Task Force Members

Members of the Task Force on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence consider their work to be of the highest importance.


 

Task Force Chairs

Wendi Manuel-Scott, Associate Professor, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Wendi Manuel-Scott portrait

Dr. Manuel-Scott, a historian by training, conducts research and teaching focus on how the past – New World slave systems, Jim Crow-era segregation, corporeal systems of incarceration, patriarchal cultures, and anti-Black racism - shape our modern understanding of freedom and liberatory movements for justice. She is guided by her interest in Black resistance and agency hopes her work makes the unseen "seen" and the silenced "heard." 

Shernita Parker, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources

Shernita Parker Portrait

She provides leadership for the Talent Acquisition, Organizational Development and Learning, Employee Relations, and Faculty/Staff Engagement teams working to support faculty and staff throughout the complete employee life-cycle and experience.  Her work is focused on furthering “human possibilities” and committed to facilitating individual development and thriving as a critical component of organizational well-being and success.  


Members

Shelby Adams, President of Student Government

Shelby Adams Portrait

Shelby, of Lorton, Virginia, is a junior majoring in Criminology, Law, and Society with a minor in Legal Studies. She is passionate about serving as an aid and advocate to students during their time at Mason.  

Van Bailey, Assistant Dean, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, University Life

Van Bailey portrait

Dr. Van Bailey is a student affairs educator, international speaker and diversity consultant. He has more than 14 years experience in higher education and nonprofits. His speeches and workshops relate to LGBTQ+ student leadership, pedagogical practice, and intersectionality.

Laurence Bray, Associate Provost for Graduate Education

Laurence Bray portrait

Laurence joined Mason in 2013 and has dedicated her leadership and collaborative efforts on university-wide initiatives that promote student academic and research excellence. Her current role, which involves partnering with academic units and many offices across campus, aims at enhancing graduate education at Mason and enabling graduate students to achieve their personal, educational and career goals while promoting diversity, inclusion and well-being. 

Zofia Burr, Dean, Honors College

Zofia Burr portrait

Dean Burr has been a Mason faculty member since 1992. She has spent the last 12 years building an Honors College that demonstrates the value of Inclusive Excellence. 

Christopher Carr, Chief Diversity Officer, Volgenau School of Engineering

Christopher Carr portrait

Christopher Carr is a leadership and policy wonk in diversity, higher education, and STEM. He has convened numerous social justice leadership forums in STEM education, bringing together more than 100 deans and diversity administrators to talk about marginalized students’ persistence, diverse faculty recruitment, and creating inclusive campus climates.

Lauren Cattaneo, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology 

Lauren Cattaneo Portrait

Lauren earned her doctorate in Clinical/Community Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2001. She joined the Mason faculty of in 2003, where she integrates teaching, research, and advocacy to explore how psychology can fuel and inform efforts toward social justice. 

Charles Chavis, Asst. Professor of Conflict Resolution and History, Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution

Charles Chavis portrait

A historian and museum educator by training, Professor Chavis’s scholarship centers on the legacy of racial violence, interracial activism, and social justice in the United States. He is co-editor of For the Sake of Peace: Africana Perspectives on Racism, Justice, and Peace in America (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019) and author of ‘Maryland, My Maryland’: The Lynching of Matthew Williams and The Politics of Racism in the Free State (JHU Press, 2021). He teaches courses on race, historical consciousness, and peacebuilding in America. 

Shannon Davis, Faculty Senate Chair

Shannon Davis portrait

 

Shannon, a Mason faculty member since 2006, is a sociologist focused on understanding inequalities as embedded in and perpetuated by social institutions. 

Elizabeth DeMulder portrait

Elizabeth DeMulder, Professor and Academic Program Coordinator, College of Education and Human Development

Betsy leads the Transformative Teaching program that supports K-12 teachers to be empowered antiracist educators. She is a co-author of the book Antiracist Professional Development for In-Service Teachers: Emerging Research and Opportunities (IGI Global 2020). 

Bill Dracos, Associate Vice President for Business Services

Bill Dracos portrait

Bill Dracos leads Mason’s business services / auxiliary enterprises unit and oversees Mason’s internal consulting practice, University Business Consulting, which works to improve university business operations. Before joining Mason, he was the Chief Business Practice Improvement Officer and Assistant Vice President for Administration at Emory University and a Director PwC’s Higher Education and Health Sciences consulting practice. 

Gesele Durham, Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Planning

Gesele Durham portrait

Biographical information to come

Cynthia Fuchs, Interim Director, Film and Video Studies, College of Visual and Performing Arts

Cynthia Fuchs portrait

Cynthia Fuchs has been the director of the Visiting Filmmakers Series for over 20 years. She is the Interim Director of Film and Video Studies in CVPA and was an associate professor in English (CHSS) for 30 years. She's a longtime reviewer of films and television. She was awarded the 2020 United Bank Presidential Medal for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion. 

Na'ama Gold, Executive Director of Mason Hillel

Na'ama Gold portrait

Na'ama, born and raised in Israel, served as an officer at the Israel Defense Forces. She earned a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She's worked in community development for more than 10 years. 

Rebekah Hersch, Interim Associate Vice President for Research and Innovation

Rebekah Hersch Portrait

Rebekah Hersch provides strategic planning and active management of Mason’s research development program to support and build the university's research and scholarship capacity, with an emphasis on the development of multidisciplinary research and scholarship and supporting our research institutes and transdisciplinary centers.

Rosemary D. Higgins, Associate Dean for Research, College of Health and Human Services

Rosemary Higgins portrait

Dr. Higgins leads research growth in the College of Health and Human Services. 

Emily Ihara, Associate Professor and Chair, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Emily Ihara portrait

Dr. Ihara’s work focuses on practice and policy interventions that will eliminate health inequities and improve the lives of older adults, racial and ethnic groups, immigrants, and marginalized populations.   

Nance Lucas, Executive Director, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being (CWB)

Nance Lucas portrait

Nance, executive director of CWB, collaboratively co-leads university-wide well-being initiatives.  She is co-author of Exploring Leadership and other articles on leadership and leading to well-being and co-founder of national higher education leadership organizations 

Mariely Lopez-Santana, Associate Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government

Mariely Lopez-Santana portrait

Mariely Lopez-Santana is an Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government. She is also the Director of the Political Science Graduate Program.

Creston Lynch, Associate Dean, University Life

Creston Lynch portrait

Creston Lynch supports the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion portfolio within University Life. This includes the Center for Culture Equity, & Empowerment; the Office of Coalition Building & Diversity Education; and the Women & Gender Studies Center. 

Tehama Lopez-Bunyasi, Assistant Professor, Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution

Tehama Lopez-Bunyasi portrait

Tehama Lopez-Bunyasi is a political scientist by training. Her scholarship is broadly concerned with matters of race, racism and antiracism in the United States. She is co-author of Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter (NYU Press, 2019). She teaches courses on race, social justice organizing, and approaches to social science research.

Robyn Madar, Director, Organizational Development and Learning, Human Resources

Robyn Mader portrait

Robyn Madar and her team facilitate workshops and work with Mason’s leaders and teams to build collaboration, trust, and a sense of purpose and community. 

Holly Mason, Coordinator of Graduate Programs Admissions & Fiscal Management

Holly Mason portrait

Holly Mason received her BA in English and Dance from the University of North Carolina Greensboro in 2011 and received her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Mason in 2017. She is the staff advisor for Mason's Kurdish Student Organization and a consistent advocate for underrepresented voices on campus and beyond, with a specific focus on creating welcoming atmospheres for queer and intersectional identities.

Ayondela McDole, Graduate Student, Cultural Studies

Ayondela McDole portrait

Ayondela McDole is a third-year doctoral student in Cultural Studies and a media scholar. She hails from the Midwest and loves all things Humanities.

 

Christy Pichichero, Associate Professor & Director of Faculty Diversity, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Christy Pichichero Portrait

Christy (Ph.D. Stanford University; B.A. Princeton University) is an internationally renowned scholar of race, gender, and war in the French empire. For more than 20 years, she has been a dedicated change maker in diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism through her leadership, teaching, mentoring, consulting, advocacy, and community service work.  

 

Lauren Reuscher, Community Manager, University Information, Office of Communications and Marketing

Lauren Reuscher portrait

Lauren Reuscher leads the Staff Senate while working to enhance the work-life experience of Mason staff. Lauren is a Mason alum (M.A., history) and works as community manager in the Office of Communications and Marketing. 

Milagros (Millie) Rivera, Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Well-Being, Office of Faculty Affairs and Development

Milagros (Millie) Rivera portrait

Millie Rivera collaborates with academic and administrative units across Mason to develop strategies and initiatives that lead to the recruitment, hiring and retention of diverse faculty.  Her work also focuses on developing resources and programs that support the well-being of faculty.

Nena Rogers, Senior Associate Director, Student Services (Athletics)

Nena Rogers portrait

Nena Rogers provided the framework for Mason’s Student-Athlete Affairs program, which focuses on student-athlete development.

Kevin Rockmann, Professor of Management, School of Business

Kevin Rockmann portrait

Kevin Rockmann’s research focuses on the development of high-quality interpersonal relationships in organizations. He has been at Mason since 2004, and has served in a variety of faculty and administrative roles. He primarily teaches negotiation and people analytics and is currently the editor of Academy of Management Discoveries.

Craig Sawyer, Director, Corley Institute for Diversity and Inclusion Education, Scalia Law School

Biographical information to come

Bethany Usher, Associate Professor for Undergraduate Education

Bethany Usher portrait

Bethany supports Mason’s undergraduate academic programs and initiatives, including the Mason Core, Mason Impact, and Academic Advising. She is an expert on inclusive undergraduate research; her anthropological research, conducted with students, focuses on health, diet, and well-being in the past. 

Gerald Weatherspoon, Chair, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Gerald Weatherspoon portrait

Dr. Weatherspoon joined Mason in 1996 as the first African-American tenure track professor in Chemistry.  He has mentored undergraduate and graduate students from all backgrounds, served as faculty advisor to National Society of Black Engineers and other organizations, and works to ensure diversity, equity and inclusivity among the graduate students admitted, as well as faculty and staff hires in the department. 

Rachel Wernicke, Chief Mental Health Officer, University Life

Rachel Wernicke portrait

Rachel, a psychologist by training, provides leadership support to Counseling and Psychological Services, Student Health Services, and Disability Services.  She works to ensure that all Mason students have access to health and mental health services.