Mr. Jelani Kahmil Thomas

As a member of the Claflin Family since August of 2009, Mr. Thomas has been requested to add onto the dexterity of the Department of Art, the goals of the School of Humanities, and the Vision of Claflin University.


Over his seven years with the Department of Art, he has sought to increasingly improve upon his charge as an educator with each new academic year. He has found that his knowledge and abilities as an arts educator have tremendously increased by enhancing my understanding of student needs, desires, and employment goals. His growth as an artist provides artist growth within his students, and his students have been a major part of his development as a whole.

A native of Miami, Florida, Jelani K. Thomas uses his creative talents and knowledge of design to breath life into his visual imagery. He views his students as future talent in need of encouragement and/or refinement, and honestly believes any student with the will to improve shall benefit tremendously with his direction.

Mr. Thomas is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC. (1995-1999), and produced the official logo for his alma mater in 1999. Mr. Thomas attended the Savannah Collage of Art and Design and was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree in Illustration (2000-2002). In 2004-05 he was named the Charlotte Mecklenburg School District New Teacher of the Year. In 2013-2014 he received the Excellence in Teaching Award for the School of Humanities at Claflin University.


  • Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA
    • Masters of Fine Arts Degree, Illustration, June 2002
  • Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, NC
    • Bachelor of Science Degree, Community Health, December 1999

Research Interests

  • Illustration of philosophical ideals and literature narratives
  • Concept art imagery and function
  • Digital art production as fine art
  • Drafting and design by traditional and contemporary means


Mr. Thomas’s experiences, as outlined below, have granted him a quantitative and qualitative understanding of relationships and community development.

He has been placed in many leadership and management roles, and he believes this has provided him with many useful tools to facilitate various methods of learning with current students.

  • Instructor of Capoeira de Angola in Columbia South Carolina
  • VISUAL ARTS INSTRUCTOR EASTERN GUILFORD HIGH SCHOOL – Guilford County School System, Gibsonsville, NC Oct 2007-June 2008
  • VISUAL ARTS INSTRUCTOR OLYMPIC HIGH SCHOOL – Charlotte Mecklenburg School System, Charlotte, NC July 2004- Oct 2007

Participated in the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Art Educator’s Forum July 25-31 2010

Activities and Honors

  • 2014 April 25th Claflin University Center For Excellence In Teaching Spotlight Award for School Of Humanities And Social Sciences
  • 2014 April 25th Certiticate of Excellence for service to Claflin University Art Department, for performance in the classroom and a commitment to excellence
  • 2013 Five years of service at Claflin University
  • 2013 One of my Drawing Two students (Mia Ulmer) won First Place at South Carolina State Fair for a work she produced in my course utilizing a technique they learned in
  • 2004-2005 Harris Teeter Outstanding New Teacher of the Year Award for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County School System
  • 2004-2005 Olympic High School New Teacher of the Year Award

Recent Publications

Farmaki E, Chatzistamou I, Kaza V, Kiaris H.

Oncogene. 2016 May 16. doi: 10.1038/onc.2016.161.

[Epub ahead of print]

PMID: 27181207

-Work Featured within figure 6. of article.

Jelani Thomas
Mr. Jelani Kahmil Thomas
Assistant Professor of Art
  • School of Humanities & Social Sciences
Laymen Hall, Room 210