November 22, 2021

Putting words into action

After returning to UND, Dr. Tamba-Kuii Bailey focused on creating an environment to attract and retain standout faculty.

Tamba-Kuii Bailey

Dr. Bailey's work is featured in the third
installment of the UND Alumni's Magazine
series on mental health. Read In the Trenches.

Dr. Tamba-Kuii Bailey is the first to be appointed to the position of Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion, a position created by President Armacost in August of 2021. Previously, he served as Assistant Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion. Even in a new role, Dr. Bailey continues to contribute to the Counseling and Counseling Psychology Programs within the College of Education & Human Development (CEHD), where he began his career at UND.

Dr. Bailey’s path toward higher education started at his high school in Silver Spring, Maryland. As part of a work-study experience, he assisted his school guidance counselor, Ms. Check.

“I would see students come in really upset, and they would go into Ms. Check’s room. After a time, they would come out with a different demeanor. Whatever they were struggling with, a progressive change happened. That piqued my interest in counseling.”

The intrigue led him to study psychology and to later work in community mental health and inpatient mental healthcare in urban metropolitan areas with diverse communities. He went on to earn a doctorate in counseling psychology from Georgia State University.  

“I knew that as a professor, I could impact an even larger number of people and help shape a generation of therapists who think about our ethical obligation to use culturally appropriate, evidence-based practice so that all patients can get the best possible care,” Dr. Bailey explained.

At the advice of a mentor who knew of CEHD’s positive reputation in counseling psychology work, Dr. Bailey took a job at UND in 2010. But an opportunity at the University of San Francisco called him away after four years. While he was in California, however, he thought about what he gave up.

Endowed Faculty

“I realized that UND’s CEHD was putting words into action. When they said they tended to social justice and multicultural competencies, they meant it. They really walked the walk. So, I moved back to North Dakota.”

Since coming back, he has co-chaired the UND Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion, a group that provided recommendations to UND administration on multicultural equity improvements across campus. Also, he led the launch efforts of former Interim Provost Storrs’ initiative of the Inclusion Ambassadors Program with a goal of creating a more inclusive environment at UND.

“I have the support of the department and administration who have given me opportunities to do good work here. That’s what’s kept me at UND,” he said. “Our hope is that through this program, other faculty and staff see that their input is truly valued by the University, and it will help us keep some of these outstanding individuals at UND.” 

-by Jenn Lukens

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