Dr. Samaad Wes Keys serves as the Strategist for the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative (CPI). Samaad manages all facets of the CPI a $50 million grant-funded initiative by the Lilly Endowment. Through strategic grant administration, Samaad works with Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) to advance transformational change through the critical integration of student success-centered and career-building opportunities with the undergraduate liberal arts experience. The work aims to support curricular enhancement that will lead to improved institutional and employment outcomes for all students.
Samaad previously worked at Achieving the Dream (ATD), where he served as the Director of Equity & Network Engagement. In this role, he Managed ATD’s programs and policy agenda and worked with community college presidents and administration to build institutional capacity to improve student success.
Before ATD, he served as the associate director within the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) Office for Access and Success and program manager at the Southern Education Foundation. In both these roles, he had an opportunity to develop and implement research agendas and programmatic efforts that increased the capacity of our nation’s Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). He also served as a high school teacher and case manager at Chamblee High School in Dekalb County, Georgia, which he credits with sparking his interest in the higher education sector.
Samaad earned a Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Georgia; master of arts in education from Central Michigan University; and a bachelor of arts in psychology from Morehouse College.