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Author, professor, and sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom joining SILS and CITAP

Author, professor, sociologist, and National Book Award finalist Tressie McMillan Cottom will join the faculty of the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) as an associate professor, effective July 1. McMillan Cottom will be affiliated with the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) at UNC-Chapel Hill.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. McMillan Cottom,” said SILS Dean Gary Marchionini. “Her insightful research into the ways technology, race, class, and gender intersect in the realms of higher education and public life perfectly align with SILS’ and CITAP’s missions to quantify the impact of our new digital landscape and shape its evolution for the benefit of humanity.”

Headshot of Tressie McMillan Cottom
Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom, PhD

A faculty affiliate at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, McMillan Cottom comes to Carolina from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she was an associate professor.

She earned her doctorate from Emory University’s Laney Graduate School in sociology in 2015. Her dissertation research formed the foundation for her first book Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy (The New Press 2016).

With hundreds of thousands of readers amassed over years of writing and publishing, McMillan Cottom’s columns have appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Dissent Magazine.

As a researcher and public intellectual, she has appeared on Amanpour & Co., MSNBC, The Daily Show, and National Public Radio, and she testified before U.S. Senate Subcommittees on student loan debt. She is also an influential voice on Twitter and co-host of Hear to Slay, a Black feminist podcast with writer Roxane Gay.

McMillan Cottom’s most recent book, THICK: and Other Essays (The New Press 2019), is a critically acclaimed Amazon best-seller that situates Black women’s intellectual tradition at its center. THICK won the Brooklyn Public Library’s 2019 Literary Prize and was shortlisted for the 2019 National Book Award in nonfiction.