48th Annual MLK Celebration Leadership Award Recipient: Austin A. Ashe

Austin A. Ashe

Senior Associate Director of Belonging & Culture Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Sloan School of Management

Adjunct Professor, Bunker Hill Community College

Host/Producer, 5-Fifths a Radio Show

48th Annual MLK Leadership Award

Austin Ashe

Austin A. Ashe is a higher-education professional who has spent his career connecting the relationships between the functional areas of: student life, DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), advancement, academics, spirituality, community development, and servant leadership. He is Senior Associate Director of Belonging & Culture Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Sloan School of Management. At MIT, he has also served as Assistant Director for Student & Young Alumni Relations.

The MIT African, Black, American, Caribbean Employee Resource Group (ABAC ERG) wrote of Ashe: "Austin created the MIT CIPHER, a safe space and resource filled with positivity, to fulfill an important role for inclusion and belonging on campus. He is an incredible colleague who, amid much pain after the death of George Floyd, used his talents and leadership skills to help bring the MIT BIPOC staff together. His love for Hip Hop and community engagement sparked fruitful dialogue amongst our staff. Austin shares reading guides on how we can amplify our voices while we dismantle systemic racism...Despite his busy schedule, Austin always finds time to plan meetings and support the MIT CIPHER members. He is an advocate and supporter of true diversity and inclusion and is committed to collaborating with other community partners like ABAC, to work on issues that benefit the entire MIT community. He is a true teacher who has educated many of us on our rich history and empowered us to feel strong in these hard times."

Ashe holds BAs in Psychology and in Mass Communications from Quinnipiac University, and an MA in Student Personnel Administration from Springfield College. Currently, Ashe is a PhD candidate in Higher Education Administration at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where he is a Board Member of the Center for Collaborative Leadership. His research examines how/if Hip-Hop education facilitates a unique process whereby faculty reflect on how their cultural identities impact their teaching. Ashe hosts and produces 5-Fifths a Radio Show, a WMBR program "dedicated to Hip-Hop, R&B, and featuring other versions of 'Black Noise' (speeches, interviews, and discussions centered on Black Culture)". Additionally, he serves as an Adjunct Professor at Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown, MA and is on the Founding Advisory Council of The Global Alliance for International Student Advancement (GAISA).

"Dr. King inspired millions throughout his life, and that is part of what makes his impact so important to this day. I’m reminded of the African proverb 'Each one. Teach One.' Many romanticize what it means to be a 'leader' and forget that without your community behind you, your impact is hollow. We have to reach back to each one and teach one about their own potential. Titles and roles expire, but legacies carry on."

--Austin Ashe, February 2022