Senior Faculty Fellow and Professor of Communication
Ph.D. – Theatre, University of Michigan Master of Arts – Theatre, University of Kentucky Bachelor of Arts – Education, University of Kentucky
Donna L. Clevinger received her BA (Education) and MA (Theatre) degrees from the University of Kentucky and her Ph.D. (Theatre) from the University of Michigan. She has taught all levels of graduate and undergraduate courses in Theatre with interdisciplinary courses and seminars in Business, the Classics, Communication, English, Honors, Humanities, Leadership, Teacher Education, and Television/Film at a variety of institutions in Texas, Florida, Virginia, Ohio, and Mississippi. As an administrator, she has served institutions as program director, department head, associate dean, and dean.
Dr. Clevinger has acted, directed, choreographed, and served as a critic judge in secondary, university, college, professional, and community theatre and dance settings. Author of two books and numerous newspaper and journal articles, she continues to engage in creative activities and conference presentations. In 2016, Dr. Clevinger was selected as the Drama Master Class Facilitator for the National Collegiate Honors Council, a professional association made up of undergraduate honors programs, colleges, directors, deans, faculty, staff, and students from the United States and abroad.
A Phi Kappa Phi, Dr. Clevinger is the recipient of several teaching and service awards including, most recently, the recipient of the 2019-2020 Outstanding Promotional Activity Award-the College/University level-by the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, and the recipient of the 2019 International Outreach Prize by the Society for Classical Studies for creating the honors college “Classical Week” which includes a two-night classical play and a colloquium on day three—an event held for over 5 consecutive years in northeast Mississippi.
Other honors have included the Educator of the Year Award by the Texas Educational Theatre Association, the Piper Professor Award by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation of San Antonio, Texas, served as a mentor for the Association of Theatre in Higher Education Leadership Institute; selected as a member for the Texas Commission on the Grants Advisory Panel; and invited by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to serve on the statewide “Closing the Gaps” Awareness Campaign for secondary schools. Dr. Clevinger was recognized in the Excellence in Education section of the Ohio Magazine as an outstanding college/university teacher. She was the nominee for Professor of the Year sponsored by the National Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
An alumnus of both the Leadership Texas and Leadership America Associations, Dr. Clevinger was selected to participate in the Harvard Institute for Management and Leadership in Education and the William Harvey’s Leadership Institute at Hampton University. She has served as a regional coordinator of the American Council on Education and past member of the Board of Directors for both the Mississippi and Ohio Alliance for Arts in Education.
Over the years, Dr. Clevinger has created a variety of programs for diversity and inclusion, the arts, and women’s leadership. Through competitive grants, she developed several summer arts programs for gifted and talented secondary school students. Dr. Clevinger has received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, SouthArts, Mississippi Arts Commission, Mississippi Humanities Council, and other state and local organizations for university and college projects and honors programming.
Presently, Dr. Clevinger is the Senior Faculty Fellow in the Shackouls Honors College and Professor of Communication/Theatre at Mississippi State University. She is the honors college’s first full time faculty member. She produces and directs plays, including plays for the college’s annual Classical Week, creates the yearly scholarly lecture series-The Orators, produces student centered activities, teaches seminar courses in the honors curriculum, and seeks and receives funding for the college through grant writing and fundraising.