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Diversity Advisory Council

Alonzo M. Flowers III - Drexel Univeristy Assistant Professor for MS in Higher Education

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).

The DAC is co-chaired by Alonzo M. Flowers III, PhD, Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Associate Professor in the School of Education, and 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). Matthew Shirley image

The Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) spent their inaugural year developing a call to action and key objectives. The DAC’s call to action reads:

"The Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) at Drexel University prioritizes equity at all levels within the Graduate College and will assist in evaluating and supporting the implementation of the Strategic Priority 2: Foster Diversity and Inclusion identified in the Graduate College strategic plan to achieve and sustain diversity, equity, and inclusion. The DAC will identify measures to ensure continues and persistent work toward equity and make recommendations to the Graduate College, with the intention of implementation. [Additionally, the DAC will hold accountable the Graduate College for their 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 celebrates diversity and inclusion within the Graduate College. In addition, the objectives of the DAC should be designed to serve as a vehicle to help move the Graduate College from its current state regarding equity, inclusion, and diversity toward a more equitable environment for all members of the community. These objectives include:

  • Elevate important issues related to diversity, inclusion, and equity to 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 diversity, inclusion, and equity 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).

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
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Framework DE&I Evaluation
  • PhD Handbook Review/Discussion
  • Diversity Commitment Statement

Council Members

  • Faculty ChairAlonzo M. Flowers, School of Education
  • Student ChairMatthew A. Shirley, PhD Student, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems
  • Aaron Fafarman, College of Engineering
  • William Fenton, College of Engineering
  • Amelia Green, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Monet Harbison, Office of Research and Innovation
  • Stephanie Johnson, Kline School of Law
  • Md Rasheduzzaman, PhD Student, College of Engineering
  • Thant Soe, PhD Student, College of Engineering
  • Ebony White, College of Nursing and Health Professions
  • Anne Converse Willkomm, Graduate College, Goodwin College of Professional Studies

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. Flowers at amf422@drexel.edu. In your email, please include a short diversity philosophy (no more that 250 words) that highlights your commitment to diversity, equity, 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 DEI issues impacting the graduate student experience. With that being said, we encourage anyone interested to reach out and participate as much as possible.