NCCU Department of Mass Communication Names Wells Fargo Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor

Posted January 27, 2022, 3:52PM

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) welcomes Aerial Ellis, Ed.D., as its Wells Fargo Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor for the NCCU Department of Mass Communication.

A public relations industry leader, Ellis joins NCCU faculty from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., where she taught courses in public relations, cross-cultural communication, organizational communication and leadership and for 10 years. She also lectured in Nepal, London and South Africa as an expert in intercultural communication and competence.

In her new role, Ellis will support the strategic vision of the department while bolstering visibility and growth of the public relations concentration through teaching, research and thought leadership.

“When we have opportunities to hire new professors, our department looks to add colleagues who contribute to the engaged learning that our instructors provide and provide connections to professional practice opportunities for our students,” says Calvin Hall, Ph.D., department chair. “So, we are excited about the professional expertise and energy that Dr. Aerial Ellis will add to our faculty and look forward to her contributions in helping us continue to foster student success.”

Ellis is managing principal of Advisory 83, a consultancy committed to strategic planning, communication and education in the space of diversity, equity and inclusion. Her work has been enlisted by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, AIG, Asurion, Learfield, Microsoft, National Urban League, Starbucks, Teach for America, and US Army Corps of Engineers, among others.

Prior to Advisory 83, she founded and managed two public relations agencies where she led teams that developed award-winning campaigns in media relations, social media and brand development.

Ellis is the author of “The Original Millennial,” which highlights six defining lessons of leadership for millennials and accompanied by a professional development curriculum for the intergenerational workplace.

In 2021, Ellis was appointed president of the Public Relations Society of America Foundation Board of Directors, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to advancing diversity and inclusion within the communications profession through scholarships and educational resources. She is also a fellow of the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations and co-founder of the Nashville Women of Color in Communications Network.

The Memphis, Tenn., native obtained a bachelor’s in speech communication from Tennessee State University and a master's in mass communication from Middle Tennessee State University. Ellis also earned a global executive doctoral degree from the University of Southern California.

She also holds an executive leadership certification in diversity and inclusion from UCLA Extension.  

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