Saundra F. DeLauder

Delaware State University Vice Provost and Professor of Chemistry


I am fortunate to have worked at three Historically Black Institutions, Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD, North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC and now, Delaware State University in Dover, DE. These universities share a legacy of providing access and opportunity to populations that have been historically under-represented and under-served. It is gratifying to have taught, mentored and provided opportunities for, while only a small part, the next generation of STEM professionals. I now have former students in government, industry and academia. Observing their maturity on their respective journeys as they have grown into seasoned professionals over the years has been inspirational.


Attributes that I believe make a great leader include the following: (1) Great leaders are knowledgeable of area(s) or units that he/she is charged with leading; (2) Great leaders are capable of articulating a vision that inspires and engages their stakeholders around a common set of goals/strategies; (3) Great leaders provide clear and consistent expectations to the unit or area that he/she is charged with leading; (4) Great leaders establish trust and are accountable to the team that he/she is charged with leading; (5) Great leaders provide his/her unit or team members with support and opportunities for professional growth.


In May 2017, a colleague sent me a memento celebrating the first graduating class of the Integrated Biosciences Ph.D. Program at my previous institution, North Carolina Central University. This was the institution’s first Ph.D. Program and implementation required approval through the University’s Board of Trustees and the University of North Carolina System’s General Administration. I was the primary author of the Request to Plan document and a major contributor at the system’s review panel discussions and the Request to Establish document. The Program was approved in 2011 and the first class began in 2012. It was gratifying to have contributed to expansion of the STEM pipeline focused in the Biosciences and the University’s first Ph.D. Program.


Over the course of my career, I have observed that most difficult challenges fall into three categories: (1) lack of resources, (2) differences in alignment of priorities, and/or (3) differences in leadership philosophy. The key to overcoming resource challenges is to align your priorities with those of the organization. I arrived at Delaware State University on July 1, 2013 as the Dean, School of Graduate Studies and Research. I was charged with establishing a structure for the unit, standardizing all processes related to graduate admissions and post admissions monitoring and reporting. At the time of my arrival, the office was comprised of one administrative support position. Through several administrative and budget alignments, the unit has grown by to more than 15 positions and now manages graduate admissions, online programs and adult and continuing education, as well as activities at the Wilmington and Georgetown locations.


Saundra F. DeLauder serves as Vice Provost and Professor of Chemistry at Delaware State University. Her duties include management and oversight of operations for the Division of Academic Affairs including Academic Budgeting, Research and Title III Programs, Academic Operations, and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. She is also a member of Delaware State University’s Gates Working Group. Now in Year 6 of Gates Foundation Funding, the Gates working Group is the core team responsible for meeting the grant deliverables focused on transformation of campus infrastructure to meet student success metrics: retention, graduation and gainful employment. She served as dean, School of Graduate Studies and Research from 2013-2018 with concurrent appointments as Interim Associate Provost (2015-2016) and Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs (2016-2017) where her responsibilities included day-to-day operations for the Office of Academic Affairs.

Prior to her arrival at Delaware State University in 2013, Dr. DeLauder held faculty appointments in the Departments of Chemistry at Morgan State University (1995-1996) and North Carolina Central University (NCCU) (1996-2013). She served as lead scientist on NCCU’s Environmental Risk and Impact in Communities of Color and Economically Disadvantaged Communities (ERICC). Funded through a cooperative agreement with the USEPA from 2001-2007, the overarching goal of ERICC was to better understand environmental exposures and their impacts through development of adaptable, community-level environment assessment tools for environmental justice communities. Following promotion and tenure at NCCU in 2003, she served in several administrative capacities including Chair of Chemistry (2004-2006), Associate Dean/Interim Dean College of Science and Technology (2007-2009), Interim Dean, School of Graduate Education and Research (2009-2011) and Special Assistant to the VP Graduate Education and Research (2011-2012). She was selected as a 2006-2007 American Council on Education Fellow hosted at Duke University. A major outcome of her fellowship year was the Duke-NCCU STEM Partnership Program. Supported by Duke University for two years (2007-2009), the primary focus of the program was to build sustainable partnerships through faculty research experiences.

In addition, she co-authored NCCU’s first Ph.D. Program in Integrated Biosciences; approved in 2012 and served as the NCLSAMP Campus Director from 2005-2013, NCLSAMP Director of Cohort III of the Bridge to the Doctorate Program (2007-2009), and Program Director for the NCCU Minority Biomedical Research Program (MBRS) from 2011-2013. Dr. DeLauder earned a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Howard University in 1992. A Kodak Fellowship funded her graduate research appointment at the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology (CARB), Rockville, MD. She was an American Society for Engineering Education postdoctoral and faculty fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC. (1993-1994 and summers 1996-1998) and conducted additional research through the Summers of Discovery program in the Laboratory of Structural Biology at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC; summers 1999-2003.