Pauline E. Kayes, President
Pauline E. Kayes is President of DiversityWorks (Champaign, IL), a coalition of educators providing comprehensive diversity education for universities, community colleges, K-12 schools, communities, and businesses. For 30 years, the focus of Kayes’ career in higher education has been teaching, research, and activism in women’s studies, educational equity, multicultural education, and intercultural competence. In addition, as a professor of English, Humanities, and Women’s Studies, Kayes has not only taught and mentored many culturally diverse and minority students but also provided leadership in both college-wide and state-wide diversity committees, initiatives, and strategic planning. She has a B .A. in English and Philosophy (with valedictory honors) from St. Joseph’s College (Indiana) and a M.A. in English (Women’s Studies) from Purdue University.
Ken Coopwood, Vice President
By applying the principles of servant leadership early in his career, Ken Coopwood, Sr. “Dr. Coop” has excelled rapidly in the fields of diversity education, administration, leadership and identity development. A diversity educator and trainer since 1992, Ken has conducted numerous presentations for the benefit of personal identity development, workplace innovation and global atonement. He is a nationally known leader noted for holding a variety of high-energy and fun activities that fuse personal esteem with education and identity awareness. Ken is a motivator whose efforts have afforded him recent honors such as being named one of 12 People to Know in 2012 in Springfield Missouri, Society for Diversity Member of the Year in 2014, Selection to the National Advisory Council for The Academic Network and National Visionary Award by Insight Into Diversity Magazine in 2015.
Graciela Dufour, Cooperating Consultant
Graciela Dufour has been a respected leader in the human resource field for over 20 years with specific focus in higher education for the past 13 years. Her role in HR has evolved over the years to include responsibility for key areas of the institution. Strategic initiatives, diversity/inclusion, recruitment/retention, staff development, mediation/conflict resolution and communication are among her areas of expertise. Although Graciela’s main role is as the AVP for Human Resources, she also serves as both the Title IX Coordinator and the Chief Diversity Officer. Her guidance to various on-campus groups provides a continuous assessment of the culture on campus for all.
Tara Carter, Cooperating Consultant
Tara Y. Carter has a Ph.D. in Education (Community College Leadership) from Walden University. She also has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Northern Iowa and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Johnson C. Smith University, a Historically Black College/University located in Charlotte, N.C. In April 2011, she completed her dissertation, “A Change is Gonna Come: Critical Race Theory and African American Community College Faculty Narratives.” Dr. Carter spent more than 13 years as a community college instructor/associate professor in English before assuming administrative/leadership responsibilities.
Olga Ruiz, Cooperating Consultant
Race is a synonym for ethnicity. And so begins the discourse. I have been involved in the issue of diversity since being born a Latina in the United States. Educated and living in the Midwest my entire life, I have experienced challenges that had to do with my ethnicity. What makes people racist; why do people have privilege and stereotypes; where do these forms of beliefs and cognitions originate? These are questions that led me to engage and to become involved in the task of changing paradigms in the world around me. As a result of my experiences, I have become an educator whose goal is to work on human diversity and inclusion in the world.
Lorena Johnson, Cooperating Consultant
Lorena currently serves as Director of the Certified Public Manager Program of Illinois at the University of Illinois Springfield. For ten years, Lorena Johnson has served as a co-facilitator and a consultant for both the Cultural Diversity in Education and the Cultural Diversity at Work programs; in that capacity, she has worked with thousands of faculty, administrators, staff, employees, volunteers, etc. Johnson hold a B.S. in social work from Loyola University, a M.A. in Communication from Sangamon State University, and a M.P.A. from the University of Illinois at Springfield. A visual artist whose work has been shown in both the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest and a former Whitney Young fellow, Johnson focuses her research and writing on cultural equity and inclusion in the arts.