Dr. Rupert W. Nacoste is Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor of Psychology at North Carolina State University. The focus of Professor Nacoste's teaching and writing began during his service in the U.S. Navy (1972-1976). During the time of his service, the Navy was having significant racial troubles. Race riots aboard ships carrying weapons of mass destruction. To begin to change its racial climate, the Navy set in motion an intervention program that required all Navy personnel to attend a racial group discussion session that lasted two and one-half days, to improve the ways in which a racial mix of sailors interacted with each other. Selected and trained in the skills and art of facilitating racial group discussions in 1974, for two years he worked on race-relations issues as a facilitator of racial discussions in the U.S. Navy. Dr. Nacoste developed real interests in group dynamics and race relations and pursued those interests sought in higher education.
Since joining the NCSU faculty in 1988, all of Dr. Nacoste’s research and public service efforts have focused on developing systematic understanding of the social psychology of social change in society, and using that scholarly understanding to help people learn to manage the social changes that are influencing their everyday lives. His research on the social psychology of affirmative action has earned him a national and international reputation for how that research illuminates the policy issues. Given that research, he has been asked by various groups to bring his expertise to bear on issues related to the management of diversity. That includes three summers as a Senior Visiting Scholar at the (Department of) Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (Patrick Air Force Base, FL).
To help North Carolina State University develop strategies for managing diversity, Dr. Nacoste served as the first Vice Provost for Diversity and African American Affairs. Since then, he has created a new undergraduate course to help students understand diversity dynamics in their everyday social interactions, "Interpersonal Relationships and Race." Based on student writings from that course, in September, 2012, he self-published his book "Howl of the Wolf: NCSU Students Call Out For Social Change" to help create dialogue on the campus. He gave away 1,000 copies, free to students. A native of Opelousas, LA, a Louisiana black-Creole, Dr. Nacoste is always on the hunt for a bowl of good gumbo. When that search fails, he makes his own. No surprise, then, that the title of his memoir is "Making Gumbo in the University" (2010; Plain View Press: Austin, TX).
Dr. Nacoste received his BA degree in Psychology from the University of Florida (1978) and his PhD in Social Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1982).