toldson conceptualized the White House Initiative on HBCUs All-Stars program, which identifies and engages the top HBCU scholars. He also co-authored a series of blogs on federal sponsorships for various federal agencies and hosted a series of webinars, in an effort to increase the approximately $6 billion of federal revenue that flows to 100 HBCUs.
Dr. Toldson has also served as senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. There, he conceptualized, developed and authored the Breaking Barriers series for CBCF, which analyzed success indicators for school-aged Black males. The Breaking Barriers series has been featured in numerous publications. Dr. Toldson has worked effectively with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and their staff to organize national and district level forums on educational equity and access. In his role, Dr. Toldson interacted with many foundation executives and corporate sponsors to raise revenue for CBCF programs, including research and scholarships.
Dr. Toldson has varied executive leadership experiences and has served many advisory boards. He is an executive board member of The Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District a private, nonprofit organization established to enhance the overall quality of life for residents, visitors, employees and property owners in the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood of Washington, DC. He is also an advisory board member for Generation Ready and the Morehouse Research Institute, and on the board of directors for the National Council on Educating Black Children, a premier non-profit and civil rights organization with a distinguished focus on improving educational opportunities and outcomes for African American children.
Preparation and Personal
After completing coursework for a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Temple University, Dr. Toldson became a correctional and forensic psychology resident at the United States Penitentiary. There, he completed his dissertation on Black Men in the Criminal Justice System. He also served as the clinical director of the Manhood Training Village. He has received formal training in applied statistics from the University of Michigan, and held visiting research and teacher appointments at Emory, Drexel, and Morehouse School of Medicine. Since graduate school, Dr. Toldson has had a career-long affiliation with HBCUs and takes pride in his ability to promote HBCU scholarship and being an example of professional talent cultivated at HBCUs. He holds an honorary doctorate from Florida Memorial University. He is married to Marshella Toldson, and together, they are raising their daughter, Makena and their son, Ivory Kaleb.