Randall Akee Appointed Next Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. Chair in Social Justice Public policy professor is cited for his commitment to Indigenous communities and accomplishments as an economist

Professor of Public Policy and American Indian Studies Randall Akee has been appointed the next Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. Chair in Social Justice at UCLA Luskin.

The chair, created by Meyer and Renee Luskin as part of their naming gift to the Luskin School in 2011, will provide financial support for research throughout Akee’s five-year term. Former professor Manisha Shah was the inaugural holder of the chair.

Selection committee members for the Gilliam chair described the former UCLA American Indian Studies chair’s commitment to justice for Indigenous communities as “palpable in his collaborative efforts with leaders from American Indian reservations, Canadian First Nations, Pacific Island nations and Native Hawaiian communities,” wrote Interim Dean Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris in an internal announcement about Akee’s selection.

The committee also cited Akee’s rigorous empirical research as a highly accomplished economist and his tenure on the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, which concluded in 2023.

“During this pivotal period in navigating the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, he played a crucial role in addressing economic inequality with his expert insights,” they wrote.

Akee was cited for his mentorship of racially diverse students and for taking extensive measures to increase the pipeline of American Indian, Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian students in higher education.

“I started as an assistant professor at Luskin when Frank Gilliam was our dean, and I am very grateful for this honor,” said Akee, who joined the Luskin School in 2013 and was recently promoted to full professor.

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