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Diversity Advisory Council

About the Council

The Graduate College formed the Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) in spring 2020 to address issues of institutional racism, unconscious bias and racial inequalities within the Drexel community, raise awareness of these issues, implement action items, and support our Black community members. The council liaises academic and administrative units, and is aligned with the goals and efforts of the University's Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF).

Alonzo M. Flowers III, PhD, served as the DAC's inaugural faculty chair and Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Graduate College from 2021-2022. Dr. Flowers appointed Ebony E. White, PhD, who took over the role of faculty chair in 2022. The inaugural student chair of the DAC is Matthew Shirley, PhD student in Biomedical Engineering in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, NSF Graduate Research Fellow and President of the Drexel Black Graduate Student Union (DBGSU).

Dr. Ebony E. White is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Counseling and Family Therapy Department at Drexel University. She is a licensed professional counselor, national certified counselor, and approved clinical supervisor. She currently serves as the Interim Director of the Stephen & Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Center. Dr. White runs the ROAR research lab in which she focuses on social justice and advocacy within the African diasporic community. She is President of Counselors for Social Justice and was appointed to the ACA Anti-Racism Taskforce in 2021.

The DAC has worked over the past two years to ensure it is operating with the goal of social justice. Over the past year we have identified our mission statement, understanding it is a living artifact that will grow as we continue to grow as a community. We also are dedicated to our role of holding the Graduate College accountable to Strategic Priority 2, ensuring we are prioritizing equity and justice in our words and actions. Finally we are working on ways to support faculty in ensuring their syllabi are anti-racist and include diverse voices.

Read the Graduate College's Strategic Plan

Last updated November 2021. Requires Drexel login.

Mission Statement

The Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) at Drexel University prioritizes equity at all levels within the Graduate College. The DAC will assist in evaluating and supporting the implementation of the Strategic Priority 2 as identified in the Graduate College strategic plan to achieve and sustain diversity, equity, and justice, and prevent academic redlining within our community. The DAC acknowledges not only the individual actions that impede equity and justice but also the White Supremacist and Hegemonic structures that shape decisions and actions that perpetuate and reproduce inequity. The DAC will identify measures and make actionable recommendations to ensure continued and persistent work toward equity within the Graduate College. Additionally, the DAC will hold accountable the Graduate College for their timely implementation of the Strategic Priority 2. Together as a university-wide community, the DAC is committed to self-assessing and strengthening our own cultural competence by creating a climate that values diversity, champions equity, and seeks justice within the Graduate College

Call to Action

The objectives of the DAC should be designed to serve as a vehicle to help move the Graduate College from its current state regarding justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) toward a more equitable environment for all members of the community. These objectives include:

  • Elevate important issues related to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion to the Graduate College.
  • Provide consultation and leadership on current and new initiatives including climate surveys, discussions, cross-cultural awareness and learning opportunities for students, staff, and faculty with the Graduate College.
  • Continue to address different forms of diversity within the scope of program development and other Graduate College initiatives.
  • Ensure diversity reflects the inclusion of emerging majority groups that have been historically excluded from the conversations and spaces.
  • Advise on the best approaches to attracting and retaining historically marginalized groups and equity student body generally.
  • Recommend approaches to ensure that ongoing efforts around JEDI are well-coordinated with the Graduate College.
  • Recommend that the Graduate College provides levels of transparency regarding data concerning diversity and inclusion initiatives (public data).

Council Tasks 

The DAC also worked on developing the membership guidelines for the committee. The council is fundamental to establishing an inclusive community of scholars where differences of ideas and backgrounds are respected, welcomed, and valued. As such we worked on the following measurable tasks:

  • DAC Membership Policy
  • Graduate College Strategic Plan
  • Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Framework & Evaluation
  • Handbook & Policies Review/Discussion
  • JEDI Commitment Statement

Council Members 2022-2023

  • Faculty ChairEbony E. White, College of Nursing and Health Professions
  • Vanessa Cohen, Disability Resources
  • Michelle Dolinski, College of Arts and Sciences 
  • Sharon Erwin, Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design 
  • Patrice Farquharson, MS Student, College of Nursing and Health Professions 
  • Terrence Harris, College of Engineering
  • Tsz Kwok, Graduate College
  • Stephanie Leigh, Kline School of Law
  • Marisol Norris, College of Nursing and Health Professions 
  • Stephanie Smith Budhai, School of Education 
  • Katrina Struloeff, PhD Student, School of Education 
  • Rachael Walton, PhD Student, School of Education

Call for Members

The Graduate College and DAC co-chairs welcome graduate and professional students, faculty and professional staff members who wish to participate or nominate members to the council to contact Dr. White at eew54@drexel.edu. In your email, please include a short diversity philosophy (no more that 250 words) that highlights your commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion work within the graduate community.

About the Commitment

DAC members will be asked to serve a two-year term and attend bi-monthly meetings that will address critical JEDI issues impacting the graduate student experience. With that being said, we encourage anyone interested to reach out and participate as much as possible.