St. John's Gate in the Spring

Equity and Inclusion Council

Our Mission

The mission of the St. John’s University Equity and Inclusion Council (the “Council”) aligns with our University’s mission and core values: to promote an academically enriching and supportive climate that allows all members of our community to thrive and succeed. The Council recommends institutional policy and practice changes needed to create an equitable and inclusive learning, teaching, and working environment. 

We aspire to become the national model of inclusive excellence.

The Equity and Inclusion Council is the result of a merger of the Task Force for Diversity and Inclusion and the President’s Multicultural Advisory Committee. The Council’s charges are the same as those given to the Task Force: (i) ensure that the training for staff and administrators and the professional development opportunities for faculty are sufficiently robust in the areas of diversity and inclusion, (ii) recruit and retain faculty, administrators, and staff from historically underrepresented groups, (iii) advocate for diversity and inclusion to be embedded in curricula, working closely with the University Core Curriculum Committee (UCCC) and with relevant department/college curriculum committees for major course of study curricula, and (iv) foster a more inclusive campus climate. The Council is co-chaired by Nada M. Llewellyn, Associate Vice President of Human Resources, Chief Diversity Officer, and Deputy General Counsel; and Manouchkathe Cassagnol, Pharm.D., Associate Clinical Professor, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

2020-2021 Members

Fedaling Agwumezie 
Assistant Director Outcomes Assessment and Community Partnerships

David Bell, Ed.D.
Dean
The School of Education

Sophie R. Bell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Institute for Core Studies

Carline Bennett 
Director Ozanam Scholars Program

Melissa Bortz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Communication Sciences and Disorders

Leonard S. Breton
Associate Director Student Development and RISE Mentoring

Amanda Budha
Senior
St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Alina Camacho-Gingerich, Ph.D.
Chair and Professor, Department of Languages and Literatures and Director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS)
St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Languages and Literatures

Manouchkathe Cassagnol, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCCP, FACC, FAHA
Associate Clinical Professor, EIC Co-Chair, Director of the Academic Center for Equity and Inclusion (ACEI)
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Christine Chim, Pharm.D., BCACP 
Associate Professor
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Clinical Health Professions

Randall F. Clemens, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
The School of Education
Education Administration and Instructional Leadership

Rahsaan Coefield  ‘16CCPS
Alumni 

Rayven E. Danage 
Sophomore
The Collins College of Professional Studies

Anika Dorsey
Admissions Counselor the School of Education

Arturo H. Enamorado III 
Adjunct Professor
St. John's School of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Anita Gomez-Palacio 
Board of Trustee
Retired Executive Director of Operations Council of School Supervisors and Administrators

Christine Marie Goodwin, Ed.D.
Director Institutional Research

Irene Gorosave
Graduate Assistant
Office of Human Resources and Academic Center of Equity and Inclusion 

John Gouldrick, C.M.
Chaplain
St. John’s School of Law

E. Francine Guastello, Ed.D.
Associate Professor
The School of Education
Education Specialties

Danielle Hardy, Esq. ‘16CCPS
Alumni

Olga Hilas, PharmD, MPH, BCPS, BCGP, FASCP
Associate Professor
College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Clinical Health Professions

Jaelyn C. Hill-Rucker 
Sophomore
The Peter J. Tobin College of Business

Kathryn T. Hutchinson, Ph.D. 
Vice President for Student Affairs

Alison G. Hyslop, Ph.D.
Associate Dean and Associate Professor
St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Chemistry

Anna M. Jackman ‘06SOE, ‘07G
Alumni

La Shawn Jackson ‘00SJC
Alumni

Kevin James 
Associate Dean and Associate Professor
St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Monique Jernigan 
Executive Director Multicultural Affairs and Director Inclusivity Resource Center

Cassandra Johnson ‘06G 
Alumni

Imena M. Johnson 
Graduate Student
St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Lauren Jorgensen ‘SJC16
Alumni 

Nancy Kaplan, Ed.D. 
Associate Provost Academic Support Services External Academic Partnerships

Steven Kendrick
Junior
St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Michael J. Knee ’19Pharm
Alumni

Candice Lackwood 
Event Manager
Conference and Auxiliary Services

Nada M. Llewellyn, Esq.
Associate Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, and Deputy General Counsel and Co-Chair

Michael J. Lynch ‘08SVP, ‘83G
Alumni

Remy A. Martin
Graduate Assistant Performing Arts
Division of Student Affairs

Christopher Martinez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
The Collins College of Professional Studies
Criminal Justice, Legal Studies and Homeland Security

Teresa A. Mason, Esq. 
Board Emeriti
Retired Chief of Staff
Office of the Bronx District Attorney

André McKenzie, Ed.D.
Interim Dean University Libraries & Vice Provost for Academic Support Services & Faculty Development

Leah M. Mortenson, Ph.D.
Clinical Instructor
The School of Education
Curriculum and Instruction

Nicolas Motta
Freshman
St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Nicole Mussenden
Adjunct Professor
The Collins College of Professional Studies

Diane Neofytidis
Director of Recruitment

Megan O’Neill 
Ph.D. Candidate
St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Daphné Vanessa Pierre '09SJC, '11G
Alumni

Matthew Pucciarelli, Ph.D. 
Associate Provost of Global Programs

Heather C. Robertson, Ph.D., LMHC, CRC, CASAC
Associate Professor and Coordinator of Clinical Mental Health Counseling
The School of Education
Counselor Education

Linda Romano
Director Digital Communications

Victoria R. Santangelo 
Associate Vice President University Ministry

Kathryn G. Shaughnessy 
Associate Professor and OER Librarian
University Libraries

Cynthia Fico Simpson
Director of HR Services

Channing Smith
Junior
St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Deanne Southwell 
Executive Director Accelerated Study in Associate Programs

Edwin Tjoe, Ed.D. 
Assistant Dean 
The School of Education 
Accelerated Study in Associate Programs

Rita Torsney-Sullivan
Associate Director Office of University Events 

Asja Towns 
Senior
The Peter J. Tobin College of Business

Benjamin Turner
Associate Professor and Librarian
University Libraries

Christian P. Vaupel, Ed.D.
Vice President for Advancement and University Relations

Charles Wankel, Ph.D.
Professor
The Peter J. Tobin College of Business
Management 

Chelsea Dawn Whitten 
Freshman
The Collins College of Professional Studies

Gerald Sylvester Williams '09CPS, '11G
Alumni

Keaton Wong
Director Equal Opportunity and Compliance, and Title IX

Learn More

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Certificate Program

The program launched on October 4, 2017 with a two-day, train-the-trainer module facilitated by external, expert consultants Tanya Williams, Ph.D., and Kathy Obear, Ph.D. The initial cohort consists of 35 faculty and administrators from across the University. Subsequent to the train-the-trainer component, cohort members have been working to deepen their knowledge, education, and understanding of equity and inclusion best practices. Program participants will deliver diversity training to faculty, administrators, and staff. Upon completion of the 18-month program, this cohort will become the University’s first “Inclusion Practitioners,” charged with working within their respective departments or units to identify ways in which policies and procedures may be modified to create a more inclusive workplace.

Academic Center for Equity and Inclusion 

In response to an invitation from the Provost, a faculty workgroup was created to operationalize an Academic Center for Equity and Inclusion. Workgroup members began to meet over summer 2017. The Academic Center has become the hub/portal for faculty to enhance their ability to create curricular content and pedagogical practices that meet the needs of our diverse students as well as our global community.

The "pillars” of the Center include providing education/pedagogical resources, producing skills building/professional development opportunities, facilitating intergroup dialogue, supporting research/scholarship, and advocating for and supporting faculty in the implementation of inclusive teaching practices. The faculty workgroup created the Center’s mission and vision statements and conducted a SWOT and benchmark analysis. In collaboration with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, in 2017-18 the concept of the Academic Center was presented to students for their feedback. The Academic Center has been fully operational since fall 2018.

External consultants Christopher D. Lee, Ph.D., SPHR, and Marcia Harrington, Ph.D., were secured to conduct a faculty-needs assessment in order to determine how to best provide faculty with the resources and skills necessary to improve pedagogical approaches that support the success of all students, with special emphasis on ensuring equity and inclusion. The data collection concluded May 2018 and has been used to inform our equity and inclusion efforts.

Department–Specific Training

In addition to the University-wide training being developed in connection with the Certificate program described above, certain departments will receive diversity training specifically tailored to their needs. These trainings were first provided to the Department Public Safety officers and senior leardership in 2017 and have been ongoing.

Hiring Best Practices Training

The University has engaged the services of Dr. Sonel Shropshire, President of the Academic Network, Inc., to assist in the implementation of faculty recruiting best practices. Dr. Shropshire presented on strategies to successfully recruit diverse candidates at the August 2017 Chairs Retreat. External consultants will provide hiring best practices training (including addressing implicit bias) to members of departmental Personnel and Budget Committees.

Recruitment and Retention Efforts

The University became a member of the Minority Faculty/Staff Applicant Database (MFAD), a significant resource in circulating faculty, staff, and administrative positions to diverse candidates. Task Force members have also represented St. John’s at the Black Doctoral Network, Inc., Collegiate Diversity Recruitment Fair in Philadelphia. This fair provided the University with an opportunity to network with Black and Latinx faculty, post-docs, and graduate students. 

Effective spring 2018, Dr. Gempesaw appointed Nada Llewellyn, in her capacity as Chief Diversity Officer, to serve on the University Personnel Committee. The University Personnel Committee is an administrative and faculty committee that decides faculty tenure and promotion actions.

The University became an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, a nationally recognized, independent organization that provides online career development and mentoring resources for faculty, postdocs, and graduate students.

Core Curriculum

Members of the Task Force continue to collaborate and consult with the University Core Curriculum Committee on the proposed core curriculum outcomes. As a result, the proposed core and core connection outcomes now explicitly incorporate equity and inclusivity themes.

Academic Center for Equity and Inclusion

The Academic Center faculty workgroup determined that the Academic Center will be a central resource to support faculty in the development of high-quality curricula that promotes inclusive excellence and equity in education.

St. John's History Initiative

Task Force member Susie J. Pak, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, began researching the University’s history from an inclusivity perspective, so that the all members of the St. John’s community will have access to our collective story. In fall 2017, a graduate assistant was assigned to help in this effort. Results from this project will be presented as part of the St. John's 150th anniversary celebration.

Bias Reporting

Student Affairs launched an online system for students to report experiences or concerns related to bias, discrimination, harassment, and/or microaggressions within the University community: Stjohns.edu/reportbias.  

The Task Force formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Lecture Series subcommittee, charged with identifying programming opportunities for the University community. 

Task Force co-chairs worked with representatives of Student Government, Inc., to identify resources (both internal and external) to conduct training for student organization leaders.

Task Force co-chairs met with representatives of several student organizations/movements, including Haraya, Students of Consciousness, Spectrum, and Sankofa, to review the Task Force recommendations and discuss their experiences on campus.

Student Engagement 

The Task Force is creating a subcommittee solely comprising students who will be directly involved in our work and to ensure that students remain aware of our progress. The application is being developed in collaboration with representatives from various student organizations/movements and will be distributed to the entire student body in the coming weeks. 

Campus Climate Survey

In fall of 2018, the University launched a campus climate survey designed to measure how our students experience St. John’s from an inclusivity perspective. These assessments will continue on an ongoing basis and will be used to inform our equity and inclusion efforts.

RESPECT

The University continues to solicit applications for RESPECT (Respond and Partner to Engage our Community Team) this semester. RESPECT is a bias-response team that will serve as an additional resource for members of the University community who experience a bias incident. The RESPECT team, which will comprise students, faculty, staff, and administrators, will assist complainants with formally reporting these incidents if the complainant so desires. They will also help connect complainants with counseling resources if requested. Significantly, RESPECT will be charged with designing educational programming to address any identified patterns of behavior that is inconsistent with an inclusive campus climate.

Inclusivity Resource Center

In fall 2018, the University opened the new Inclusivity Resource Center.  Based on the belief that education is the foundation of a more inclusive campus climate, the purpose of this Center is to provide students with resources to assist them in engaging in authentic and informed dialogue with their peers. This Center will offer monthly equity and inclusivity themed workshops to the University community. It will also feature a room that can be reserved by student groups that address the needs of historically marginalized groups and have missions that are consistent with that of the University.

Within the Office of Human Resources, the following positions play a key role in pushing forward the University’s inclusivity initiatives:

  • Keaton Wong, Director of Equal Opportunity, Compliance and Title IX Coordinator, oversees all bias complaints. For additional information, please click here.
  • Diane Neofytidis, Director, Recruitment, implements changes consistent with best practice to support the recruitment of faculty, staff and administrators from historically underrepresented groups. For additional information, please click here.
  • Eileen Caufield, Associate Director, Training and Development, manages the University’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Certificate Program. For additional information about the initial cohort, please click here.