Civic Engagement Institute 2013

"Becoming Citizens, Becoming Community"

2013 CEI homepage


Dr. Tom Acaro, Elon University
Dr. Joe Blosser, High Point University
Ms. Theresa Cusimano, VA CEEP
Ms. Carol Davis, High Point University
Ms. Tiffany Dumas, Interactive Resource Center & Kathleen Edwards, UNC Greensboro
Dr. Rebecca Dumlao, East Carolina University
Dr. Julie Ellison, University of Michigan, Citizen Alum
Mr. John Fenner, Center for Courage & Renewal 
Dr. Jarvis Hall, NC Central University
Dr. Cathy Hamilton, UNC Greensboro
Dr. Katy Harriger, Wake Forest University
Ms. Shayla Herndon-Edmunds, Wake Forest University
Ms. Jean Johnson, Public Agenda
Dr. Spoma Jovanovic, UNC Greensboro
Dr. Kate LaMere, East Carolina University
Ms. Sarah Martin, High Point University
Mr. Dennis McCunney, East Carolina University
Dr. Jill McMillan, Wake Forest University
Dr. Kristin Moretto, UNC Greensboro
Dr. Tom Mould, Elon University
Dr. William Muse, National Issues Forum Institute
Dr. Barbee Myers Oakes, Wake Forest University
Dr. Christopher Poulos, UNC Greensboro
Mr. Jonathan Romm, CEEP
Dr. Paige Schneider, East Carolina University
Dr. Jeff Spinner-Halev, UNC Chapel Hill
Mr. Ben Turner, High Point University
Dr. Beth Velde, East Carolina University

Tom Acaro

Tom Arcaro has been teaching sociology at Elon University since 1985 and has offered a wide variety of courses, many dealing with social justice and global citizenship.  He is the founding director of the Periclean Scholars program at Elon University and served as the Mentor to the inaugural Class of Periclean Scholars, the Class of 2006.  This program will induct its eleventh Class this coming April.  He is serving as a consultant for the University of Monterrey (Mexico) as they replicate the Periclean Scholars model with plans to induct their inaugural class this coming spring.  In 1994 Tom helped pilot Elon’s required foundation course “Understanding the Global Experience” and in 2010 co-edited a text by that same name.  He has presented about the Periclean Scholars model and global citizenship regionally, nationally and internationally on numerous occasions, was a featured speaker at the Training for Trusteeship conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and was a convocation speaker at the University of Monterrey in January 2012.  In 2012 Arcaro designed and taught the course “Becoming a Global Citizen” and is working with his students to produce a book with that title.  Other research interests include the sociology of religion with a focus on nonbelievers and the intersection between evolutionary psychology and sociology.

Joe Blosser

Rev. Joe Blosser, PhD, is the Robert G. Culp Jr. Director of Service Learning and Asst. Professor of Religion and Philosophy at High Point University. He obtained his PHD in Religious Ethics at the University of Chicago, his M.Div at Vanderbilt University, and his BS in Economics at Texas Christian University. Dr. Blosser's current research concerns the philosophical foundations of engaged pedagogy. His wife, Allison, also teaches at HPU, and they live with their son in High Point.


Theresa Cusimano

Theresa Cusimano, J.D. is Virginia's Campus Election Engagement Project Director.  Theresa holds a Juris Doctorate from the State University of New York, Buffalo School of Law with a Certificate in Law & Public Education.  Cusimano's Masters degree is in Higher Education Administration. Theresa served as Executive Director of Colorado Campus Compact from 2000-2009, where she helped rebuild the ten year old organization to become the largest regional consortia offering national service opportunities to more than 4,000 students annually throughout the Western region.  While in Colorado, Cusimano worked alongside civic author Paul Loeb educating college students in voter registration and engaging them in the 2008 election, ultimately engaging record numbers of students at some of the highest rates in Colorado history.  Theresa & Paul continued their work in a non-Presidential election year and were awarded a $70,000 grant from the Help Americans Vote Act to work with the Denver County Elections Registrar on a college poll worker fellowship program.  More recently, Cusimano served as Director of the Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning at the University of Michigan from 2009-2011. There she expanded funding for both the America Reads literacy program serving Detroit public schools and the alternative break program serving over fifty partner agencies, exploring immersions in Haiti for U of M alumni, students and the Detroit activist communities. Theresa can be reached at her personal website at .

Carol Davis

Carol Angela Davis, JD, is a journalist, entrepreneur, professor and pioneer in online media with the distinction of being one of the first online video bloggers in the U.S. (August 2000).  Carol’s Los Angeles based enterprise created an online platform which supported the global distribution of television and film content for hundreds of independent content providers, including celebrities.

As a former writer, producer and reporter for Chicago’s WGN- TV News and her proprietary online daily news programs, Carol was among the first to generate revenue on the web using video based content. She has interviewed hundreds of CEOs from the floors of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade and through her reporter platforms at the Nasdaq, AMEX and New York Stock Exchange. Separately, she managed all national and global media for Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos during the second trial of pop star Michael Jackson where he was acquitted of all charges.

Shifting her interest to academia, her current work and research at High Point University involve wrapping pedagogy in civic engagement experiences to create a holistic educational environment for today’s student.  Her premise is twofold. First, civic engagement can offer education experiences that are multidisciplinary in scope and life-changing for the student.  Second, some opportunities can become future profit centers for colleges and universities.  Carol is the creator and Co-Principal Investigator of High Point University’s Democracy USA/American Dream Project, which was funded by a Think BIG! award, the university’s most prestigious grant.

Carol received an A.B. in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She is also a 2012 Reynolds Fellow in business journalism.  She is married, the mother of 2 adult children and the author of children’s books Itty Bitty Kitty, The Fool from Bonderpool (He Wouldn’t Go to School!) and Teeth Have Feelings Too! So Brush Them!.

Tiffany Dumas
Kathleen Edwards

Tiffany Dumas is the Volunteer Coordinator at the Interactive Resource Center (IRC), a daytime center for people experiencing homelessness, and Kathleen Edwards is a PhD student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). We have been collaborating at the IRC  for more than three years. Most recently our work has included co-teaching a service-learning course that brings together IRC guests and UNCG students in deep conversations and projects related to topics of power, privilege, oppression, and resistance. Additionally we think a lot about the progression of our partnership and its impact on our own learning.

Rebecca Dumlao

Dr. Rebecca Dumlao is Associate Professor in Communication at East Carolina University and a 2012 graduate of UNC’s BRIDGES program in leadership development for academic women. She developed the first service-learning course in the School of Communication in 2001. Since then over 1600 students have completed this capstone course contributing an estimated 18,000 hours of service in the community. Last year, she served as Chair of the Service Learning Committee, a team that plans the annual service learning conference and brings national leaders to campus.

After graduating from ECU’s Engagement and Outreach Scholar’s Conference in 2009, Dumlao initiated and now co-directs the Health Communication Puppetry Program. This community-based teaching and research initiative prepares college students to work collaboratively with community partners by using puppet shows to promote healthy eating, diabetes prevention, active lifestyles and good dental care.

Dumlao regularly speaks and publishes on communication both nationally and internationally and serves on the editorial boards for Partnerships- A Journal of Service Learning and Civic Engagement and the International Journal of Research on Community Engagement. Her current research explores leadership in women involved in the scholarship of engagement as well as service-learning pedagogy and the impacts of the puppetry work. She is working on a book titled Collaborative Communication Principles and Practices for Service-Learning in a Rapidly Changing World. 

Julie Ellison

One of the foremost commentators in the U.S. on emerging models of socially responsive knowledge creation in the humanities and arts, Ellison is Professor of American Culture and English at the University of Michigan. She was Founding Director of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life (IA) from 2001 to 2007 and continues to play an active role in the consortium. With Dr. Timothy Eatman, she co-authored Scholarship in Public: Knowledge Creation and Tenure Policy in the Engaged University (2008) and is co-PI, with Eatman, of IA's Tenure Team Initiative Research Group. She founded and currently leads Citizen Alum, a national initiative of the American Commonwealth Partnership announced in January 2012 at a White House Meeting, "For Democracy's Future."  She is part of the leadership team at the University of Michigan for Linking Full Participation, a multi-campus initiative that aims to "locate public problem solving at the intersection of research, teaching, and a way that engages the full participation of diverse communities."  Ellison's international practice includes sustained partnerships in South Africa and active connections with several campuses in Canada and New Zealand.  Author of three scholarly works on U.S. and British literary and cultural history, she is currently working on two research projects: a series of essays on "The Public Project of the Humanities” and a book in progress,"Lyric Citizenship," which models 'close reading' and framing strategies for the multiple artifacts of participatory cultural projects, especially those that center on acts and sites of writing.  Her courses include "Getting In: What College Means in America," "Public Poetry," and "Organizing Culture."

John Fenner

John Fenner is a Program Director for the Center for Courage & Renewal where he has been facilitating retreats since 2003.   He is also a Senior Associate for Everyday Democracy, an organization dedicated to helping communities organize dialogue to action projects. Between 1989 and 2006, John served as Executive Director of the Center for Dialogue, a community-based nonprofit dedicated to the promotion of peaceful communities and positive change in individuals and organizations.  John’s work as a consultant to nonprofits, churches, and communities includes conflict resolution, dialogue, racial equity, and organizational change processes.

Jarvis A. Hall

Dr. Hall graduated from North Carolina A & T State University with a BA degree in Political Science.  Hall received a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Michigan, and a Ph. D. in Political Science from Duke University.  Hall has taught at North Carolina A & T State University in Greensboro, St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, and Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.  Since 1995, he has been a member of the faculty at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) in Durham where he is an Associate Professor of Political Science.  Also, he served as Chair of the Department of Political Science from 1998-2005.  From 2006 to 2008, Hall was Director of the Academic Community Service Learning Program.   Currently, he is founding Director of the Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change (ICESC) at NCCU.

Hall’s research and teaching interests include black politics, public policy, social movements, and grassroots politics.  He has written several articles and papers and made numerous presentations on these topics.  Moreover, he has been a frequent commentator in newspapers, and he has appeared on several radio and televisions programs to discuss politics and public policy.  Also, Hall is very active in efforts to increase the level of political awareness and participation in the community.  In fact, he has served on a number of boards of organizations dedicated to those goals, including the National Civic League, the North Carolina Justice Policy Center, and the North Carolina Center for Voter Education.  From 2006 to 2008 he served as chair of the Political Action Committee of the North Carolina-National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  In addition, he is a member of the Executive Council of the Southern Political Science Association. 

Presently, Hall and ICESC are involved in two important civic engagement initiatives.  First, Hall is the founder of the North Carolina HBCU Student Engagement and Empowerment Network (SEEN).  The mission of SEEN is to build the civic capacity of students at North Carolina’s historically black colleges and universities.  Second, ICESC, in partnership with the N. C. NAACP, the UNC-CH Poverty Center, the North Carolina Justice Center, and North Carolina AARP,  sponsored the North Carolina Truth and Hope Poverty Tour.  The purpose of the tour was to put a face on poverty in North Carolina and to elevate poverty as a political issue and policy focus.  Since January of 2012, the tour has covered over 2,000 miles as it has traveled to almost 30 communities in the state.  More importantly, the tour has heard from hundreds who have described in very poignant terms how poverty has imparted their lives.

Cathy H. Hamilton

Cathy Hamilton received her Ph.D. from the School of Human Resource Education and Workforce Development at Louisiana State University. She also holds the M.S. degree in Adult Education from Texas A&M University and a B.A. from the honors college (Plan II) of the University of Texas at Austin. Through the Office of Leadership and Service-Learning she provides support for both academic and co-curricular service-learning, student leadership, and civic engagement. Dr. Hamilton has worked in educational human resource development at the national and international level for the past 19 years. She worked the better part of a decade in leadership development, education, and publishing in Latin America. Working with faculty in university-community partnerships as well as working with popular education initiatives in Latin America has impressed upon her the power of collaborative alliances between universities and partners that together transform our communities. She is active with Campus Compact, having served on two State Advisory Boards and currently serves as Book Review Editor for the NCCC Partnerships: A Journal of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement. Her published work can be found in the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement.

Katy Harriger

Katy Harriger received her PhD from the University of Connecticut. She teaches courses in the areas of American Politics, constitutional law, the judicial process, and civic engagement.  She is the co-author and editor with Louis Fisher of American Constitutional Law, 9th ed. (Carolina Academic Press 2011), editor of Separation of Powers:  Commentary and Documents (Congressional Quarterly Press 2003), the author of The Special Prosecutor in American Politics. 2nd ed., revised (University Press of Kansas, 2000), and Independent Justice:  The Federal Special Prosecutor in American Politics (University Press of Kansas, 1992), as well as a number of articles about constitutional law issues in journals and law reviews. In 2007 she co-authored, with Jill J. McMillan, Speaking of Politics:  Preparing College Students for Democratic Citizenship through Deliberative Dialogue (Kettering Foundation Press).  Her current research involves using former Supreme Court justices’ papers to study how the law has changed in the areas of separation of powers and racial segregation in the schools.

Shayla Herndon-Edmunds

Shayla Herndon-Edmunds joined the Office of Diversity & Inclusion as Manager of Diversity Education in March 2012.  Prior to her appointment in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Edmunds was the executive assistant to the University’s senior vice president for finance and administration, where she served as a liaison between the division, the campus community and external constituents.  During her tenure in finance and administration, Edmunds supported diversity and inclusion as a volunteer.  She pioneered the development and implementation of the GateKeepers Workshop Series, which led to the development of the university’s cultural competence education model.
As Manager of Diversity Education, Edmunds is responsible for developing and managing programs and initiatives that will elevate faculty competence and scholarship regarding diversity and inclusion; implementing student diversity education programs; enhancing current staff diversity education programming; and expanding all facets of diversity education within the Wake Forest community.

Edmunds received her B.A. degree from George Mason University in 2002.  She is a Virginia native and now resides in Winston-Salem with her husband, Curtis and her children, Michael and Madison. Among her many interests and passions are writing, gardening, and cooking.  She is also a self-published author, motivational speaker, and certified coach.

Jean Johnson

Jean Johnson is a Senior Fellow and Special Advisor at Public Agenda, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and engagement organization. In her work at Public Agenda, she has authored or co-authored Public Agenda studies on education, families, religion, race relations, the federal budget, retirement, welfare, and health care. Most recently, she was the lead author of the Public Agenda/Kettering Foundation report Don't Count Us Out: How an Overreliance on Accountability Could Undermine the Public's Confidence in Schools, Business, Government, and More. She was also the lead author of One Degree of Separation: How Young Americans Who Don't Finish College See Their Changes for Success, a new study on young adults' views on college underwritten by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In addition to her Public Agenda publications, Ms. Johnson is the author of You Can't Do It Alone: A Communications And Engagement Manual For School Leaders Committed To Reform, Rowman & Littlefield in December, 2011. She is also the co-author of series of guides designed to help typical citizens understand complex public policy issues, all written with Public Agenda senior fellow Scott Bittle. Published by HarperCollins, the series includes: Where Did the Jobs Go—and What Can We Do to Get Them Back? (published in February 2012), Where Does the Money Go? Your Guided Tour to the Federal Budget Crisis; and Who Turned Out the Lights? Your Guided Tour to the Energy Crisis; and Ms. Johnson has also written articles for USA Today, The Huffington Post, National Institute of Justice Journal, Educational Leadership, and Education Week. She has prepared papers and presentations for major organizations including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The Urban Institute, National Institute of Justice, and the National Education Summit of the National Governors' Association. She has appeared on Bill Moyers' Journal, The Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, CNN, The O'Reilly Factor, NPR's Fresh Air, among others.

Ms. Johnson has served on the Research Committee of The Ad Council, and is currently a member of the board of the National Issues Forums Institute, an organization that convenes citizens nationwide for non-partisan discussions on important issues.

Prior to joining Public Agenda in 1980, Ms. Johnson was Resource Director for Action for Children's Television in Boston, where she authored a number of articles on television and children. In addition to her work at Public Agenda, Ms. Johnson is a director of Sugal Records, a small, New York-based classical music recording company. Ms. Johnson graduated from Mount Holyoke College and holds master's degrees from Brown University and Simmons College.

Spoma Jovanovic

Dr. Jovanovic is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at UNCG.  She is interested in expanding the domain of public discourse, seeing the promise of a critical, conversation-based discourse as the way in which to invite varied perspectives into civic discussions on social issues. "How do we communicate so that it positively affects public policy? How do we include divergent, even radical voices without hurting our relationships?" Her primary interests are in communication ethics, social justice, and community. Through teaching, research, and advocacy, Jovanovic writes about and participates in community programs for social change.

Jovanovic was involved with the "Greensboro Truth and Community Reconciliation Project" that reopened the dialogue surrounding the events of November 3, 1979. Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi members opened fire on a march that day organized by the Communist Workers' Party in an African American neighborhood. Jovanovic says that this kind of grassroots effort tested "how we can stretch the idea of democracy to include diverse communities." Her book describing this work, Democracy, Dialogue and Community Action: Truth and Reconciliation in Greensboro, was released in November 2012 by the University of Arkansas Press.

Jovanovic is currently studying another community effort that aims to integrate Participatory Budgeting practices into municipal decision-making. As an activist-scholar, she is working with local community organizers and elected officials to inspire the democratic arts and practices necessary for deep and meaningful participation that can inspire greater public trust of city governance practices.
Jovanovic began her career working in public relations, nonprofit management, and community relations. She arrived at UNCG from the University of Denver, where she received her doctoral degree in human communication studies.

Kate LaMere

Kate LaMere is design researcher and graphic design educator. She is an Assistant Director at East Carolina University's School of Art and Design and is an Assistant Professor and Area Coordinator of the Graphic Design Program at ECU. She holds Ph.D. and MA degrees in Design from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and studied the history of decorative arts at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City. Her BFA in graphic design is from Iowa State University.

Dr. LaMere conducts qualitative and mixed-methods research that integrates approaches from other disciplines to better under the nature of graphic design professional practice. Her research focuses on documenting and defining the profession of graphic design’s body of knowledge. In addition to publications of her research, she has spoken at conferences in the US and England and been cited by design researchers in Europe. She has served on the board of AIGA Raleigh and is the recipient of a variety of research, teaching, and artists grants.

LaMere is a recent graduate of East Carolina University’s Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy. She is in the process of launching a new research stream focused on community-based participatory research with an emphasis in health disparities in rural Eastern North Carolina. She is currently working with ECU’s School of Dental Medicine to explore how to enhance dental students’ understanding and appreciation of rural Eastern North Carolina communities and life.

Sarah Martin

Sarah Martin is a senior communication major at High Point University. She is a Presidential scholar, member of Kappa Delta sorority, the Board of Stewards, Panther News, Petal Points and the American Dream Project. This past fall, Sarah traveled and worked with the local Fox affiliate, WGHP, to Tampa, FL for the Republican National Convention, and Charlotte, NC for the Democratic National Convention. Sarah is currently interning for Fox 8 and will graduate in May with hopes of finding a job in broadcast journalism.


Dennis McCunney

Dennis McCunney is director of the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center at East Carolina University.  He earned a B.A. in philosophy from Loyola University Maryland, M.Div. from Weston Jesuit School of Theology, and is a doctoral student in higher education administration at Morgan State University.  His dissertation research focuses on the formation of student culture around civic engagement and activism, specifically at Jesuit universities.  Before coming to ECU, Dennis worked at Loyola University Maryland's Center for Community Service and Justice coordinating leadership development and co-curricular service-learning programs.  He also served as a social justice minister at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.  His professional interests include leadership development, service-learning, community partner development, social justice education, and qualitative research methods.

Jill McMillan

Jill J. McMillan is Professor Emerita of Communication at Wake Forest University.  Her teaching and research has focused on numerous aspects of communication and rhetoric in organizations and institutions:  corporate identity, the strategies and impact of an organization’s public messages, communicative dysfunction among organizational members/groups, organizational democracy and decision-making, and pedagogy in higher education.  Recently she has studied deliberative democracy in higher education , and,  in 2007,  co-authored with Professor Katy Harriger Speaking of Politics:  Preparing College Students for Democratic Citizenship through Deliberative Dialogue.   Her work has appeared in such venues as Journal of Higher Education; Presidential Studies Quarterly;  Quarterly Journal of Speech;  Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion; and Management Communication Quarterly. 

Kristin Moretto

Kristin Moretto is the Assistant Director of Service-Learning at The University of North Carolina Greensboro, providing leadership in the development and implementation of service-learning/community-based learning opportunities, services, advocacy, and research initiatives. Kristin completed a Ph.D. in Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education from Michigan State University in the department of Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education. Prior to her current position, she served as Director of the MSU Student Food Bank and worked for the office of Faculty and Organizational Development at Michigan State University doing program planning and research.

Tom Mould

Tom Mould is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Elon University and director of PERCS, Elon’s Program for Ethnographic Research and Community Studies. He is the author of three books—Choctaw Prophecy: A Legacy of the Future (2003), Choctaw Tales (2004), and Still, the Small Voice: Revelation, Personal Narrative and the Mormon Folk Tradition (2011)—and co-author of two more—The Individual and Tradition (2011) and Latter-day Lore (2013). His research focuses on oral narrative, with particular attention to generic boundaries, constructed identities, and the elements of performance. He has engaged in public scholarship through his ethnographic videos for local PBS television stations that have examined folk art and culture in Indiana, Kentucky and North Carolina. His current work examines the intersection of narrative and socio-political discourse through a collaborative research project to understand the impact that narratives about the welfare system in the U.S. have on shaping public opinion and public policy.

William Muse

Dr. Muse is president of the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI), a non-profit nonpartisan network that, in partnership with the Kettering Foundation, publishes issue guides on major problems facing the nation and works with groups to conduct deliberative forums around the country. NIFI is based in Dayton, Ohio.

During his career in higher education, Muse served as chief executive officer of three major universities over a period of approximately twenty years. He was first selected as president of the University of Akron in 1984 and served in that post until 1992, seeing the university's enrollment expand to over 30,000 students. He also held many leadership posts in Akron, including chairman of the Akron Regional Development Board and director of National City Bank.

In early 1992, Muse was chosen as president of Auburn University, the land-grant university of Alabama. While at Auburn, he served as president of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). He was also a director of Southtrust Bank, Alabama Power Company, and the American Cast Iron Pipe Company. After retiring from Auburn in 2001, Muse served as chancellor of East Carolina University, a university of 22,000 students in eastern North Carolina, before retiring on December 31, 2003.

Muse is a native of Mississippi and attended elementary and secondary schools in both Mississippi and Louisiana. He received his undergraduate education at Northwestern State University in Louisiana, earning a BS degree in accounting. He then attended graduate school at the University of Arkansas, receiving an MBA and a PhD degree in business and administration. He began his teaching career on the faculty of the School of Industrial Management at Georgia Tech, later moving to Ohio University, where he served as chairman of the Department of Marketing and as director of the Division of Research.

Over the next twelve years, Muse served as the dean of the Business School at three different universities, beginning in 1970 as the first dean of Business at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. From 1973-79, he was dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and from 1979-83, dean at Texas A&M University. At Texas A&M, the business school grew to become the fifth largest business school in the nation in terms of full-time undergraduate enrollment.

Prior to going to Akron as president, Muse served for over a year as vice-chancellor for Academic Programs for the Texas A&M University System. He has held a number of national leadership posts, including international president of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity and is currently a member of the board of directors of the TKE Educational Foundation. He also serves on the board of the David Mathews Center for Civic Life in Alabama and as chair of the Advisory Council for the Fuller Center for Housing.

Muse and his wife, Marlene, have three children and four grandchildren. Muse resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Barbee Myers Oakes

As Assistant Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Oakes was the chief architect of Wake Forest University’s first strategic plan for diversity and inclusion.  She has since created a leadership infrastructure consisting of faculty, staff and students that engages the entire campus community in transforming the institutional culture. Expanding cultural competence education; employing innovative strategies to recruit and retain a diverse faculty, staff, and student constituencies; and developing graduate pipeline programs have also been key focus areas for Oakes in her role.
Prior to this appointment, she was the director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Wake Forest University from 1995-2009. Under her leadership, the OMA implemented key retention strategies that positioned Wake Forest among the most successful institutions in the nation with respect to graduating students of color.   Oakes also held assistant professorships at Penn State University, Arizona State University and Wake Forest.  She’s authored numerous publications and research presentations, co-authored five books and became the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in the American College of Sports Medicine. She has continued her professional involvement in the area of physical fitness by co-authoring seven textbooks since 1995.
Oakes’ professional and civic accomplishments include recognition by Diverse Issues in Higher Education as one of the top 25 “emerging” women in higher education and selection as a senior fellow for Future Focus 2020. 
Oakes holds a B.S. and M.A. in exercise science and cardiac rehabilitation from Wake Forest University.  She completed doctoral study in exercise physiology and nutrition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Christopher N. Poulos

Christopher N. Poulos is associate professor and head of the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  An ethnographer and philosopher of communication, he teaches courses in relational and family communication, ethnography, dialogue, and film. His book, Accidental Ethnography: An Inquiry into Family Secrecy, was published by Left Coast Press in 2009, and won the Best Book Award from NCA’s Ethnography Division in 2011.  His work has appeared in Qualitative Inquiry, Communication Theory, International Review of Qualitative Research, Southern Communication Journal, Qualitative Communication Research, and in several edited books. 


Jonathan S. Romm

Jonathan Romm has served as the Executive Director of the Campus Election Engagement Project (CEEP) since spring 2012. He holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from Marquette University and an M.Ed. of Higher Education Administration from the University of South Carolina. After receiving his master's degree, Romm served in the U.S. Peace Corps, assigned to Vanuatu as a math and English volunteer.  Upon successfully completing his service, Romm, along with two other returned Peace Corps volunteers, founded the Tsunami Assistance Project, which funded and built an orphanage in Nagaputinam, India.  From 2007 until 2011, Romm worked with North Carolina Campus Compact managing the AmeriCorps*VISTA and Summer Associate programs, facilitating student initiatives that included an annual student conference and advisory board, and coordinating the 2008 CEEP efforts.

Paige Schneider

Paige Schneider is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies and an Affiliate Faculty member in the Center for Sustainable Tourism at East Carolina University. A Midwest native, Paige completed her Bachelor of Science in Recreation and her Master of Education in Leisure and Tourism Studies at Bowling Green State University and Ph.D. in the department of Park, Recreation, and Tourism Resources at Michigan State University. Paige’s research has focused on marketing, communication, and consumer behavior related to tourism, with a special interest in adventure travel and ecotourism as well as sustainable community based development. Paige’s more than 12 years of experience in travel industry management offers her valuable insight and understanding into the importance translating research into practical application for the tourism industry.  She has worked with organizations such as the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), Sustainable Travel International (STI), and Conservation International conducting research of both the supply side (providers of tourism goods and services) and demand side (consumers/travelers) of the tourism industry.

Paige also works with rural communities interested in developing sustainable community-based tourism as an alternative means of diversifying the rural economy.  Sustainable tourism, as outlined by the World Tourism Organization (WTO), should make optimal use of environmental resources that help conserve natural heritage and biodiversity, respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities and provide socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders. Sustainable tourism has the potential to link the conservation of nature with the well-being of local communities through a number of positive benefits including revenue generation, cultural preservation, and capacity building. Her recent work with the Roanoke River Mayors Association has resulted in a tourism vision for the region (vs. individual towns) which embraces the principles of sustainable community-based tourism.  Using a strategic framework individual towns join efforts and resources to develop a shared vision for tourism in an effort to bring greater economic impact to North Carolina’s Roanoke River region. 

Jeff Spinner-Halev

Dr. Spinner-Halev is the Kenan Eminent Professor of Political Ethics in the Department of Political Science at UNC-Chapel Hill. He received his B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the tensions that arise within culturally plural democracies; the main focus for much of Spinner-Halev’s recent work is the U.S., India, and Israel. He is the author of The Boundaries of Citizenship:  Race, Ethnicity and Nationality in the Liberal State (Johns Hopkins, 1994) Surviving Diversity:  Religion and Democratic Citizenship (Johns Hopkins, 2000), co-editor of Minorities within Minorities:  Equality, Right and Diversity (Cambridge, 2005), Enduring Injustice (Cambridge, 2012) and the author of many book chapters and journal articles. Spinner-Halev was a Laurance S. Rockefeller Fellow at the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, and in the academic  year 2003-4 he was a Lady Davis Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and then a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies, also at Hebrew University. 

Ben Turner

Ben Turner is a junior at High Point University majoring in Communications. His field of study is Strategic Communication and he hopes to pursue a career in promotions, marketing and public relations. He is ambitious about his future and considers himself a go-getter. He has great interpersonal communication skills and loves being around people. Ben has been interested in politics since elementary school and finds democracy to be the greatest form of government that provides the best opportunities for citizens of a country. 

Beth Velde

Dr. Beth Velde is a the Director of Public Service and Community Relations and Professor  of Occupational Therapy  at East Carolina University. She directs the ECU Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy which  prepares ECU faculty,  graduate students and ECU scholars to partner with communities and conduct research that is important and relevant to the communities. Her community partners of 14 years include the Concerned Citizens of Tillery and Caswell Center. Her research includes  the culture of engagement at ECU, the perceptions of community partners regarding the roles and responsibilities of telling the story of community engagement, and the synergies between leadership and public service. She leads the ECU team for the Carnegie engaged university designation and chaired the working groups responsible for the SACS narratives on public service and community engagement.