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Dr. Narketta Sparkman-Key


Dr. Sparkman-Key, better known as Dr. Key, has been drawn to helping others in innumerable capacities. This passion led her to pursue her B.A. in Sociology, M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, and Ph.D. in Human Services. Her undeniable commitment to education is evidenced by over a decade of experience in academia. Dr. Key has effortlessly advanced in her professional pursuits and is now a full tenured professor in the College of Education the Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Global Affairs at James Madison University (JMU).


Her compelling aspiration to strategically promote diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; intentionally create inclusive cultures; and advocate for marginalized populations is evident in all she does at James Madison University. She has built an intentional agenda with a focus on strategic planning, student success, internationalization, streamlining resources, the creation of inclusive communities, and developing and maintaining equitable practices.


Her remarkable portfolio includes Center for Global Engagement, Title IX Adjudication, misconduct, climate study, strategic planning, inclusive hiring practices, assessment of faculty experience, and recruitment and retention, all of which are extremely important to her.  Prior to her arrival at JMU, Dr. Key was a tenured Associate Professor of Counseling and Human Services in the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies and Academic Affairs Director of Faculty Diversity and Retention at Old Dominion University. Under her leadership, she leveraged existing resources and created new partnerships focused on recruiting and retaining diverse faculty.


She also developed various initiatives for supporting underserved populations and ensuring an inclusive culture across departments. It is apparent that her passion for incessantly promoting an inclusive environment and working to support marginalized populations, as well as prioritizing anti-racist practices, shines in all that she does. In addition, she has served in the roles of Human Services Program Director, Assistant Chair and Interim Chair of the Department of Counseling and Human Services during her tenure at Old Dominion University.


Research is also a significant part of Dr. Key’s identity, focusing on addressing barriers to inclusive cultures; defining the professional identity of human services practitioners; and delineating practice with vulnerable populations. She incessantly believes in empowering and helping vulnerable populations, evidenced through her research, international work with pregnant teens, and efforts to support at-risk families.


Throughout her professional journey, she has been afforded boundless opportunities to travel the world, develop and lead study aboard programs, and speak to diverse populations in Costa Rica, Jamaica, Canada, and Ireland. Dr. Key has had a highly successful journey thus far, receiving countless awards and recognitions for her commendable work.

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