2012 Diversity Summit Speakers

Dr. John Black Dr. John Black is the Interim President at Macon State College. Dr. Black served as president of East Georgia from 2004 until his retirement in 2011. During his presidency, the Board of Regents approved state college status for East Georgia allowing it to offer, for the first time, a baccalaureate degree in biology. Prior to his service as president of East Georgia State College, Black served as a special assistant to the vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at the Board of Regents from 2003 to 2004. He previously served as vice president for academic affairs at Dalton State College in Dalton, Ga., from 1999 to 2003, and vice president for academic affairs at East Georgia, from 1994 to 1999.

Kenneth Boyer Mr. Kenneth Boyer is the Americas Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting at Ernst & Young. Boyer is responsible for developing and implementing a recruiting strategy that focuses on creating a diverse talent pool. The firm strives to reflect the changes in world demographics – taking into account the new mix of cultures and individual characteristics that build our talent pool. Mr. Boyer currently serves on the American Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) minority initiatives committee. He is a Board Member and Chair of the Audit Committee for the American Accounting Association.

Dr. Angela Birkes-Grier Dr. Angela Birkes-Grier is currently the Director of the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) at The University of Georgia. The Peach State LSAMP is a National Science Foundation funded program with the mission to broaden participation and significantly increase the number of underrepresented minorities pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Dr. Birkes-Grier coordinates the efforts of the seven institutions included in the alliance.

Birgit Smith Burton Ms. Birgit Smith Burton is the Senior Director of Foundation Relations at the Georgia Institute of Technology; serving as the liaison between the Institute and private philanthropic foundations. Ms. Burton has over 20 years of experience as professional fundraiser. She began her fundraising career with the United Negro College Fund in 1987. Ms. Burton has conducted and participated in research on diversity in philanthropy and the fundraising profession; led workshops on diversity in the fundraising profession and organized a network of African-American Development Officers (AADO) that has gathered for six conferences over the past 10 years.

Dr. Genie Snyder Chamberlin Dr. Genie Snyder Chamberlin is a consultant, speaker, facilitator, and coach with a passion for higher education. Through the consulting and educational firm, Snyder Remarks, Inc., Dr. Chamberlin works with institutions on service, diversity, organizational development and communication through a fresh approach merging organizational development, higher education and business best practices. She has 20+ years of experience as consultant, employee on four campuses in Georgia and volunteer board member giving her a well-rounded perspective. She has served as strategic planning consultant and facilitator to education institutions and foundations across the U.S. and in India. She is with Dr. Veronica Womack today representing Georgia College as a consultant in their current inclusiveness project, 3Rs4ALL!

Dr. Michelle Cook Dr. Michelle Cook is Associate Provost & Chief Diversity Officer at The University of Georgia. She is an affiliate faculty member in the Institute for African American Studies and the Institute for Women’s Studies. Dr. Cook also serves as lead co-principal investigator for the National Science Foundation sponsored Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation grant. Dr. Cook previously served as associate dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, where she was primarily responsible for student academic affairs within the college, and taught in the history department and African-American Studies.

Dr. Houston Davis Dr. Houston Davis is the Executive Vice Chancellor & Chief Academic Officer at the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The Office of Academic Affairs advises and provides leadership on all academic-related areas to the member institutions of the System; identifies and reviews solutions for the USG strategic plan in the departments of Academic Planning, Academic Programs, Education Access & Success, Faculty Affairs, Student Affairs, Information Technology Services, and Research & Policy Analysis. The Office of Academic Affairs also supports several special initiatives designed to enhance the quality of education and research in Georgia. Prior to joining the Board of Regents, Dr. Davis served as the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, a system consisting of 25 universities and colleges as well as constituent agencies. Prior to joining OSRHE, he served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the Tennessee Board of Regents, in academic leadership and on the faculty for Austin Peay State University, in fiscal and academic affairs for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, and as a regional student recruitment and advancement representative for the University of Memphis.

Dr. Archie Ervin Dr. Archie Ervin is the Vice President for Institute Diversity at Georgia Institute of Technology. As the inaugural Vice President for Institute Diversity, Ervin has established his vision for “inclusive excellence” at Georgia Tech, where the talent and potential of all members of the Institute’s community are leveraged to ensure excellence in scholarship, research and service to provide leadership in our complex world. His overarching operational responsibility as Vice President is to provide Institute level leadership and oversight for Georgia Tech’s diversity, equity and inclusion agendas.

Dr. Rosario Gerhardt Dr. Rosario Gerhardt, Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology in the department of Materials Science and Engineering. Prior to coming to Georgia Tech in 1991 she worked as an assistant research professor at the Center for Ceramics Research at Rutgers University from 1986-1990 and as a post-doctoral research associate at Rutgers for two years and at Columbia University in New York City for one year. She regularly interacts with researchers at various industrial companies and national laboratories. Her research work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, NASA and various industrial companies. In addition, she also serves as Executive Director for Institute Research and Collaborations in the Office of the Vice President for Institute Diversity at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Dr. W. Kent Guion Dr. W. Kent Guion is the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at Georgia Health Sciences University. Before this appointment he served as the Interim Dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences (CAHS) and Associate Dean for Student, Faculty and Community Affairs and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy. He was formerly the Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Rural Health and Research at Georgia Southern University in the School of Health and Human Sciences. He received his M.D. and M.A. in specializing in Exercise Physiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School and a B.S. in Zoology from North Carolina State University. He is a fellow of the Health Research and Education Trust Cultural Competency Leadership Program and a 2009 Graduate of the Leadership Augusta program. His professional interests include the areas of cultural competency in health care, physical activity and public health, and health-related program evaluation especially as it applies to rural and underserved communities.

Dr. Erik Malewski Dr. Erik Malewski is the Chief Diversity Officer and Professor of Curriculum Studies at Kennesaw State University. He is currently focused on the first diversity strategic plan for the University and is an expert in multiculturalism, college internationalization efforts, and the theory and practice of teaching and learning. He edited the Curriculum Studies Handbook: The Next Moment with Routledge and co-edited (with Nathalia Jaramillo) Epistemologies of Ignorance in Education. He has recently published with Teachers College Record and Teaching and Teacher Education.

Elridge McMillan Regent Emeritus Elridge McMillan is the longest serving member of the Board of Regents, 1975 – 2010. In 2004 he was honored by his fellow Regents as the inaugural recipient of the board’s “Lifetime Achievement Award.” In a double nod of recognition for McMillan’s long career serving higher education, the regents also announced the award will be officially named “The Elridge McMillan Lifetime Achievement Award.” McMillan was first appointed to the Board of Regents in 1975 by Gov. George Busbee and has been reappointed by four succeeding governors to serve five consecutive 7 year terms. He served as chair of the Board of Regents in 1986-87, becoming the first African American to lead the governing body of Georgia’s 34 public colleges and universities. During his tenure on the Board of Regents, McMillan has witnessed the University System grow from a few tens of thousands of students to more than a quarter million students. He played a major role in the implementation of federally ordered desegregation plans for the USG’s colleges and universities in the 1970s and ’80s, and later helped drive the System’s improved academic quality and national reputation in the 1990s. McMillan also has been a voice for students from disadvantaged backgrounds who required academic intervention and additional support to meet the University System’s enhanced admissions requirements, which became effective in 2001.

Linda J. Nelson Ms. Linda J. Nelson is the Assistant Vice President for Opportunity Development/Diversity Education Planning & Human Resources Administration at Georgia State University. In her dual roles at Georgia State University (GSU), Ms. Nelson is responsible for Opportunity Development Affirmative Action/ Equal Employment (AA/EEO) and Diversity Education Planning, a unit of the Provost’s Office, as well as, the overall administration and supervision of the following units in Human Resources: Classification and Compensation; Employment; Employee Relations; Organizational Development Services and Employee Development and Wellness Services, a unit of Finance and Administration. As Chief Diversity Officer at Georgia State University, Ms. Nelson works with GSU’s administration, faculty, and staff to ensure a diverse and inclusive campus environment. Ms. Nelson recently accepted the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) Institutional Excellence Award. Her work around diversity strategic planning at Georgia State University was a major factor in the presentation of this prestigious award. Ms. Nelson has also served as a consultant to k-12 institutions and large corporations around diversity related issues.

Melody Rodriguez Ms. Melody Rodriguez is the Director of the Hispanic Outreach & Leadership at Armstrong (HOLA) and the CAMINO program at Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU). Ms. Rodriguez has secured critical grant funding for scholarships to help attract, retain and graduate Hispanic/Latino students at AASU. Under her leadership, AASU has increased its Hispanic/Latino population by 121%, and secured more than $70,000 in mini-grants from organizations like the City of Savannah, the Georgia Council for the Arts and the U.S. Census, to sponsor cultural and educational programs focusing on underserved Latino populations. Over the past nine years, The Goizueta Foundation has awarded AASU nearly $2 million of grant funding to support scholarships and bilingual staff positions. Her most recent award includes leading a collaboration of partners that won a $600,000 grant in November 2011 from the Lumina Foundation for Education to fund a Latino student success effort called College Access Mentoring Information and Outreach (CAMINO).

Dr. Veronica Womack Dr. Veronica Womack is the Interim Director of the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, heading diversity initiatives for Georgia College & State University. Dr. Womack received a B.A. in Communications, the MPA and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Alabama. She is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Administration along with serving as Coordinator of the MPA program. Dr. Womack has served as a former member of the President’s Taskforce on Diversity and the President’s Commission on Diversity for several years, including as the past Chair of the Commission. Dr. Womack’s research efforts include publications on public policy, leadership and diversity. In addition, she teaches diversity within the public sector and works on issues of diversity within the larger community.