Karen E. Bussey, Ph.D.

Deputy Chief of Staff; Secretary to the Board of Trustees

Fayetteville State University

Karen Bussey, Ph.D. is a higher education strategist who works with and for historically underrepresented students in higher education. She is currently the deputy chief of staff at Fayetteville State University and the university’s secretary to the Board of Trustees. At FSU she is responsible for providing executive leadership and strategic administrative support towards the implementation and actualization of the University’s strategic goals and priorities. Prior, she was the policy advisor to New Jersey’s Office of the Secretary of Higher Education implementing the Governor’s education, workforce, and economic development initiatives. Her portfolio helped to recover the economy of the State and adapt from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by closing equity gaps in the state’s education-workforce pipeline.

Karen has a decade of experience in higher education within the institutional, state, and non-profit sectors. She began her career in higher education working in student affairs and served as the assistant director of campus life at Jackson State University leading its student engagement and leadership development initiatives. As a researcher and project manager at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) in Washington, D.C., she worked with policy experts to provide research and recommendations to improve college student success and postsecondary data policies.

Karen has presented at national conferences on postsecondary policy and educational equity, including the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, National Association for College Admission Counseling, the Association for Education Finance and Policy. Notably, she was selected as a 2021 National Center for Education Statistics Data Institute fellow and a 2018 Montpelier Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution fellow. Karen previously served on the board of directors for the Association for the Study of Higher Education.

​Karen completed her doctoral studies in the Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies at Howard University in May 2022. Karen earned a Master of Education in professional counseling with a concentration in student affairs from the University of West Georgia. She holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from South Carolina State University.