Rolanda L. Ward, Ph.D.
Endowed Faculty Director, Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity & Mission
Dr. Rolanda L. Ward has been an associate professor at Niagara University since 2015. In August 2017, she was named endowed faculty director of Niagara University’s Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity, and Mission. She also serves as director of the university’s Vincentian Scholars Program.
Dr. Ward earned her doctorate in social work and sociology from Boston University. As a macro-trained practitioner and a research scholar, she has been the lead investigator or research associate on a number of studies focusing on society's most vulnerable, underserved, proven-risk, and oppressed populations and communities. In addition, Dr. Ward has led projects in communities and within organizations that shift status quo outcomes. Additionally, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Ward is leading and or has served on several task forces in order to advocate for community needs. These task forces include The Niagara Falls Health Equity Task Force; the New York State Health Equity Task Force: Western New York Vaccine Hub; The Western New York Digity Equity Coalition; the Niagara County Suicide Prevention Coalition Training and Education Subcommittee; and the Western New York COVID-19 Collaborative.
Dr. Ward is also a member of the board of directors at MENTOR New York, The Aquarium of Niagara Falls, Community Missions, Inc., Peaceprints of WNY, the Education Collaborative of WNY, and Catholic Health Systems. Dr. Ward co-led the university’s Identifying and Dismantling Racial Injustice Task Force. As a teacher-scholar, Dr. Ward is committed to helping students identify community injustices and also helping students discover how they can partner with stakeholders to promote real solutions.