The Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) is pleased to welcome Valerie Holton, PhD, LCSW, as the new Executive Editor of Metropolitan Universities journal. She is the 3rd Executive Editor of the journal, which was founded in 1989 by Dr. Ernest Lynton.  Dr. Barbara Holland, who nominated Holton for this role, has served as the Executive Editor since 1997. Dr. Holland’s contributions to the journal, the Coalition, and our member institutions are immeasurable.  Her leadership in the organization over the past two decades has been a constant asset.  Thus, as she transitions out of the role of Executive Editor she will remain actively involved as the Coalition’s first Strategic Advisor.

“CUMU members contribute greatly to change and innovation in higher education, and the journal is the key platform through which we share these discoveries and insights,” Dr. Holland said. “Our new Executive Editor, Valerie Holton, will introduce a new perspective shaped by the next generation of scholars who will lead our urban and metropolitan universities going forward. As the journal goes online, it is an ideal time to ensure that CUMUs expands its reach and impact in support of progress in higher education.”

Holton brings extensive teaching, administrative and community-based practice experience to the Journal.  She is the inaugural director of community-engaged research at Virginia Commonwealth University. In this role, she leads efforts to establish research infrastructure that advances VCU’s commitment as an urban research university. A committed educator, she has developed an innovative, connected-learning course on community-engaged research titled, “Collaborative Curiosity” course, which prepares university and community partners to undertake collaborative research strategies.

“I am honored to join CUMU in its work to enhance the capacity and impact of urban and metropolitan universities,” said Dr. Holton. “CUMU’s members are leaders in innovative practices in higher education and have the unique opportunity and obligation to engage with and have a positive impact on their local, regional and international communities. I look forward to advancing the journal’s mission of informing campus leaders in their efforts to influence and respond to the emerging issues shaping higher education. I am deeply grateful this opportunity to build on the great work of the journal’s esteemed past executive editors, Barbara Holland and Ernest Lynton.”

Dr. Holton is not new to CUMU or the journal, having presented at the conference, been published in the journal, and served as guest editor of the journal for  the 2015 Volume 26.2 To What End: Measuring Engagement With Our Communities.

“The Coalition has worked closely with Dr. Holton in the past and has greatly benefited from her leadership and foresight. I am excited that she is now at the helm of the Metropolitan Universities journal and know that she will prove indispensable in the continuing success of the publication.  It’s also with sincere thanks and respect we recognize the infinite and impactful contributions Dr. Barbara Holland has made during her tenure as Executive Editor–she represents the very best of our collective work,” Dr. Richard Guarasci, CUMU President.

Welcome to the team, Dr. Holton!

Dr. Holton can be contacted at