Council on Diversity & Inclusion

This site describes progress made by the Council on Diversity & Inclusion (CODI). The CODI was created by the WCU Strategic Plan to address the UNC-Tomorrow Report 2010.

The CODI redefined diversity as including all the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another.  It is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued.  It includes race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, age, national origin, geography, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language and linguistic differences,and physical appearance. It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values.

Two initiatives endorsed by the Chancellor and recommended by WCU in the UNC Tomorrow Report include 1) establishing a Chief Diversity Director and 2) development and implementation of a Council on Diversity and Inclusion (CODI) linking student and employment diversity resources, programs, initiatives, and goals. Establishing the CODI would facilitate goals of 1) developing a campus-wide diversity plan and 2) linking student and employment diversity resources, programs, initiatives, and goals.

Dr. Henry Wong in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Programs ( will chair this Council in collaboration with the Office of Human Resources involving a broad-based representation of campus faculty, staff, and students. The CODI would be congruent with WCU’s strategic plan 2008-2013 supporting cultural diversity and equal opportunity.

The CODI initial work plan would be to a) nominate/appoint council membership, b) complete a strategic work plan, c) complete a campus-wide diversity plan, d) develop/implement an on-going diversity climate survey and e) recommend university-wide diversity initiatives. The work plan would be on-going annually and reviewed by the Acting Vice Chancellor for Operations and the Office of Human Resources. Proposed membership of the Council on Diversity and Inclusion:

  • Director for the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Programs – Chair
  • Office of Human Resources EEO and Affirmative Action representative – Co-chair
  • Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Advancement and External Affairs
  • Dept. of Athletics
  • International Programs
  • Faculty Senate Chair
  • Staff Senate Chair
  • Student representatives (One undergraduate designated by the VC for Student Affairs and one graduate designated by the Dean of the Graduate School

Faculty or staff representatives from each college/school nominated by their respective Deans include:

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Business
  • Education & Allied Professions
  • Fine & Performing Arts
  • Health & Human Sciences
  • Kimmel School
  • Hunter Library

See full report

See below for the completed Diversity Plan for WCU:  

Executive Summary Diversity Plan 2012-2013

Executive Summary

This initial report summarizes the progress of the Council on Diversity and Inclusion (CODI) established by the Western Carolina University (WCU) Strategic Plan (2010) to address the UNC Tomorrow Phase II Report. The purpose of the CODI is to develop a campus-wide diversity plan and suggest recommendations for diversity initiatives congruent with the 2020 Vision: Focusing Our Future.

To ensure campus-wide representation of the five divisions and colleges/school, council members were recommended by their respective Deans and/or Vice Chancellors, and final approval of membership was given by the Provost in February 2011. The CODI was established in March 2011. The diversity plan includes:

Vision – Western Carolina University is committed to being a diverse and inclusive learning environment where students, faculty, and staff aspire to be global citizens, multiculturally competent, and respectful in words and actions of all members of the University community.

Mission - Build and maintain a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming university that promotes respect, global citizenship, and access to education and the workplace for students, employees, and members of the global community.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Learning experiences, pedagogy and curricula that lead to the development of globally aware, confident citizens/graduates who possess multicultural competence.
  2. Student-centered experiences that lead to greater student retention and success.
  3. Transformative learning experiences that inspire and prepare agents of change as global citizens.

Co-curricular Learning Experiences

  1. Connecting curricular, co-curricular, leadership, and culturally diverse experiences to provide accessible opportunities that challenge students to expand their boundaries and horizons.
  2. Cultural immersion and field-based experiences that promote understanding of the diverse dynamics in our daily lives.

Fostering Diversity in the Workplace and University Community

  1. The recruitment and retention of a culturally diverse and multiculturally competent workforce and student body.
  2. Fairness in providing professional development and career progression opportunities for the workforce and university community.
  3. A workplace and university community that is inclusive, welcoming and supportive of all individuals and that promotes freedom of expression and ideas.

Relationship Building through Leadership & Communication

  1. Collaboration, engagement, and outreach that foster an open community with shared interests and goals, and that make a positive impact and promote success.
  2. Commitment and accountability from executive leadership that promotes open engagement among all participants.


  1. A welcoming and inclusive community in which honesty, mutual respect, and collaborative participation underpin all interactions.
  2. The social and lived experiences of each member of the WCU community with validation and representation.
  3. Access and opportunities for diverse groups to obtain an education.

The following goals were established:

Goal 1: Prepare students to become globally aware, multiculturally competent, and civic-minded.

Goal 2: Foster cultural immersion and learning experiences, including international experiences that challenge students to expand their boundaries and horizons. 

Goal 3: Recruit, develop, and retain a diverse multiculturally aware work community that promotes inclusion and equal opportunity in a welcoming and supportive work and educational environment.  

Goal 4: Build an open community that is supported by executive leadership and is inclusive, accessible, and that promotes collaboration and engagement among all participants internal and external to Western Carolina University.

Goal 5: Establish and maintain a climate that is welcoming, accepting, and respectful of diverse groups and opinions, and that provides opportunities and access to obtain an education.

Three recommendations to the University include:

  1. Increase faculty, staff, and student minority rates;
  2. Improve student retention and graduation rates of underrepresented groups; and
  3. Promote diversity education opportunities for faculty, staff, and students.

The CODI plan is congruent with Chancellor Belcher’s vision and principles outlined in his installation address whereby he stated, “our time of stewardship will be worthy of remembrance, not because of the fleeting glory of rankings and statistics, but because of the genuine difference Western will make in the quality of life of the people – the wonderful, resilient, diverse, extraordinary and ordinary people – we serve” (The Reporter, March 30, 2012). The plan supports the core value of cultural diversity and equal opportunity of the WCU 2020 Commission. 

Recognizing and valuing diversity has the potential to enhance employee satisfaction, competitive business advantage, innovation, problem-solving, and best practices in the workplace. Inclusion and diversity efforts by higher education have implications for achieving excellence in learning, teaching, research, student development, and community engagement. 

Council Members’ Biographies

Jill Cargile

Jill Cargile joined WCU in the summer of 2013 as the Director of the Intensive English Program and Interim Director of International Programs and Services. She previously served as Director of Special Programs at the University of Oregon, developing international programs for teachers and other professionals through the support and funding of Fulbright, ministries of education in South America and international corporations and universities in the Middle East and Japan.  Prior to that, Ms. Cargile taught, administered programs and trained teachers of English and Business Communication in Egypt, Turkey, Kuwait and Japan for 20 years. Ms. Cargile holds an MA in Applied Linguistics from Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Cory Scott Causby

Cory Causby currently serves as the Director of Employment & Affirmative Action Programs for Western Carolina University and has been with the institution since February 1999. During this period, he has had the opportunity to obtain two degrees from Western (Ed. D., Educational Leadership and M.S., Human Resources). He also holds a B.A. degree in Government & International Studies from the University of South Carolina. In his current role, Cory oversees a variety of Human Resource functions for the institution to include Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity reporting and monitoring, Employee Relations, Training and Professional Development, Recruitment and Selection, and Classification and Compensation. Cory has worked in the area of Human Resources Administration for 15+ years and has earned his Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification. Specific areas of research/interest include Title IX/Gender Equity issues in intercollegiate athletics and higher education/public sector policy assessment and interpretation. Cory may be reached by phone at (828) 227-7218 or email at

James A. Felton III, M.S.

James Felton is the Director of Intercultural Affairs at Western Carolina University. Previously, Mr. Felton was the Director of Multicultural Affairs at Lebanon Valley College. He has held administrative and adjunct instructor positions at Elizabethtown College, The Office of the Chancellor for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Harrisburg Area Community College, and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Mr. Felton worked on the critically acclaimed University of Wisconsin's Diversity Plan 2008 (Green Bay campus) as well as provided oversight for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education's Partnership Pre-college Program for underrepresented middle and high school students. He also managed a Multicultural Fellowship program for 100 students as one of three national scholarship programs offered at Lebanon Valley College. He is also working with a team of multicultural and student affairs professionals to establish a premier national honor society on social justice in higher education. He completed a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from McDaniel College in 1995, Masters of Science in Educational Administration in 1998, and Graduate Studies in Administration and Leadership from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2000-2006. He is expected to complete a  Ph. D. in Global Leadership from Indiana Technical Institute in 2014. James’ research interests and areas of expertise include Social Justice Education; Urban Studies, Urban Psychology, and Leadership Development. 

John Habel, Ph. D.

Dr. John Habel has been a member of the faculty in WCU’s Department of Psychology since 1993. In 1988 he was awarded a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. From 2002 to 2009 he held a joint position in the Department of Psychology and in WCU’s Coulter Faculty Commons for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, where he served as the Faculty Fellow for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. From January 2001 through August 2010 he co-directed a dropout prevention program that was designed to reduce teachers’ unintentional racism and the presence of stereotype threat. His involvement in diversity initiatives in WCU’s College of Education and Allied Professions includes his leadership of the Rural-Urban Exchange and his position as the chair of the College’s Diversity Committee.

Victoria Harlan

Victoria Harlan is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, a Registered Nurse and currently serves as the Emergency Room Nurse Manager at the Cherokee Indian Hospital. She graduated from Western Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and holds an Associate Degree in Nursing from Penn Valley Community College, Kansas City, MO. Harlan has worked in nursing for almost twenty years at the Lawton Indian Hospital in Lawton, Oklahoma and in Cherokee. She is a veteran of the United States Marine Corp currently attends graduate school at Western Carolina University and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau international nursing sorority. She holds certifications in sexual assault nurse examiner, trauma nurse core course, advanced cardiac life support, pediatric advanced life support, burn trauma life support and basic life support.

Mary Jean Ronan Herzog

Mary Jean R. Herzog is Professor of Education and currently serves as the Chair of the Faculty.  Dr. Herzog joined Western Carolina University in 1989 after teaching at Warren Wilson College for 11 years.  She earned a doctorate in Educational Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Tennessee in 1988.  She is the Program Director for the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) for the secondary and special subject teaching areas.  She teaches graduate courses in teaching methods and foundations as well as qualitative research methods.  She is actively involved in the Qualitative Research Group, an interdisciplinary, scholarly group of faculty and students.  Dr. Herzog’s research is on gender issues, teacher leadership and scholarly personal narrative. She is actively involved in service within the university and community.

Robin Hitch

Robin Hitch came to WCU’s Hunter Library as a Computer Consultant in 1998 after working two years as Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Birch buildings’ Lab Coordinator. Originally from South Florida, she attended Palm Beach Junior College. Robin moved to the mountains of WNC in 1984 to take advantage of the outdoor activities of whitewater kayaking, backpacking and hiking.  She had worked in industry, for Phillips Corporation, as a Quality Inspector for twelve years prior to returning to college to obtain Associate degrees in Computer Programming and Information Systems from ABTCC. She is currently working on a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Engineering Technology and is the current Chair of the Staff Senate at Western Carolina University.

Marie Huff, Ph. D.

Marie Huff is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work. She came to WCU in 1998 and served as the department head from 2006-2008. She became the Associate Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences in 2008 and remained in the dean's office until 2013. She was appointed Interim Dean from 2010-2011 and again in August 2012. Dr. Huff has over ten years of social work practice experience in the field of mental health and addictions with adolescents and their families. Her research and teaching interests are in the areas of social policy and diversity.

Bethany Ketting

Bethany Ketting is a 2010 graduate of Western Carolina University. She graduated with a degree in Philosophy and one in English with a Professional Writing concentration. Bethany works in the Interlibrary Loan department at Hunter Library. Bethany has lived in Jackson County off and on for about twenty years. She was born in Kenya and has lived in Georgia, Rhode Island, and Minnesota in addition to North Carolina. She currently resides in Cullowhee with her husband, Neil, and their two dogs.

Robert F. Mulligan, Ph.D.

Dr. Robert F. Mulligan is head of the Department of Accounting, Finance, Information Systems, & Economics.  He has been a member of the economics faculty in WCU's College of Business since 1997. He received his Ph.D. in economics from SUNY Binghamton in 1993.  In 1995, he received an Advanced Studies Certificate (A.S.C.) in international economic policy research from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy in Germany.  Prior to WCU, he taught at Clarkson University and Roger Williams University.  His research interests are business cycle theory, constitutional political economy, and the economics of maritime trade.

Henry D. Wong

Henry Wong is the Director for the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Programs at Western Carolina University serving as the campus coordinator for the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title IX coordinator for gender equity. He is chair for the Council on Diversity and Inclusion and co-chair for the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian/WCU Advisory Council. A graduate of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, he holds a doctorate in Rehabilitation and is a nationally certified rehabilitation counselor. Some of his roles prior to coming to Western Carolina University include: Correctional Officer and Program Assistant with the NC Dept. of Corrections, Rehabilitation Counselor with the NC Div. of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Program Manager with the Region V Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program.  He is a former Assistant Professor in the Division of Rehabilitation Counseling from UNC-Chapel Hill and Fellow from the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching. He continues to teach via distance learning courses for East Carolina University and Southern University at Baton Rouge in the Departments of Rehabilitation.

Former Members-Rotated Off

Erin Adams

Erin Adams, assistant professor of interior design at Western Carolina University, has over 15 years of residential and commercial interior design experience. She holds a BS and MS of interior design from Colorado State University and is a certified LEED Accredited Professional. Ms. Adams specializes in historic preservation, adaptive re-use projects, and sustainable architecture and design and has served as lead designer on several construction projects seeking LEED certification. She is an active member of the National Kitchen & Bath Association, Interior Design Educators Council, U.S. Green Building Council and serves on the board of directors for Jackson County Habitat for Humanity.

Jennifer Brown

Dr. Jennifer Brown was appointed to the position as Western Carolina's fifth Senior Woman Administrator (SWA) on July 1, 2005. As the Senior Woman Administrator, Brown has continued her supervision of AEP, with the addition of sport administration for women's volleyball, women's basketball, women's tennis, men's and women's golf, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's track & field and softball. She coordinates the CHAMPS / Life Skills programs and serves as the athletic department advisor to WCU's Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC).Brown earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from North Carolina State University in 1992, received her Masters of Arts in counselor education in '96 from North Carolina Central University, and was awarded her Doctoral degree in counselor education in the spring of 2004 from N.C. State. She began instructing a counseling course in the fall of 2005 in WCU's college student personnel graduate degree program. During her tenure in Cullowhee, Brown has garnered numerous accolades. She was named the Most Outstanding Academic Advisor during the 2002-03 academic calendar year, as well as the Last Minute Productions Staff Supporter of the Year. In 2003-04, Brown was awarded the John Fry Advising Award which honors excellence in working and dealing with students.

Jane Adams-Dunford

Jane Adams-Dunford is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC. Prior to coming to Western Carolina University, Jane worked at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. Over 20 years of experience in Student Affairs Administration, Jane's experiences include: implementing organization development, assessment, staff development, strategic planning, student development programming, leadership and student success/retention. Jane is an active member and served in leadership positions for the Southern Association of College Student Affairs (SACSA), NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and a member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Jane has prepared and presented professional presentations on issues of diversity and inclusion, leadership, ethics and student organizations, social justice issues, creating change from within and women/gender issues. Prior to coming to Western, Jane was an adjunct psychology instructor for Cameron University. She enjoys sports, cultural arts, travelling and working with youth.  Jane is married to Ollin E. Dunford and they have two sons.

William Frady

William Frady currently works as an IT Manager at Western Carolina University. He manages the Instructional and Student Computing team in IT, which consists of a talented team of 23 individuals and about 30 student workers. William has a Bachelors of Science and Masters of Education from Western Carolina University. He has presented at many conferences across the United States including UNC Cause, EDUCAUSE, which is a national conference, and the TLT conference. William was the recipient of the 2011 Paul A. Reid Distinguished Staff Award at Western Carolina University. William was also selected to serve on the 2010 Extron Advisory Council for Education. His contact information is: William Frady, 7 New Hope Drive, Sylva, NC 28779,

Tara Beth Weekes Gleason
Tara came to Western Carolina University in the fall of 2004 from Walhalla, SC to begin an undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. She also began working as a student assistant with Hunter Library during this time. When she graduated in 2008, Tara accepted an assistant supervisor position with the Library and soon completed a Masters degree in Human Resources from WCU as well. Her degree included an internship with the HR department at Mission Hospitals in Asheville where she assisted their diversity officer (among others) with employee training and developed a passion for the topic. She has since moved into a position with the University’s human resources department and spends any free time she can with her first child, Ayla, and her husband that recently returned home from a military tour in Iraq.

Katherine R. B. Greysen

Dr. Katherine R.B. Greysen, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean of the Graduate School. Dr. Greysen has a Ph.D. in Organizational Learning and Instructional Technology, and certification in Adult Learning and Training from the College of Education at the University of New Mexico. She received her Master of Arts in Intercultural Communication from New Mexico in 1997. She has served in administrative roles as the Director of Graduate Research and the Dean of Academic Support Services at Sierra Nevada College and has taught research, thesis writing courses, as well as undergraduate coursework in Communication and Education. As a successful director in higher education, and in non-profit organizations, Dr. Greysen has valuable experience in recruitment, strategic planning, assessment, evaluation, fiscal management and budget preparation.

Jason Lavigne

Jason Lavigne came to WCU in July of 1999 as a Computer Support Tech II working at the Help Desk. In August of 1999, he graduated from WCU with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration. Since then he has earned several promotions to different areas of IT from that Help Desk position to student network support position, upper level faculty/staff support position, and now a position as Microsoft SQL Database Administrator. He represents the Staff Senate.

Darlene Lozano

Darlene Lozano, a Technology Support Technician for Advancement and External Affairs, has been with Western Carolina University 2 ½ years. She provides support to Alumni Affairs and ad hoc reporting on alumni data for various departments. She currently represents her department with Data Standards and Banner User Groups (BUGs). Lozano has held various positions within the private and public sectors within Information Technology. Her past experience includes a Data Support Coordinator for Mecklenburg County schools in state testing, Buncombe County schools as Technical Assistant, and Game Development Programmer with a lottery vendor has made her skill set very marketable. She has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from South Carolina State University.

Erin McNelis

Erin McNelis is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and currently serves as the Chair of the Faculty. Dr. McNelis joined Western Carolina University in 2002 after finishing her Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences at Clemson University. She teaches a wide variety of courses in mathematics, from introductory through the graduate level, and serves as advisor to both undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. McNelis’ research is typically in the areas of mathematical biology, numerical analysis, scientific computing, and mathematical modeling, though she enjoys working with students and peers on many different topics, both pure and applied. Dr. McNelis is actively involved in service at all levels within the university.

Lois Petrovich-Mwaniki

Lois Petrovich-Mwaniki – is the current Director of International Programs and Services at Western Carolina University (WCU), NC, which handles study abroad opportunities for WCU students and international opportunities for faculty; welcomes international students; manages the intensive language program; assists international visitors and faculty; and assists with student and visitor visas. For eleven years she taught art to grades 1-12 in German Gymnasien in North and South Germany and at the Laboratory School at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), Indiana, PA.  For fifteen years, Dr. Petrovich-Mwaniki taught art education theory and practice to pre-service teachers at IUP, Purdue University, the Ohio State University, and WCU; held international or state positions in the National Art Education Association, the United States Society for Education through Art, and the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars. Her research interests include German art education trends, multicultural education, and teacher education theory and practice.  Dr. Petrovich-Mwaniki is the current chair of the NC University Council of International Programs (UCIP), a council comprised of the Chief International Officers of the sixteen NC state universities, which collaborates on issues concerning study abroad, international student, faculty mobility, and the state's UNC Exchange Program.  She also chairs the UCIP Committee on Internationalizing Teacher Education, which is collaborating on joint efforts with the UNC Colleges of Education to internationalize teacher education programs.

Judy Neubrander

Dr. Judy Neubrander received her Master's of Science in Nursing, with a focus in adult health and nursing education from the University of Kansas in 1994. In 2002 she received her doctorate in Adult and Community College Education from North Carolina State University. She is a certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse and a Palliative Care Fellow from Harvard School of Medicine. She became an ELNEC trainer in 2001. She became a certified nurse educator in 2006. She completed her certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner in May of 2009. She currently teaches courses in nursing theory, roles and issues, ethics, nursing education, tests and measurement and dying and palliative care. She serves as the interim Associate Dean for the College of Health and Human Sciences and has a strong track record of grant implementation including a 2008 HRSA Advance Nurse Education grant for $820,000.  Her areas of interest and research include end-of-life care, gerontology, international missionary/volunteer services and adult education. One of her goals is to help the neediest of the world both at home and abroad.

Lori Oxford

Lori Oxford is an Assistant Professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages at Western Carolina University. In 2007, she completed her doctorate in Spanish with a minor in Latin American Studies at the University of Georgia. Although her research interests include culture and literature from various parts of the Spanish-speaking world, her area of specialization is contemporary Cuban narrative and film.  Immediately after graduation, she accepted an Assistant Professor position at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania. In 2008, however, she returned to the southern U.S. and became a part of Western Carolina University, where she is happy to have found her niche. She is fortunate to be able to frequently teach courses on special topics, which allows her to keep students abreast of rapidly changing cultural environments in the Spanish-speaking world.  Every summer, she takes a small group of WCU students to Valencia, Spain, where she and another instructor provide classes in advanced language practice as well as history and culture of the region.  She also serves as faculty advisor for the newly formed student organization, Comunidad y conciencia, whose members engage in letter-writing campaigns to raise awareness and make their voices heard regarding issues of immigrant rights in their own communities.

Sanjay Rajagopal

Dr. Rajagopal is an Associate Professor of Finance in the College of Business. He was born in India and is a naturalized citizen of the United States. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Economics from India, and a Doctor of Business Administration degree in Finance from Mississippi State University. His areas of interest include teaching Corporate Finance and Financial Valuations, and his current research focuses on corporate finance in emerging economies, and market efficiency. Prior to joining the faculty at WCU, Dr. Rajagopal taught at Castleton State College, VT, and Montreat College, NC.

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