Kideste M. YusefKideste M. Yusef, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Graduate & Undergraduate Programs
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

Welcome to the Center for Law and Social Justice, where we are committed to cultivating the next generation of social and criminal justice leaders.

The Center was established in 2015 as the brainchild and initiative of former Bethune-Cookman University President Edison O. Jackson. Judge Hubert L. Grimes, former Interim B-CU president, served as the founding Director of the Center from 2015-2017. Judge Grimes is a law professional with twenty-five years of experience as a Circuit court judge and mentor to a multitude of young attorneys. In 2017, when he assumed the presidency, Judge Grimes appointed Dr. Randy Nelson as the Center’s Director. Dr. Nelson served in this capacity for five years, from 2017-2022, leading the Center into national prominence as a leader in police-community engagement training. I joined Dr. Nelson in 2018 as the Center’s Assistant Director. Under Dr. Nelson tutelage, the Center trained more than 3,000 law enforcement professionals and approximately 300 community residents, stakeholders, and youth throughout Florida.

In July of 2022, I was appointed as the Center’s third Director. It is my honor and privilege to build upon the efforts of my predecessors as well as the legacy our founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. It is our mission to advance programs and activities which address structural inequality and racial disparities within the law, criminal and juvenile justice systems, and society at-large. Through participation in cutting-edge research and scholarship, critical dialogue, and community-engagement and service, we seek to offer high-quality professional learning experiences for students pursuing careers in the legal and criminal justice field. We also serve as a viable partner and resource in our region working with police agencies, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, educational institutions, corporate partners, non-profit and community-based programs, and faith communities toward finding solutions that result in greater equity for all our residents.