Nicole Hodges Persley, Ph.D., is the associate dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and an associate professor of theater at the University of Kansas, as well as an Honors faculty fellow who teaches and mentors Honors students. Hodges Persley brings over ten years of experience in DEI initiatives, as well as experience as the chair of the University’s theatre department. She has received numerous awards for her activism, teaching and research, including the University of Kansas Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity Pride Award, The McNair Scholars Mentoring Award, the University of Kansas Byron T. Shutz Excellence in Teaching Award, and The Mellon Foundation's Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring Award. Hodges Persley is one of the founding program directors for the Hip-hop Archive at Harvard University at the W.E.B Dubois Institute for African and African American Studies. Her research focuses on African-American theater and performance, American popular culture, Hip-Hop Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Solo performance and Transnationalism, and she has conducted research in Senegal, France, England and Germany. Hodges Persley has performed in regional theatre, television and film, and is also an accredited director. She has published articles and book chapters on hip-hop theatre, sampling, Jay-Z and Suzan-Lori Parks, with forthcoming work on Drake, Nicki Minaj and Idris Elba. She is currently writing “Sampling and Remixing Blackness in hip-hop theater and performance,” which uses applications of sampling and remixing in DJ culture to investigate the influence of hip-hop on the artistic practices of non-African American theater and dance artists in the United States and England.