Teresa Merriweather Orok, Ph.D.
Nationally recognized for her leadership skills and achievements in research, development and community and economic development, Dr. Teresa Merriweather Orok, President/CEO of the Orok Consulting Group, has spent more than two decades in higher education, commencing from the position of temporary assistant professor to attaining the position of tenured professor of public administration within the University System of Georgia at Albany State University. As faculty, Dr. Merriweather Orok was instrumental in mentoring hundreds of master of public administration students, equipping them with skills and motivation to pursue outstanding professional careers. For the past twelve years, Dr. Orok has served in progressively responsible leadership positions in higher education including vice president and associate vice president. Possessing outstanding leadership and visionary skills, she was one ten persons selected from across the state of Georgia to serve on the Committee to select the Chancellor of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. In the state of Alabama, Dr. Merriweather was selected by the Governor to serve on the state’s Road Map Taskforce on Technology and Research, as well as the statewide education planning advisory board.
Along with her teaching, Dr. Merriweather Orok has long been involved with community and economic development initiatives. During the mid-nineties, Dr. Merriweather Orok became the champion for establishing the Public Service Institute, a research and policy outfit at Albany State University where she provided leadership to HUD funded HBCU projects which espoused economic development, DOL projects, state of Georgia projects, as well as many others. Over the course of her sixteen year tenure at Albany State University, Dr. Merriweather Orok was instrumental in generating over $ 30 million for the University as well as the South Georgia community. She served as the co-founder for the DOL sponsored Youth Opportunity Movement in Albany, a program designed to address the needs of at-risk youth by providing economic, workforce development, education, and social support to hundreds of youth within the Albany community. Additionally, she worked with the Pew Charitable Trust Foundation, under its signature project, the Pew Project for Civic Change to stimulate the first major community collaboration within Albany Georgia. She has been credited with designing and implementing numerous outreach programs covering a span of more than twenty-years that addressed issues of workforce development and ensured access to education to many segments of society who would have otherwise not have access. Also, Dr. Merriweather Orok led the University in the visioning and developing the Albany State University Early Learning Center, a research based enterprise that serves children throughout the southwest Georgia region, as well as provides a research and teaching laboratory to many faculty and researchers across the campus.
Since migrating to Alabama A&M University in 2006, and serving until recently as Vice President for Institutional Research, Planning and Sponsored Programs, Dr. Merriweather Orok has worked with the University community to significantly advance the research enterprise at AAMU. Within a three-year span, Dr. Merriweather Orok had increased the University’s R&D portfolio by more than 50%, emerging from $ 23k in 2005-2006 to nearly $ 50 million in 2009. Additionally, the rate of success of proposals funded reached more than 68%. She has founded several research publication outlets for both Albany State University as well as Alabama A&M University: http://www.aamu.edu/irpsp/publications.aspx
Her accolades are many, with many extending from work performed on national and international levels. She has been invited to participate in the Oxford Roundtable on Women in Higher Education, University of Oxford, Oxford, England,; named in 2011 to Cambridge Who’s Who Elite Professional of the Year in Higher Education. Additionally, in 2009 the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Business League, named her as one of six women nationally to receive the Peak Performance Award for Extraordinary Leadership, Business Development and HBCU Leadership.
In 2009, Dr. Merriweather Orok served as lead host for coordinating and facilitating the White House Initiative on HBCUs Technical Assistance Conference. Conference attracted over 300 attendees, including 50% of all national HBCUs, governmental agencies, business and industry leaders. Similarly, in 2008, she led the University in hosting a similar national conference with the U.S. Department of Defense, Take the Pentagon to the People. She was also appointed to serve a four-year term as a member of the Executive Council of the American Public Land Grant Universities (APLU) Council of Research Policy and Graduate Education. Washington, D.C.
A highly sought after consultant, Dr. Merriweather Orok has provided support to numerous agencies and institutions, including the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the city of Albany, Georgia, Clark Atlanta University, Florida A&M University, Concordia College, Virginia Union University, Tennessee State University, as well as other organizations, agencies and institutions.
Teresa holds the Ph.D. degree in public administration and community and economic development, from the Union Institute and University, Cincinnati; the masters of urban studies degree from Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA; the masters of public administration degree from Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA; and the bachelor of arts degree in communications from Lane College, Jackson, Her post-graduate studies include earning a certificate in Higher Education Policy, Summer Academy, former American Association for Higher Education, Washington, D.C.; Certificate in Management and Leadership, Harvard Institute for Higher Education Management and Leadership Educational Program, Cambridge; National Center for Educational Statistics: Study on the Economic Impact of Educational Institutions, Washington, D.C.; and the Kaleidoscope Leadership Development Program, Atlanta, GA.
Dr. Orok serves on numerous national, statewide and local boards. She has published extensively and serves as the founder and editor of several research publications.
The Orok Consulting Group, LLC --- P.O. Box 1145 --- Franklin, TN, 37065 --- 404.782.8431