Mary Coleman provides senior leadership for EMPath’s strategy development and growth, and oversees the organization’s programs, research, and evaluation operations. She brings more than 30 years of higher education experience in executing organization goals and overseeing programs and services to EMPath. Prior to joining the organization in 2015, Mary served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Lesley University, where she focused on strategic planning, developing and implementing initiatives on well-being of faculty and students, high impact advising programs and the Lesley University Initiative on Child Homelessness, which she founded. In 2005-06, she won a prestigious Woodrow Wilson International Scholar’s award for her work on rural poverty. Mary was a post-doctoral fellow in public policy at the University of Maryland and in liberal arts at the Harvard School of Law. She holds a doctoral degree and a master’s degree in political science from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Jackson State University.

Selected Publications

Coleman, M. D. Winning the Argument and Moving the Fight: The Legacy of a Grassroots Humanitarian, Public Voices Vol. XIV, 2014.

Coleman, M. D. The Rural Poor in the American South: Case Studies of Exits from 20th Century Poverty, 2009

Coleman, M. D. The Legacies of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, American Political Science Review, September, 2001. Research Gate

Coleman, M. D. Legislators, Law, and Public Policy: Political Change in Mississippi and the South, Greenwood Press, 1993. Questia

Preston, B. Michael, et al. The New Black Politics, March, 1987

Mary D. Coleman: Pathways to Citizenship

For Professor Mary D. Coleman, the question of exits from poverty is one of the most crucial public policy issues for this country and many others. Public policies which hinder the ability of individuals to ‘exit poverty' are nothing short of a "public insult," whether their motivation is indifference, ignorance or hostility. In this conversation she draws compelling connections between the poor in Easter Europe, Southern Africa and Sunflower County Mississippi.