The Council for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) was initiated in June by Chancellor Yoho and the university leadership. The purpose of the CDI is three fold: to develop a clear understanding of student, staff, faculty and alumni opinions related to diversity, equity and inclusion within South University; to create goals and action plans to achieve diversity, inclusion and equity in alignment with the South University mission and vision; and to implement programs that improve diversity, equality and inclusion among the University community.
Chancellor Yoho asked campus leadership to nominate persons to become a part of the council as well as some persons being self-nominated after the Chancellor asked for volunteers in his email. Below is a listing of the 10 individuals that make up the council along with their reasons for serving.
Kalai Mugilan MAMS, MPH, Ph. D.
Program Director/ Assistant Professor
It is my value that all of us are brilliant, belong and are beautiful. Working towards human unity regardless of any label humans carry makes me hopeful about our future. For me, the final frontier is this human platform.
Steve A. Renaud, Ph.D.
Program Director, Psychology & Criminal Justice
It’s important to me because I believe that inclusion ultimately benefits everyone.
People with different lifestyles and backgrounds challenge each other more. Inclusion creates dissent and a dynamic where deep inquiry and breakthroughs happen. Stagnation thwarts ideas. As a growing educational institution, whose client base is increasingly heterogeneous, I delight in serving on a committee tasked with solving an unusual set of problems.
Charlotte Redden Hamilton, PhD, LPC/S, LAC, NCC, ACS
Department Chairperson, Program Director, and Associate Professor
Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program
I want to help people discover their unconscious bias and once uncovered, to heal. This will bring us to a place of acceptance and then we can truly be happy for others celebrating who they are even when it’s unknown or different from who we are.
Thomas I. Watson, D.Ed., LPC, NCC, CPCS
Program Director | Associate Professor
Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program
The practice of professional counseling extends beyond the parameters of providing effective and ethical therapeutic services to a diverse clientele. Another primary role of the professional counselor is to actively engage in advocacy for clients, the field of counseling, fellow counseling professionals, and counseling students working toward becoming effective professional clinicians. During my counseling career, I have identified underrepresented groups and provided colleagues with research-based training that involves best practices in both treatment and advocacy for those whose voices and concerns have been muted. I am serving on the Council of Diversity and Inclusion to assist in identifying areas of needed change, to develop strategies to bring about the change, and to help ensure a more inclusive campus community.
Jennifer Pantaleo, MPAS, PA-C
Tampa Master of Science in Physician Assistant Program
I chose to be a part of this council because I feel it is important that all individuals feel included and represented at our University and in our communities. We do this by taking an active approach to promote diversity and inclusion at all levels, including faculty, curriculum, engagement, and student body.
Student Engagement and Advocacy Liaison
The Council for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) is very important to me for a number of reasons. At South University, we need to continue to ensure that we are open and inclusive to different diverse groups of individuals already within the university as well as open to new individuals from all walks of life from outside the university. The CDI can be a great asset to help foster needed changes to ensure we include all of these different individuals. I'm excited to be a part of this change.
I am excited to be a member on the council of diversity and inclusion. Over the past year I have had the opportunity to train the staff members at South University’s online programs. It is important to me since I work with staff that moving forward, South University continues to create an environment and culture that falls in line with our mission statement when we talk about diversity and inclusion. I am inspired to work with the members of the council to take a proactive approach to create equity for staff, faculty and students at South University.
Melanie Yerk, Ph.D.
Dean of Academic Affairs and Operations
I am honored to service on the Council for Diversity and Inclusion at South University and to contribute to the important issues addressed within this committee. Being a part of this committee allows me to provide input regarding curricular changes and sensitivity trainings that will allow our University to be even stronger in the area of Diversity and Inclusion. At South University, we want to further develop a culture that allows all students, staff, and faculty members to feel included and to be celebrated for their individuality. This committee allows for this continued growth, and I look forward to being a part of many great initiatives to follow.
Human Resource Generalist
With a background in HR, I was appointed to the council. I understand how important it is for the University to foster an environment where all staff/faculty members feel valued and included. Being a part of the council gives me the opportunity to make an impact in staff/faculty engagement and promote inclusive practices throughout the staff/faculty experience at South University.
LaShanda R. Scott, M.Ed.
Dean of Student Affairs
Why?…Because representation matters, and having a Diversity and Inclusion Committee will help to ensure our campus culture represents unity and values our diverse student populations, and the communities we serve. I am grateful to serve our university as a member of this committee, and I am excited to connect with other campuses to embrace diversity and embody inclusion among our students and employees.
Erika Landa, MBA
Director of Student Financial Services
I accepted to be part of this council because as an Hispanic-American I value the richness in culture, I see an opportunity that working in a diverse team opens up dialogues to so many valuable topics, understanding more our society, our different points of views and enhances creativity. I truly believe that working together in this, regardless of skin color, gender, intellect or years, will open up more clarity of who we are as a society and celebrate the beauty of diversity, the South University diversity.