Dr. Karl W. Reid was appointed Senior Vice Provost and Chief Inclusion Officer at Northeastern University on April 1, 2021. He also holds the title of Professor of Practice in the Graduate School of Education in the College of Professional Studies. Prior to joining Northeastern, Dr. Reid served for seven years as the Executive Director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), marking his return to the organization that gave him his first major leadership experience 32 years earlier. A certified diversity professional, Dr. Reid has been a leading national advocate for diversity and inclusion, and increasing college access, opportunity and success for low-income and minority youth.
Dr. Reid came to NSBE from the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), where he oversaw new program development, research and capacity building for the organization’s 37 historically black colleges and universities and held the title of Senior Vice President for Research, Innovation and Member College Engagement. Before his service at UNCF, he worked in positions of progressive responsibility to increase diversity at his alma mater, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which he left as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education and Director of the Office of Minority Education. While working at MIT as Director of Engineering Outreach Programs, Dr. Reid earned his Doctor of Education degree at Harvard University. His dissertation explored the interrelationship of race, identity and academic achievement for African American males in college. He is the author of “Working Smarter, Not Just Harder: Three Sensible Strategies for Succeeding in College…and Life.” Dr. Reid is also a founding member of the 50K Coalition, a national effort to produce 50,000 diverse engineering graduates annually by 2025.
Dr. Reid was born in the Bronx, New York, and grew up in Roosevelt, New York, a mostly working-class, African-American community on Long Island. The high value his parents placed on education, and his admission to a well-resourced, magnet high school near Roosevelt, put him on a track to follow his older brother to MIT, where he earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in Materials Science and Engineering and was a Tau Beta Pi Scholar. He credits his membership in the NSBE chapter at MIT with giving a vital boost to his self-confidence and leadership skills. He joined the Society during his freshman year, was elected chapter Vice President during his junior year and subsequently served as NSBE National Chair.
After graduating from MIT, Dr. Reid worked in the computer industry for 12 years in product management, marketing, sales and consulting. In 1991, five years into a successful career in sales and marketing with IBM Corporation, Dr. Reid read Jonathan Kozol’s “Savage Inequalities,” a seminal book about educational disparities in the U.S., which sparked his passion for bringing about positive change through education of African Americans and other underserved populations.
Dr. Reid sits on the National Council for Expanding American Innovation at the US Patent and Trademark Office; the Committee on Addressing the Underrepresentation of Women of Color in Technology at the National Academy of Engineering; the American Society for Civil Engineers Industrial Leaders Council; and the Dean’s advisory cabinets for the Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the University of Michigan College of Engineering. He holds memberships in the American Society for Engineering Education and the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives.
He is a frequent contributor to the national diversity engineering dialogue and author of several commentary pieces, and he has been quoted in numerous articles in publications such as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report and The Hechinger Report.