Charlie Nelms Ed.D.  



“Leadership is the art of creating opportunities… The ultimate goal of the servant-leader is to heal, and to make whole. This was the goal of servant-leaders such as Mohandas K. Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela, along with countless individuals in communities around the world. As you can probably tell, servant-leadership is not for the faint of heart. It is a demanding course of action, which takes discipline and responsiveness. But without this special kind of leadership, the great advances of humanity would never have taken place. Too often, people have settled for less, and the world is lesser for it.”


Charlie Nelms had audaciously big dreams.

Growing up black in the Deep South in the 1950s and 1960s, working in cotton fields, and living in poverty, Nelms dared to dream that he could do more with his life than work for white plantation owners sun-up to sun-down. Inspired by his parents, who first dared to dream that they could own their own land and have the right to vote, Nelms chose education as his weapon of choice for fighting racism and inequality. Read More >



Charlie is interviewed by Dr. Lemuel Watson on “Dean’s Corner” from the IU School of Education




Review of Charlie’s book in Diverse Issues.

Charlie Nelms: From Picking Cotton to Leadership at Indiana University

Photos of the book release, April 30, 2019

Bring It On! – WFHB interview

from cotton fields to university leadershipHosts Clarence Boone and Liz Mitchell speak with Dr. Charlie Nelms about the launch of his new book, “From Cotton Fields to University Leadership: All Eyes on Charlie, A Memoir – A Story of How Education was His Weapon of Choice for Fighting Racism and Inequality.”

Dr. Nelms launched his book as part of the IU Bicentennial Well House Series on Tuesday, April 30.

Listen to the interview

Dr. Nelms receives honorary degree

Charlie Nelms, IU alumnus and longtime leader in higher education, was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during IU East’s commencement ceremony held on May 10, 2019.

Dr. Nelms, an IU alumnus, has held administrative positions both inside and out of the university, including associate dean for academic affairs at IU Northwest, chancellor at IU East and the vice president for institutional development and student affairs at IU Bloomington.

— IU News Report


Read Charlie Nelms’ guest blog post at Indiana University Press:

All Eyes on Charlie - IU Press blog graphic



From a national leader in higher education diversity and equity comes a timely collection of compelling reflections on giving, leading, changing, and advancing.

Charlie Nelms grew up as one of 11 children in the Arkansas Delta with parents who believed in education, voting, and land ownership. His parents never had the opportunity to graduate high school, but their faith in the power of education never wavered. They told Charlie and his siblings that they could grow up to be anything they wanted. Read more >


Charlie and Jeanetta Nelms featured in History of 21st Century Scholars Program


Former IU Chancellor Charlie Nelms with Jeanetta S. Nelms, former director of IU 21st Century Scholars Program



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