Diverse Magazine Names Prof. W. Greene One of the Nation’s 12 Rising Stars

Posted: Tue, 01/14/2014 - 08:56

In the January 2014 issue of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine, Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law Professor Wendy Greene received one of 12 national honors as a rising star who has emerged as a leader in legal academia.

Diverse magazine profiles 12 scholars under the age of 40 from across the country who are making their mark in the academy through teaching, research and service. Honorees are selected from a pool of candidates recommended by various scholars, department chairs, university public information officers and others. These outstanding scholars serve as an inspiration to both students and colleagues.

In the article, Professor Greene notes that her childhood dream of becoming a lawyer was “[i]nspired by the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and the stories of her parents’ participation in student-led sit-in demonstrations for civil rights” and her inspiration to become a professor was deeply rooted, as she was born into a family of educators.

Expressing her excitement about her most recent accolade, Professor Greene recognizes the award holds deeper significance. She explains, “To be named an “Emerging Scholar” is an absolute honor—an honor greater than my accomplishments and me. It is a reflection of countless individuals who have invested in my professional development and have understood the importance of my advocacy for racial and gender equality domestically and abroad.” In addition, Greene acknowledges she is very fortunate to have a broad community of family, friends, colleagues, and students who support and encourage her scholarship, teaching and service.

A sought-after speaker, Professor Greene has traveled throughout the United States, to Canada, and to Brazil conducting over 50 scholarly presentations on cutting-edge topics related to race, gender, and law including comparative slavery and race relations, law in the Americas, racial determination cases, multiracialism and the law, grooming codes discrimination in the workplace, and diversity in legal education.

At Cumberland School of Law, she has been recognized with both teaching and research honors: the Lightfoot, Franklin, and White Award for Best Junior Faculty Scholarship and the Harvey S. Jackson Excellence in Teaching Award for Upper Level Courses. In addition to being a professor of law, Greene is the law school’s director of faculty development. In this role, she has been responsible for bringing leading legal scholars from across the nation to present their scholarship at Cumberland School of Law as well as cultivating programs related to teaching and scholarly development for the faculty.

Professor Greene holds an LL.M. from The George Washington University Law School; J.D., from Tulane University Law School; and B.A., cum laude, English, from Xavier University of Louisiana. Much of her scholarship is focused on racial discrimination stemming from the enactment and enforcement of workplace grooming codes. She has published a trilogy of articles on this issue: “Title VII: What’s Hair (and other Race-Based Characteristics) Got to Do With It?;” “Black Women Can’t Have Blonde Hair…in the Workplace;” and “What Not to Wear in the Workplace: Hijabs and Natural Hair.”

Cited and excerpted in numerous articles and in leading texts on employment discrimination and race and law, her scholarship has proven to be influential not only in academic circles but also in civil rights litigation. Her article, “Title VII: What’s Hair (and Other Race-Based Characteristics Got to do With It?,” was positively cited by the Chicago Commission of Human Rights in support of its ruling in favor of two African American male plaintiffs who were banned from a Chicago nightclub because they donned natural hairstyles—an unprecedented ruling in race-based grooming codes cases.

In addition to fulfilling an active scholarly agenda, advising students, mentoring aspiring and junior scholars, and teaching several courses—Constitutional Law II, Employment Law, Employment Discrimination, Equitable Remedies, Real Property, Race and American Law, and Critical Race Theory—she is active in the legal community. In 2013 and 2014, Professor Greene was elected to the executive committee for the American Association of Law School’s (AALS) Employment Discrimination Section. She was chosen in 2014 as chair-elect for the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education. Greene has also served as secretary of the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education and co-presented the section’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in Ginsberg’s chambers in 2013. Since 2008, Professor Greene has served in various roles on the executive committee of the National Bar Association Law Professors Division and the executive planning committee of the Southeast-Southwest People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference. Notably, in 2012, Cumberland School of Law hosted the Southeast-Southwest People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference with Professor Greene serving as the conference chair. Additionally, Greene serves on the planning committee for the Lutie Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Workshop and as a board member for the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama.

To access Professor Greene’s scholarly work visit http://ssrn.com/author=877329.