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Dr. Dereck Rovaris is the Vice Provost for Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer at Louisiana State University.

Name, Title


Dr. M. Evelyn Fields is the Immediate Past Chair of the Department of Teacher Education, and the 2017 Professor of the Year at South Carolina State University.




Dr. Odelet West is an Assistant Dean of Instruction at Vincennes University

Executive Board
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Dr. Dereck Rovaris, Sr.


Dr. Rovaris is the Vice Provost for Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer at Louisiana State University. He is responsible for developing and implementing strategic initiatives that enhance institutional access and equity. He has also served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic and Multicultural Affairs at LSU's Health Sciences Center. Before his career at LSU, he was the Assistant Dean of the Graduate School and Director of Graduate School Placement at Xavier University. Dr. Rovaris has completed an ACE fellowship at DePaul University and the Management Development Program at Harvard University. He is an educational consultant and a featured speaker on the local, national, and international level. He also serves on a variety of educational and non-profit boards including AABHE where he is a Charter Member currently serving a second term on the board. In addition to authoring several successful grant proposals, he has written articles on graduate school placement, several chapters in publications regarding Benjamin Mays, and he authored Mays and Morehouse, which tells the story of not only a phenomenal man and a great college, but also the story of African Americans' quest for higher education. Dr. Rovaris earned a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Illinois, an M.A. in Guidance and Counseling from Xavier University, and a bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas with a triple major in Psychology, Human Development & Family Life, and Crime & Delinquency Studies.

Dr. Evelyn Fields

Immediate Past President

Dr. M. Evelyn Fields is a full professor of Early Childhood Education at South Carolina State University. Dr. Fields is the immediate past chair of the Department of Teacher Education, a former Associate Provost and the past president of the Faculty Senate. She currently serves on the state board of the South Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children. She is the owner of the Seafood Academy Restaurant and Bar of Columbia, in Columbia, South Carolina. This 2017 SCSU "Professor of the Year" holds an M.Ed. and a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Carolina. She is often called regionally and nationally, to speak about current trends in education. She continues to train and mentor students and educators.

Dr. Odelet West

Vice President / President-Elect

Dr. Odelet West is an Assistant Dean of Instruction at Vincennes University. She serves as the dean for Early College Programs in Northeast Fort Wayne, Indiana. For over two decades, she has worked as an administrator, researcher, and instructor. Her research and scholarly publications examine the college experience for African American students, the intersection of the church and the educational process for students of color. Dr. West's collegiate administration career provides a wealth of experience developing and managing programs at distinguished higher education institutions. In her roles at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and at Goshen College, she strategically designed, implemented, and evaluated recruitment and retention initiatives to increase the graduation rate of students of color. She has taught for the Malcom X College in Chicago, Illinois and for Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana. She serves on several boards and works with numerous community organizations. Currently, she serves as the Vice President for the Indiana Association for Blacks in Higher Education and she co-chairs the Allen County College Success Coalition. She is an advisor for the BookStart Project and a consultant for the Greater Fort Wayne YMCA. As an AABHE Board member for over 6 years, she has led several committees. Dr. West earned her B.S. from Indiana University, M.S. from Purdue University, and her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Illinois Chicago. She is fulfilling her calling as a consultant and minister to help others reach their goals and dreams.

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Dr. Shantay Bolton

Vice President - Administration

Dr. Shantay Bolton is Vice President of Human Resources at Tulane University. She is responsible for leading the organization in the design, development and implementation of HR programs, services and systems.  Previously she also held roles as Assistant Vice President of HR Strategic Initiatives and Associate Vice President of Human Resources at Tulane, as well as Vice President of HR at Tuskegee University. Bolton has more than 15 years experience in human resources, implementing leadership development programs, employee engagement, talent management and strategic training projects through organizational development. She provides thought leadership on generational differences in the workplace and coaching of multigenerational leaders. As the creator of E3©: Engage, Educate, Empower, an Action Learning Model for Employee Engagement and Coaching, she uses it as the foundation to build teams and to facilitate organizational culture transformation.  Dr. Bolton is a professional devoted to connecting theory to practical application through HR functions and OD practices in higher education. She has recognized strengths in leading strategic organizational change, transformative HR process improvement and human capital capacity building to enhance team performance. She was recently elected as a Board Member-at-Large for AABHE, previously served on the board of National Association for Blacks in HR (NAAAHR – Life Member) and a graduate of the Leadership Mentoring Institute (LMI). Since graduating from the Leadership and Mentoring Institute (2011), she served as the founding editor for LMI’s newsletter, on several committees and has been a contributing faculty member since 2012. Dr. Bolton is a peer-reviewer for the Child Development Journal and the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychologists (SIOP).  She is also a Certified MBTI Practitioner, Executive Coach (ICF-ACTP), Organizational Development Certified Professional (ODCP), Lean Six Sigma Professional and de Bono 6-Thinking Hats/Parallel Thinking Trainer. She earned a B.A. degree in Psychology (2002) and a M.S. in Counseling Psychology (2006) from Alabama A&M University.  She received her Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology (2010) with a concentration in Industrial Psychology from Walden University and a MBA in Corporate Business (2014) from Florida International University.

Dr. Kimberly Smith


Dr. Kimberly S. Smith joined Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University as an administrator where she serves as the Director of the University Academic Advising Center. Dr. Smith’s primary responsibility involves directing the University Studies department which is the academic "home” for students who are undecided about a major or want to explore a variety of degree programs before selecting a major. In this role,she also provides leadership and coordination for university-wide programs and initiatives related to enhancing academic advising. She is responsible for developing, implementing, monitoring, and assessing academic advising activities throughout the university community through administrative collaborations with the academic colleges, the University Academic Advising Center, and various other university stakeholders in support of undergraduate education. In 2010, she served as the Interim Associate Vice Provost for Academic Support Services where she provided university leadership for institutional support programs and services for students. Dr. Smith earned her B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of Richmond, M.A. degree in Counselor Education from Radford University, and Ph.D. degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Dr. Marilyn Sutton-Haywood


Dr. Marilyn Sutton-Haywood has thirty-six years of experience in higher education with over a dozen in executive management where her skills in leadership, administration, strategic planning, program review, assessment, reaffirmation, faculty credentialing, junior faculty recruitment and development, new faculty orientation, and Learning Communities were refined. She has held administrative roles at Johnson C. Smith University, Bethune-Cookman University, Shaw University, and Pfeiffer University. She holds a B.S. from North Carolina Central University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Biology from Atlanta University. She also earned a Certificate in Educational Management from Harvard Universiy. During her time as Vice President for Academic Affairs, she was involved in three Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) reaffirmation processes. All three institutions received no recommendations from the accrediting agency. She has also led ATS, NCATE, CAATE, CAAHEP, and CSWE reaffirmations. She has been with AABHE over seven years and she is serving her second term on the Board. Dr. Sutton-Haywood is the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, North Carolina.

Dr. Anita Hawkins

Financial Secretary

Dr. Anita Hawkins is a charter member of AABHE and our former treasurer. She was one of the doctoral graduate awardees when AABHE was the Black Caucus of the American Association of Higher Education. Dr. Hawkins was nominated and appointed to the AABHE board in March 2008. She served on both the Leadership and Mentoring Institute (LMI) Committee and the Program Committee. She is also an alumnae of LMI (2011). In addition to AABHE, Dr. Hawkins’ other professional associations include the American Public Health Association (APHA) for which she chaired the Equal Health Opportunities Committee (2008/2010), the American Evaluation Association and Academy Health. Dr. Hawkins has thirty years of experience working with institutes of higher education holding adjunct faculty positions with the University of Maryland, University College (UMUC) and Lincoln University in Pennsylvania before accepting a full time faculty appointment with Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. Currently, she is the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs for the School of Community Health and Policy at Morgan State University and Director of the Public Health Graduate Program and the Equity in Health Professions Education Initiative. Before assuming the position as Assistant Dean,she was the Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management. Dr. Hawkins received her B.S. in Psychology from Georgetown University and a Masters of Human Services Degree from Lincoln University in PA and her Ph.D. in Community Health Education from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Board Members

Dr. Barbara J. Johnson

Director of Leadership & Mentoring Institute

Dr. Barbara J. Johnson is currently Vice President for Accreditation Relations at the Higher Learning Commission, the regional accreditor for colleges and universities. Dr. Johnson has extensive experience in higher education as both an administrator and faculty member. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, she served as a Senior Vice President at Meharry Medical College and as a Professor and Chair of the Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University. Her previous professional experience includes student affairs administration, community college and adult education and marketing research. She is also a higher education and corporate consultant. Her clients have included Wake Forest University Medical School, Vanderbilt University, and CB&A Market Research Group. Dr. Johnson has held faculty appointments at the University of New Orleans, Jackson State University, Volunteer State Community College, and the Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. Her publications address the recruitment, development, retention and experiences of students and faculty in a variety of post-secondary institutions. Dr. Johnson received a B.S. in Accounting from Winston-Salem State University, an M.B.A. from The Ohio State University, and a Ph.D. in Education and Human Development from Vanderbilt University. 

Dr. Joseph H. Silver, Sr.

Director of International Study Tour

Dr. Joseph H. Silver, Sr. is the President of Silver and Associates, a full service higher education consulting firm. The firm has a fifteen year track record of assisting colleges and universities solve complex problems, accreditation issues, and developing sound strategic planning. He was an advisor to the firm for many years until he assumed the position of President. Dr. Silver served as President of Alabama State University as a dynamic and innovative educator and leader. He was described as having the "expertise, background and vigor to continue the University's important Vision 2020 Plan and its academic and physical transformation, well into the 21st century.” He has been the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Clark-Atlanta University and at Savannah State University. He was the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the University System of Georgia. He has a reputation for being a transformational and innovative leader with great vision and principled ethics. He has sound strategic planning skills and is championed as a strong academic thinker who is well positioned throughout the academy and in the community. His work is recognized on the regional, national and international levels. In March 2012 Dr. Silver received the leadership award from AABHE and this award has now been named the "Joseph H. Silver, Leadership and Mentoring Award" in his honor. A native of North Carolina, Silver earned the B.A. degree in political science (summa cum laude) from St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, N.C., and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). He also engaged in summer study at Oxford University, APS- Stanford University and the American Judicature Society. He is married with two children.

Dr. Roland Smith

Director of Partnerships

Dr. Roland Smith is the Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at Rice University. He teaches ethnographic research methods. Before Rice he served as Executive Assistant to the President and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame. He began his career in higher education leading TRIO programs in Notre Dame’s Institute for Urban Studies. As Chair of the AAHE Black Caucus, he served as the transitional and Charter President for AABHE after AAHE closed it doors in 2005. He was in the first cohort of Graduate Student Awardees within AAHE in 1986 and has been a faculty member for AABHE's Leadership and Mentoring Institute (LMI) since it started in 2003. He served as Board Chair of the National Association of Presidential Assistants in Higher Education, receiving its distinguished achievement award in 2013. In Texas, he is the past Board Chair of the Education Foundation of Harris County and LifeGift Organ Donation Center. He has been a Board Member of the Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education, Houston Area Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club member, and a Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He is a member of the 100 Black Men of Houston. Born in Washington, DC, Dr. Smith holds a B.A. degree in Anthropology and Sociology from Bowie State University, an MPA degree from Indiana University and an Ed.D degree from Harvard University. He is married to Valerie Peyton Smith; and he is the proud father of daughter, Rovelle (deceased), son, Roland III and grandsons, Roland IV and Jaxon.

Dr. Fred A. Bonner II

Director of Research & Graduate Programs

Dr. Fred A. Bonner II is Professor and Endowed Chair in Educational Leadership and Counseling and Director of the MACH-III Center in the Whitlowe R. Green College of Education at Prairie View A&M University. Prior to joining Prairie View, he served as the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Chair in Education at Rutgers University as well as previously serving as Professor of Higher Education Administration and Associate Dean of Faculties at Texas A&M University at College Station. He earned a B.A. in Chemistry from the University of North Texas, an M.S. Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Baylor University, and an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration and College Teaching from the University of Arkansas. Dr. Bonner has been the recipient of numerous awards, including AABHE's Black Caucus Dissertation Award and the Educational Leadership, Counseling and Foundation's Dissertation of the Year Award from the College Of Education at the University of Arkansas. His work has been featured nationally and internationally.


Dr. Crystal Rae Coel, Esq.

Director of Communications

Crystal Rae Coel, Esquire is the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity for the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. She joined Louisville Law in May 2020 after 25 years at Murray State University, where she held a variety of leadership positions, including the Head of Elizabeth College and the Director of the multiple national award-winning Speech and Debate Union. She was the first African American Head of a residential college. Dean Coel has a resume that speaks to a career of student-focused service. Before coming to Kentucky in 1995, she was an award-winning lecturer and the Executive Producer of student-produced cable television productions at the University of Wisconsin at Platteville. She served for 10 years as a Governor-appointed member of Kentucky’s Public Advocacy Commission. She has appeared in Who's Who in American Law and Who's Who in Education. She has received numerous awards including the 2019 Max Carman Teaching Excellence Award, 2019 Murray State University Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award, the 2017 Excellence in Leadership award from the National Society of Leadership and Success, and many others. She has taught in London, England and Dublin, Ireland. In 2012 she was hired to train senior administrators to be better leaders and business presenters for the National Taiwan University in Taipei. She is the author of THE Presentation Guide Book: From the Classroom to the Boardroom (3rd ed.) and the co-author for Workplace Bullying Policies, Higher Education, and the First Amendment: Building Bridges not Walls that received national press releases from Taylor and Francis and the National Communication Association. This suburban Philadelphia native is a Pennsylvania attorney. She is an active member of several Greek and philanthropic organizations. Dean Coel is a freelance corporate speech writer and communication consultant. Her clients have included the National Weather Service and Kroger Inc. subsidiaries. Her leadership embodies: mediocrity is never an option.


Dr. Shewanee Howard-Baptiste

Dr. Shewanee Howard-Baptiste is an Associate Professor at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the Department of Health and Human Performance.She teaches courses related to Health Behavior Change, Sociology of Sport, Personal Health and Community and Environmental Health at the undergraduate and graduate level. She holds the inaugural position as Intern in the Office of the Provost at UTC, the first of its kind for the 2016-2017 school year. In this role she coordinated, developed and served an integral role in implementing a Master’s in Public Health at her current institution. She also served as the Physical and Activity Health Coordinator for three years for a national grant in the School of Nursing, which addressed multiple chronic conditions across the lifespan. At the center of teaching, service and research is the ability to collaborate and pursue positive change. She has also taught and studied abroad in Denmark, Switzerland, France, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. Every summer she travels to Haiti to teach and develop a health and physical education curriculum and works with current teachers to create ways to make students healthier at home and at school. Dr. Howard-Baptiste has been teaching at the secondary and collegiate level for almost twenty years. Her research interests center on the experiences of developing ways for communities to live healthier by developing innovative and collaborative initiatives that bring college campuses and communities together. She considers it an honor and a privilege to work with students in any capacity.  

Mrs. Vicki L. Bonds, M.S., M.Ed.

Mrs. Vicki L. Bonds is the Director of Health Professions and Pre-Doctoral Programs for the Indiana University School of Medicine. She has more than 20 years of extensive experience devoted to higher education student affairs. She creates and implements innovative inquiry-based learning programs and experiences that integrate research and education in the health professions. This work provides effective pathways for lifelong active learning and professional development in support of college students. Her research interests include diverse college students’ experiences, learning, retention, post-baccalaureate achievement, success and leadership development. She has managed several government funded training programs targeting historically under-represented and diverse populations in higher education. She holds Master's degrees in Higher Education and Student Affairs and in Counseling and Counselor Education. Ms. Bonds is currently a doctoral student in the Urban Education Studies Ph.D. program at the Indiana University School of Education Indianapolis.

Dr. Lonnie Booker, Jr. 

Dr. Lonnie J. Booker, Jr., is originally from Texarkana, Texas. He attended Texas A&M University-College Station where he received his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and a certification in Homeland Security from the Bush School of Public Policy. He holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Criminal Justice from Texas A&M University-Texarkana and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Jarvis Christian College. He has amassed over 13 years of law enforcement experience ranging from serving as a police officer and detective in narcotics, gang unit and property crimes to being a Special Weapons and Tactic (SWAT) hostage negotiator and adult probation officer. During Dr. Booker’s law enforcement career he was certified as a police officer in the states of Texas and Arkansas. His research and scholarly interests include campus safety and institution crisis management planning, generational students of color, and academically gifted student athletes of color. He completed a crisis management practicum at Dillard University. He was responsible for drafting and implementing crisis management plans for the Division for Student Success. He also drafted and implemented an emergency plan and guide for the Dillard University residential life community. Dr. Booker is a published author and has presented at numerous national, regional and international conferences. Additionally, he was the first Assistant Professor of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at Florida State College at Jacksonville. Currently, Dr. Booker is the Director/Assistant Professor of Emergency Management Programs for Kansas Wesleyan University.

Mr. Richard Bray, M.Ed., M. Div.

Mr. Richard Bray serves as the Community Partnerships Manager for the IUPUI Family School and Neighborhood Engagement. He develops and strengthens strategic partnerships with community organizations to equip, empower, and engage persons to transform communities where people live, learn, work, worship and play. With over twenty years of combined community engagement and higher education experiences, he works to deepen IUPUI’s involvement with underrepresented groups through economic development activities, community relations and alumni programs. Richard mentors college students, serves on various committees on the IUPUI campus and in the Central Indiana community. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication, a Master of Education in College Student Personnel from The Ohio University, and a Master of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, IN.  An ordained Baptist minister, Mr. Bray's research interest is transitional leadership in faith-based organizations.


Dr. Mordecai I. Brownlee

A product of the AABHE Leadership and Mentorship Institute (LMI), Dr. Mordecai I. Brownlee currently serves as the Vice President for Student Success at St. Philip's College in San Antonio, Texas. In addition, he serves as an adjunct faculty member for the University of Charleston and Morgan State University.
As the Vice President of Student Success, Dr. Brownlee has steered St. Philip’s College to its highest enrollment to date at over 13,000 students enrolled and the College’s largest graduation class in its 121-year history. 
Dr. Brownlee received his Ed.D in Educational Leadership from Lamar University, where he earned the Outstanding Doctoral Student Award for his research regarding Texas House Bill 5 and the future of higher education. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Human Resource Management and Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication & Political Science from Houston Baptist University. His A.A. in Liberal Arts is from Kingwood College.
Dr. Brownlee currently resides in San Antonio, Texas with his wife of 13 years, Daphne Brownlee, their son, Mordecai Jr. and their daughter, Lauren Machelle.

Mr. Marcus D. Corbett, M.P.A. 

Mr. Marcus D. Corbett serves as the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Services at Denmark Technical College. He has extensive knowledge and experience working in numerous comprehensive student services environments. He previously served as Director of the Black Males Project, a component of the Enrollment Management & Student Success and Retention Programs at South Carolina State University that assists African American males as they transition from high school to college. In addition, he also served as Director of the Call Me MISTER Program for the Department of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences which collaborates with Clemson University. He has been an English Adjunct Professor for numerous institutions; and for over twenty years, he has dedicated his life to working with a variety of public and private non-profit organizations. He has held instructional and management level positions, while also administering programs for children and families in New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C.and South Carolina. He worked with the Department of Social Services, Department of Juvenile Justice, Boys Town, Working Organization for Children and Adults, Transitional Services and Carolina Children’s Home and Interdisciplinary Center for Child Development. Corbett has a wide-range of training and experience. Mr. Corbett has a Bachelor of Human Services degree, Masters of Public Administration, and he completed all the coursework for a Masters of English.He also has certifications from The South Carolina Technical College System Student Affairs Institute and the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement for the Student Exchange Visitors Program.

Ms. Margo Foreman

Margo Foreman is a proud member of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Ed.  (AABHEE) and has been since 2009.  Attending the annual conference every year she serves as a regular presenter as well.  Ms. Foreman is also a 2012 alum of the longstanding Leadership Mentoring Institute (LMI). Moreover, she has recently elected been to the AABHE Board of Directors and will begin a three year term after the 2018 Induction Ceremony. In November 2017, Ms. Foreman was appointed as the Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity at Iowa State University (ISU). Margo has been instrumental in the growth and development of the administration’s efforts to build and sustain a more inclusive Iowa State. She oversees all aspects of equal opportunity, affirmative action, discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct programs and serves as the university's Title IX coordinator. The scope of her work includes supporting excellence in research, teaching and learning through the execution of the University’s strategic plan and Principles of Community. In addition she engages in developing career exploration programs designed to recruit, develop and retain diverse faculty and staff. ​Before her 2016 spring arrival at Iowa State University as the Director of Equal Opportunity, Margo spent 18 years at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) prior to continuing her higher ed. career at ISU. Devoting 17 of those years holding multiple positions within the IUPUI Office of Equal Opportunity from Executive Secretary to Associate Director.  Margo also served her institution as adjunct faculty in the Richard M. Fairbanks IU School of Public Health and the Indiana University School of Engineering and Technology.  As a certified affirmative action professional (CAAP), intergroup dialogue facilitator and conflict resolution mediator she employs a wide diversity of tools alongside her content expertise when she practices her craft of ensuring equity and inclusion. Ms. Foreman’s commitment to helping to create a more safe and inclusive environment far exceeds her campus responsibilities. She is actively engaged in a number of organizations, initiatives, projects, and councils that promote equity, inclusion, and success for diverse individuals on and off campus. In addition, Margo has been a contractor with Indiana Counties Department of Children Services as a diversity trainer; served as a program director for Naomi’s House a non-profit organization whose mission is to help homeless and displaced first time mothers by providing 24 months of shelter, education and parenting and provided consultant to the Indianapolis Minority Health Coalition and was awarded the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute Grant to implement a cultural assessment and training project for public health practitioner.Ms. Foreman is a member of the American Association for Access Equity and Diversity (AAAED) since 2007 and has presented at the organization’s national conferences.  She regularly presents at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE and at the l American Public Health Association (APHA0 conferences. Margo received degrees in business administration and computer science from Kent State University; a B.S. in general studies with minors in health administration, and behavioral science from Indiana University; and obtained her Masters of public health from the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Medicine in Indianapolis.  She enjoys spending time with friends and family and is a culinary tourist.

Dr. Jody Thompson Marshall

Dr. Jody Thompson Marshall is currently the Director of the Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program (MAOP) at Virginia Tech. Her responsibilities include managing the daily operations for the MAOP office and providing academic support for both undergraduate and graduate students who participate in MAOP. In her role, she is the Principal Investigator for the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Her work experience at Virginia Tech includes working as the Associate Director of MAOP, Assistant Director in the Center for Academic Enrichment and Excellence and Interim Disability Outreach Coordinator for Multicultural Affairs. Previously, she worked as a high school teacher in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina. Dr. Marshall earned her Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Evaluation at the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at Virginia Tech.

Dr. Imani Michelle Scott

Dr. Imani Michelle Scott is a scholar, consultant, and specialist in the areas of human communication and conflict analysis and resolution. She holds a doctorate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University, a graduate degree in Speech Communication from Montclair State University and a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts from Florida Atlantic University. In addition to having published in numerous scholarly journals and texts, Dr. Scott is editor of and a contributing author to the recently published book: Crimes against Humanity in the Land of the Free: Can a Truth and Reconciliation Process Heal Racial Conflict in America? (2014). She is a regular contributor to Huffington Post, an award-winning writer, a co-editor of the Companion to Peace and Conflict Studies Handbook (pending 2019) and a frequent guest speaker at national and international symposiums on topics related to systemic racism, domestic violence, school violence, police violence, oppression-related trauma, resilience studies and intercultural communication. As a Professor of Communication for the internationally-acclaimed university for art and design, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Dr. Scott teaches courses in Intercultural Communication and Public Speaking. She is also a member of the Speakers Bureau for the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence. Formerly, she has served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of African American Studies and Affiliates, the Advisory Board of The Truth Telling Project, and held membership in the Association for Conflict Resolution, the National Communication Association and the American Association for University Professors. She is currently a member of the National Action Network, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.


Dr. Alexander C. Okwonna

Dr. Alexander Okwonna currently serves as the Dean of Health and Natural Sciences at San Jacinto College’s South Campus. He oversees the operation of five natural science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology, and Engineering) and eight health science (Nursing, Pharmacy Technician, Physical Therapist Assistant, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Kinesiology, Personal Trainer, and Physical Education) programs.


Dr. Okwonna received an Associate of Science degree from Houston Community College, a Master’s in Education degree from the University of Houston, and a Doctorate in Pharmacy from Texas Southern University. Dr. Okwonna is a licensed Pharmacist and has over twenty years of experience in community and hospital settings. Before accepting his current position, Dr. Okwonna taught pharmacology courses for ten years and served eight years in the United States Army.


Active in a number of professional, health, industry, and community organizations, Dr. Okwonna serves on the Pearland Chamber of Commerce Community Council and the Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital Advisory Board. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Texas Association of College Technical Educators (TACTE) and Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education (TABPHE). Dr. Okwonna is an active member of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE) and a 2014 alum of the Leadership and Mentoring Institute (LMI). He is also a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.


Dr. Okwonna has received several awards including The U.S. Army Certificate of Achievement for Outstanding Performance as Class Leader, San Jacinto College’s Distinguished Faculty Award, the Inaugural Houston Community College Distinguished Alumni Award, and The League for Innovation in Community College’s John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Award. 

Dr. Jack Thomas

Dr. Jack Thomas is the 11th President of Western Illinois University where he also served as the Provost and Academic Vice President. He  is an American Council on Education Fellow, a Kellogg-NAFEO Fellow and a Harvard Leadership Program graduate. He was the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University and the Vice Provost for academic affairs and the Interim Dean of the College of Continuing Education and Distance Learning at MTSU. He was also the Interim President, Professor of English and Director of the Scholars' Program at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He has taught English and he was a coach at South Carolina State University and at Johnson C. Smith University. He earned his doctorate in English Literature and Criticism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, his master's degree from Virginia State University, and his bachelor's degree in English from Alabama A & M University. 

Dr. Jerrel Wade

Dr. Jerrel Wade is the Vice President of Administrative Services at Lone Star College – Tomball campus, located in Tomball, Texas. During his 14 years in higher education, Dr. Wade’s experiences include budgeting, facility management, recruitment, student life, Greek affairs, judicial affairs, orientation, mentoring, and first year experience programs. He earned his B.S. in Education and his M.Ed. in Adult and Higher Education from the University of Oklahoma, and received his Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration and Supervision from the University of Houston. Among his service-oriented activities, Dr. Wade is the 2016-2018 fellow for the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education Leadership and Mentoring Institute (AABHE-LMI, class of 2015), a board member for the American Association for Blacks in Higher Education, and he is a lifetime member of the Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education (TABPHE). Locally, Dr. Wade serves as member of the North Shore Rotary Club, the North Channel Area Chamber of Commerce, and he is a founding member of the Mu Mu Nu graduate chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated.


Mr. Ethan Zagore, ABD

Mr. Ethan Zagore, ABD currently serves as the Director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at the University of Chicago, developing a wide variety of programs and resources related to racial and ethnic identity for all UChicago students, advocating for multicultural students, fostering intercultural engagement and raising critical consciousness among campus community members.

Prior to this position, he served as the Director of TRiO Programs at the University of Notre Dame for nearly four years, providing oversight for two U.S. Department of Education sponsored TRiO college access programs, Educational Talent Search and Upward Bound. In addition, he served for almost three years at LeMoyne-Owen College (HBCU) in Memphis, Tennessee, as the Director of the Student Achievement Center. He was also an instructor at the college.

Born and raised in the West Garfield Park community of Chicago and a product of Providence-St. Mel High School, Mr. Zagore was the Associate Director of an Upward Bound program at Home of Life Community Development Corporation from 2007 to 2011. He attained his B.B.A in Marketing from Howard University and his M.A. in Inner City Studies Education from Northeastern Illinois University. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in Urban Higher Education at Jackson State University (dissertation stage).