Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council Members
Doris Houston (chair)
Dr. Doris Houston is the Interim Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion. She served as one of the leads of the Steering Committee for the recent Campus Climate Task Force. She was named a College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Administrative Fellow. She is a founder of the University’s Center for Child Welfare and Adoption Studies in the School of Social Work, where she served as Interim Chair. She is a liaison to the Culturally Responsive Campus Community (CRCC) Conference leadership team. Houston is a past recipient of the Strand Diversity Award.
Dr. Alison Bailey is a Professor of Philosophy at Illinois State where she has directed the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality, Studies Program for the past fifteen years. She has published extensively on issues at the intersections of feminist theory, philosophy of race, critical whiteness studies, and epistemic injustice. Her publications include The Weight of Whiteness: Feminist Meditations on Race, Privilege and Ignorance (forthcoming), The Feminist Philosophy Reader (2008). She received the Stand Diversity Award in 2006 and was named the CAS distinguished lecturer for spring 2020.
Dave Bentlin is the Administrative Assistant to the President. He served as one of the leads of on the Steering Committee for the recent Campus Climate Task Force. Dave is a founder of the LGBTQ Alumni Network and serves on the selection committee of the LGBTQIA Support Fund. Dave is active in the leadership of the Prairie Pride Coalition, and a member of the Identity Editorial Board. Bentlin is a past recipient of the Strand Diversity Award.
Dr. Luis Canales is the Director of the Office of International Studies and Programs, which manages numerous international linkages across all continents through study abroad and professional development programs, such as Management Development International (MDI). He is an officer in the Organization of Latino/a Employees (OLÉ), an affinity group for Latino, Latina, Latinx, and Hispanic employees.
Barb is Associate Director for Event Services and Catering in Event Management, Dining, and Hospitality. She is President the ISU LGBTQ+ employee affinity group and serves as a member of the Communications Task Force for University Marketing and Communications. Barb is a founder of the LGBTQ Alumni Network and the LGBTQIA Support Fund.
Dr. Shannon Epplett is an Assistant Professor in the School of Theatre and Dance and is affiliated with the Native American Studies program. His research interests include Chicago theatre history and contemporary Native American performance. Active in the Chicago theatre and dance community for years, he teaches courses in theatre history and theatre studies. He is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and is developing a performance piece based on the life of Anishinaabe poet Jane Johnston Schoolcraft.
Ray Hatch is Assistant Director of Media Relations. She serves as editor of the Identity newsletter, which highlights initiatives geared toward populations that are underrepresented on campus. She also serves on the leadership team of the Culturally Responsive Campus Community (CRCC) Conference, and as a member of the Communications Task Force for University Marketing and Communications.
Tammie Keney is the Director of Student Access and Accommodation Services. She strives to improve the educational experience for students with disabilities and/or medical/ mental health conditions, through collaboration with faculty and staff. Tammie served as a member of the recent Campus Climate Task Force and presently serves on the Illinois Board of Higher Education Disability Advisory Council.
Quanisha Kumi-Darfour is the Associate Director of Student Relations in Career Services. She previously served as the first coordinator of case management in the Dean of Students Office. Quanisha is one of the Presidents of the Association of Black Academic Employees (ABAE) and serves as the advisor for The Onyx Connect and also for Profound Pioneers Entertainment Group. She values working with students, staff and faculty to ensure they feel supported, welcomed and affirmed as members of the ISU community.
Jonathan W. Lackland serves as Illinois State University’s Director of Governmental Relations. He advises President Larry Dietz and the Board of Trustees on federal and state legislative matters. Prior to ISU, he was the deputy director of advancement, external and government relations for the Illinois Board of Higher Education. He also served as the senior advisor to the secretary and chief counsel of the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Jeffrey Lange is the Interim Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access (OEOA), which is responsible for maintaining compliance with Federal and State Civil Rights laws, including Title VI, Title VII, Title IX, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. These responsibilities include investigating potential violations of the University’s Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination policy and responding to employee requests for reasonable accommodations.
Assistant Director for University Housing Services providing leadership for Assignments. Through her role she oversees critical planning and services for all current and incoming students. She served as the co-chair of the Steering Committee for the recent Campus Climate Task Force.
Mayuko Nakamura is a team leader with the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology. She leads the Foundation of Diversity and Inclusion workshops for faculty and staff, along with sessions on redesigning courses for diversity and globalization. She was a member of the Mulit-Ethnic Cultural and Co-Curricular Advisory Committee and served on both the Diversity Task Force from 2009-2011, and the recent Campus Climate Task Force. She has been active in the affinity group AsiaConnect, and works with teaching-learning communities on cultural diversity.
Emily Newsome is the Assistant Athletic Director for Business and Personnel for the Intercollegiate Athletics Department. She has served in various business- and personnel-related roles within Athletics since September of 2012. Newsome obtained both her bachelor's and master's degrees from Illinois State University.
Dr. Christa Platt is the Director of the University’s upcoming Multicultural Center, and the current head of Diversity Advocacy. She Platt casts vision for the university’s dynamic affinity organizations who promote antiracism, build community, and provide social and educational programming. Dr. Platt serves as a member of the leadership team of the Culturally Responsive Campus Community (CRCC) Conference, and as a member of the Identity Editorial Board. She also serves on the Communications Task Force for University Marketing and Communications.
Dr. Touré Reed is co-director of the African American Studies Program at Illinois State. A Professor of history, his research includes the impact of race and class ideologies on American civil rights politics and U.S. public policy. He served on the 2002 committee that created the African American Studies Minor and chaired the University’s Diversity Task Force from 2009-2011. Reed serves as chair of the Identity Editorial Board. His books include the recent Toward Freedom: The Case Against Race Reductionism. Reed is a winner of the Strand Diversity Award.
Dr. Rocio Rivadeneyra is the Interim Chair of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She serves as the as President the Organization of Latino/a Employees (OLÉ). An affiliated faculty member in Latin American and Latino/a Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program, she developed a Latino/a psychology course. She served on the recent Campus Climate Task Force and is a member of the Culturally Responsive Campus Community (CRCC) Conference Committee. Rivadeneyra is a past recipient of the Strand Diversity Award.
Dr. Yusuf Sarfati is the Director of the Middle Eastern and South Asian Minor program at Illinois State. An Associate Professor of Comparative Politics with a regional focus on the Middle East, his interests are social movements, democratization, identity politics, and politics & religion. Sarfati is the author of Mobilizing Religion in Middle East Politics: A Comparative Study of Israel and Turkey and co-editor of The Jarring Road to Democratic Inclusion: A Comparative Assessment of State-Society Arrangements in Israel and Turkey.
Archana Shekara is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design. She is advisor of AsiaConnect, an employee affinity group that works in the interest of the Asian community. She is the Creative and Art Director for Design Streak Studio, a research based social innovation lab focusing on human centered service design. She uses design as a tool to create cross-cultural understanding, acceptance and respect. Archana is the co-director of Ethnic Studies program and serves as a member of the Culturally Responsive Campus Community (CRCC) Conference Committee.
Taylor Tian is the associate director for Asia Initiatives in the Office of International Studies and Programs, a unit that is dedicated to providing meaningful global learning opportunities for the campus community through developing institutional partnerships in Asia. She also serves as a Campus and Community Outreach officer of the AsiaConnect affinity group.
Dr. Maura Toro-Morn is the Director of the Latin American and Latina/o Studies Program at Illinois State. One of the founding members of the Organization of Latino/a Employees (OLÉ), she is instrumental in the planning of the annual Latinx Heritage Month. Toro-Morn is also a founding member of CAUSA, the University’s Committee Assisting Undocumented Student Achievement. She was also instrumental in launching the Latino Oral History Project in the McLean County Museum of History. Toro-Morn is a two-time past recipient of the Strand Diversity Award.
Lindsay Vahl is a Director for the Office of Alumni Engagement. She coordinates alumni outreach to the Chicagoland area and works with various alumni groups including the Black Colleagues Association, Latinx Alumni Network, and Chicago Young Alumni Network. She serves as Vice President of the Association of Black Academic Employees (ABAE) affinity group.
Dr. Li Zeng is an associate professor of film dtudies at Illinois in the School of Theatre and Dance. She is president of AsiaConnect, an employee affinity group that works in the interest of the Asian community. She is also co-director of Ethnic Studies. Her research interests include film history, feminist film theory, women and gender studies, and Asian cinema and television.