Center on Race, Leadership & Social Justice

Inclusive Excellence | Leadership | Service Learning


The mission of the Center on Race, Leadership and Social Justice is to inspire and equip the next generation of lawyer-leaders.


Inclusive Excellence is needed to bring together the brightest minds to create solutions to business, economic and social challenges of the 21st century and beyond.

The Center on Race, Equity and Social Justice at the University of St. Thomas School of Law will serve as a national convener of thought leaders, scholars, and students. The Center will foster a robust exchange of ideas and practical strategies for advancing the common good. This will begin in the classroom through experiential learning. Law students will leverage their legal training to address social justice challenges. Outside the classroom- the Center’s programming and community outreach will support students on the journey of discovering the leader within. Students will interface with lawyers who are using their legal skills to create new inroads to justice and freedom. Through this exchange, students will also gain in-depth insights related to civil rights and human rights law and advocacy strategies.

The Center will draw upon the teaching experience, expertise, and pedagogy of Dr. Artika R. Tyner. Dr. Tyner has developed a leadership theory which focuses on connecting students’ technical training and skills development with their moral responsibility to leave the world a better place than how they found it. Over the past decade, Dr. Tyner has worked with law students to implement practical solutions to long standing challenges such as:

  • Eradicating racial disparities in the criminal justice and education systems
  • Ending mass incarceration
  • Advancing policy reform  
  • Supporting economic development and social entrepreneurship


Learning fundamental principles, generalizations, or theories related to diversity, inclusion, leadership development, and global citizenship.
The coursework, events and programming sponsored by the Center on Race, Leadership and Social Justice will provide students, faculty and staff with the tools needed to develop core leadership skills.

Learning to apply course materials (to improve thinking, problem solving, and decision-making).
In the furtherance of scholarly engagement and societal reform, the coursework and programming of the Center will foster critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills.

Learning to analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, and points of view.
Students, faculty, and staff will develop key tools for analyzing and interpreting current legal, diversity and inclusion, leadership, and social justice topics.



Founder & Director

Dr. Artika Tyner, J.D., M.P.P., Ed.D.
Dr. Artika R. Tyner is a passionate educator, author, sought after speaker, and advocate for justice. At the University of St. Thomas, Dr. Tyner serves as the Associate Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. She is committed to training students to serve as social engineers who create new inroads to justice and freedom.

Tyner received her B.A. from Hamline University (Major: English; Certificate: Conflict Studies). Due to her passion for advocating for social justice and educational policy reform, she decided to pursue graduate studies at the University of St. Thomas. She began her journey with law school since she recognized that the law is a language of power and therefore she sought to become well versed in the law.

Subsequently, Tyner earned a Master of Public Policy and Leadership in order to gain tools for effecting social change through policy reform efforts. Later, inspired by the legacy of W.E.B. Dubois, she obtained a Doctorate in Leadership. Her doctoral studies provided her with key tools for serving in her community and promoting social justice.

Dr. Tyner is committed to empowering others to lead within their respective spheres of influence. She provides leadership development and career coaching for young professionals. She has also developed leadership educational materials for K-12 students, college/graduate students, faith communities and nonprofits. Additionally, Dr. Tyner teaches leadership coursework on ethics, critical reflection, and organizational development. Her research focuses on diversity/inclusion, community development, and civil rights. She has presented her research and conducted leadership training programs both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Tyner leads by example by organizing policy campaigns, fostering restorative justice practices, developing social entrepreneurship initiatives, and promoting assets-based community development. She serves as a global citizen by supporting education, entrepreneurship, and women’s leadership initiatives in Africa.

Dr. Artika Tyner - Faculty / Staff Bio - Tyner

Program Director

Monica Habia, M.P.P.
Monica Habia is a global citizen, educator, community advocate, and emerging scholar. Habia is a public policy and leadership graduate from the University of St. Thomas master’s program. A 2016 graduate-fellow of the Luann Dummer Center for Women, her research explored the role of African women leaders. Currently, she serves as the program manager for the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

Monica was a 2015 MILEAD Fellow, a fellowship that recognizes outstanding emerging women leaders across Africa. The fellowship launched her service learning projects in deprived communities in Ghana. She focused on improving literacy rates, access to education, and the leadership development of young women.

Prior to her studies in the United States, Monica Yaa Habia was born and raised in Ghana, where she earned her BA from the University of Ghana in Political Science. Upon completion of her degree, she served as a teaching assistant at the Department of Political Science and program coordinator at the Ghana YMCA.

As a champion for educational success, she recently co-authored a children’s book – “Amazing Africa: A to Z” to help bridge the knowledge gap about Africa. She is an active volunteer in K-12 settings and community organizations (African Immigration Services, Ujamaa Place, Books for Africa). She aspires to become a human rights attorney.

Monica Habia - Faculty / Staff Bio - Habia