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.

2019-2020 Members

Dohra K. Ahmad, Ph.D.
Professor English, St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Sophie R. Bell, Ph.D.
Associate Professor Institute for Core Studies

Carline Bennett
Director Ozanam Scholars Program

Sandra Beysolow, Ph.D., PA-C, DFAAPS
Associate Professor Industry Professional, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Leonard S. Breton
Associate Director Student Development & R.I.S.E. Mentor

Natalie P. Byfield, Ph.D.
Associate Professor Sociology & Anthropology, St. John's College of Arts and Sciences

Ebony J. Calvin
Director Campus Activities

Alina Camacho-Gingerich, Ph.D.
Professor Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Joanne M. Carroll
Associate Professor Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Manouchkathe Cassagnol, Pharm.D.
Associate Clinical Professor – Co-Chair

Eileen Caufield
Associate Director Training and Development

Judy Chen
Associate Provost for Academic Resource Management and Planning

Kamille N. Dean
Director of Diversity and Inclusion, School of Law

John A. Diffley
Senior Associate Athletics Director for Administration

Tri M. Duong, C.M.
Campus Minister for Vincentian Service

David N. Gachigo
Associate Dean Student Affairs

Christine Marie Goodwin
Director Institutional Research

Beverly Greene
Professor Psychology, St. John's College of Arts and Sciences

Danielle Haynes
Associate Director Equal Opportunity & Compliance

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

Monique Jernigan
Executive Director Multicultural Affairs & Director Inclusivity Resource Center

Nada Llewellyn
Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Chief Diversity Officer, and Deputy General Counsel – Co Chair

David Martinez
Director Payroll & Human Resources Information Systems

André McKenzie, Ed.D.
Vice Provost Academic Support Services

Simon Møller, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Diane M. Neofytidis
Director Recruitment

Susie J. Pak, Ph.D.
Associate Professor History, St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Anita Gomez Palacio
Board of Trustee

Cynthia R. Phillips, Ed.D
Associate Professor of Accounting and Taxation, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business

Miguel D. Pino
Public Safety Event Staff Supervisor

Matthew Pucciarelli
Associate Provost of Global Studies

Heather C. Robertson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor Counselor Education, The School of Education

Linda Romano
Director, Digital Communications

Linda Sama, Ph.D.
Professor & Associate Dean for Global Initiatives Management, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business

Victoria R. Santangelo
Associate Vice President for University Ministry

Linda A. Shannon, J.D.
Associate Provost for Administration & Institutional Accreditation

Lynn M. Stravino
Director Academic Service Learning

Sharod L. Tomlinson
Director of Student Development & R.I.S.E. Mentoring

Joseph E. Trainor, Ph.D., C.P.A., C.F.E.
Associate Professor Accounting, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business

Benjamin G. Turner
Associate Professor/Librarian University Libraries

Christopher P. Vogt, Ph.D.
Chair and Associate Professor Theology and Religious Studies, St. John's College of Arts and Sciences

Keaton Wong
Director of Equal Opportunity, Compliance and Title IX Coordinator

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:  

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.


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.