Our Team


Dr. Cherie Dawson-Edwards

Dr. Cherie Dawson-Edwards is Associate Dean, A&S Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and an Associate Professor for the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Louisville. She also directs the College of Arts & Sciences' Social Change Minor.

Dr. Dawson-Edwards holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master of Science in Justice Administration from the University of Louisville. She has taught a variety of criminal justice courses, but her research and teaching interests center on the intersection of public policy and criminal justice with a specific focus on schools and juvenile justice.

In addition to a career in teaching, Dr. Dawson-Edwards has held positions in probation and victim services. She is a National Board Member for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and serves on the Executive Committee of American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky (ACLU-KY). She also serves on the statewide Subcommittee for Equity and Justice for All Youth (SEJAY) – the KY statewide Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Committee.

Dr. Dawson-Edwards' most recent publications can be found in Race & Justice: An International Journal and the American Journal of Criminal Justice. She is a member of the American Society of Criminology, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and the Southern Criminal Justice Association. Dr. Dawson-Edwards is also a recipient of the 2016 College of Arts & Sciences Community Service Award.


Clest Lanier

Clest Lanier

A passionate, resourceful community leader with an established track record of success in public service and non-profit administration, Clest Lanier was a co-founder and director of the African American Heritage Foundation, Louisville and Jefferson County African American Heritage Committee.

Described as a creative thinker with the ability to develop sustainable projects from conception to implementation she served was the first Chairperson of the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission and provided leadership to the commission during the first three years of its existence. 

Highlights of her career include:

  • Secured more than $9.0million in private funding from various civic, community and regional foundations for the state’s largest multi-cultural tourism initiative.
  • Successfully led initiative that resulted in the renovation and reuse of a historic trolley located in one of the community’s largest brown fields.
  • Led efforts to secure national designation and by federal agencies for Smoketown and Russell communities.
  • Spearheaded effort to place thirteen (13) historic markers throughout Louisville and Jefferson County.
  • Project manager for the Louisville Downtown Civil Rights Markers Trail

A graduate of the University of Louisville, with a degree in Political Science, Alfred P. Sloan Fellow Certification in Policy Skills Analysis, Graduate of the Museum Management Certification Program,Ms. Lanier attended the Overseas Studies Program in London, England.

Clest is currently with the UofL College of Arts and Science, Dean’s Office for Diversity and Community Engagement Programs where she designs and implements community outreach programs for the Dean’s Office.  Most recently she was project manager for the Louisville Downtown Civil Rights Markers Trail, an initiative that preserves the sites of sit-in demonstrations in 1963 that led to the passage of the public accommodations ordinance prohibiting discrimination in theatres, restaurants and stores.  The Trail is one of three (3) in the state of Kentucky on the US Civil Rights Commission list of civil rights sites.

Mrs. Lanier is a recipient of the prestigious HGTV Restore America Award, National Trust for Historic Preservation Southern Region Award, and most recently received the 2019 Christy and Owsley Brown II Excellence in Public Service to Preservation.  A graduate of Leadership Louisville, she has served on numerous boards and has been active with a number of civic organizations.

Phone: 502.852.3042