Council Will Explore Changes to Policies, Structures to Foster DEI

Barbara A. Bichelmeyer Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor
Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, 1:15 p.m.
KU Lawrence All Staff Faculty and Affiliates,All KU Lawrence and Edwards Students

Dear Students, Staff and Faculty,

In early June, Chancellor Girod and I shared a statement in which we articulated five actions we will be taking to demonstrate our commitment to fostering improvement in diversity, equity and inclusion at KU. One of these actions is to create a standing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council to ensure we have sustained focus and effort on this critical work.

While we have been developing the charter and organizing the council, our Jayhawks Rising Design Teams have been incorporating several measures to improve and strengthen equity, diversity and inclusion on our campuses as they work this summer to prepare for the start of the fall semester. I’ll announce many of their endeavors after the start of the semester.

Today, Interim Vice Provost for Diversity & Equity Jennifer Ng and I are pleased to share with you the names of three dozen individuals from a broad cross-section of campus who have agreed to serve this campus with their time, energy and knowledge.

This remarkable group will bring valuable perspectives and long-term commitment to this effort. Members will serve 2- or 3-year terms or appointments. I’ve tasked the group with multiple objectives, including evaluating existing policies, programs and structures at KU to ensure they foster and support diversity, equity and inclusion. This team will also recommend changes as needed in order to create and sustain a healthier community. It will work to ensure that each academic and administrative unit has a DEI plan that aligns with and supports campus goals and metrics. It will advise me in developing a DEI plan that is based on best practices and that includes metrics for our Lawrence and Edwards campuses.

Please join me in thanking these members for their labor. Equally important, join with us in doing the very hard work of dismantling racism and discrimination wherever it resides.



Barbara A. Bichelmeyer

Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor



Provost’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Council


Executive Sponsors - Co-Chairs

Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

Jennifer Ng, Interim Vice Provost for Diversity and Equity



Shawn Leigh Alexander, Professor and Chair of the Department of African and African American Studies

Rachel Auten, Director of Student Support and Case Management, Student Affairs

Jessy Ayestas, PhD Candidate, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; Graduate Senator, Student Senate; Graduate Assistant, Graduate Studies

Mizuki Azuma, Associate Professor of Molecular Biosciences

Misty Chandler, Assistant Dean, School of Professional Studies, KU Edwards Campus

LaTisha Davis, Director, Child Care Access Means Parents in School and Associate Director of TRIO Supportive Educational Services

Alexis Exum, Doctoral Student, Clinical Psychology Program

Brittani Fults, EEO/Title IX Investigator, Institutional Opportunity & Access

Patricia Weems Gaston, Lacy C. Haynes Professor of Journalism

Mugur Geana, Associate Professor of Strategic Communications and Director, Center for Excellence in Health Communication to Underserved Populations

Samantha Ghali, Doctoral Student, Child Language Doctoral Program; Student Equity & Inclusion Workgroup

Humberto Gomez Salinas, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Student Senate

D.A. Graham, University Ombuds

Kim Grunewald, Deputy General Counsel

Tamara Huff-Johnson, President, Black Alumni Network

Derek Kwan, Executive Director of the Lied Center of the Performing Arts

Jim Mechler, Associate Senior Vice President for Development, KU Endowment

Jenny Mehmedovic, Associate Director, Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring

Tamicka Monson, Graduate Student and Student Access Specialist, University Academic Support Centers

Sean Navarro, Assistant Director of the Military-Affiliated Student Center

Cambrey Nguyen, Clinical Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice

Eugene Parker, Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Melissa Peterson, Associate Director, TRIO STEM

Roberta Pokphanh, Assistant Vice Provost for International Affairs

Precious Porras, Assistant Vice Provost for Diversity & Equity and Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs

Shannon Portillo, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Edwards Campus, and Associate Professor of Public Affairs and Administration

Terry Prentice, Associate Athletic Director and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Kansas Athletics

Bulaong Ramiz Hall, Director, Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity

Annise Richard, Adidas Leadership Scholars Program Coordinator, Academic Success

Jeff Severin, Director of the Center for Sustainability

Kevin Smith, Dean of the KU Libraries

Nick Syrett, Professor and Chair of the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Julie Thornton, Director of Employee Relations, Human Resource Management

Kim Warren, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the School of Social Welfare, and Associate Professor of History

Andrew Williams, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the School of Engineering and the Charles E. and Mary Jane Spahr Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

Michelle Wilson, Academic Coordinator, TRIO SES & STEM

Ashleigh Wilson, Assistant Director for Residential Life

Lisa Wolf-Wendel, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies for the School of Education and Human Sciences and Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Danny Woods, Assistant Director of Legacy Relations and Alumni Programs, KU Alumni Association