AASCU’s American Democracy Project, The Democracy Committee and the NASPA Lead Initiative are proud to announce its committee members for the 2018 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting in Anaheim, California. Below you’ll find out more about them and their contributions to spirit of civic engagement and learning in higher education.
Jennifer Domagal-Goldman directs AASCU’s American Democracy Project (ADP). She earned her doctorate in higher education from the Pennsylvania State University. She received her master’s degree in higher education and student affairs administration from the University of Vermont and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester. Jennifer’s dissertation focused on how faculties learn to incorporate civic learning and engagement in their undergraduate teaching within their academic discipline. Jennifer holds an ex-officio position on the eJournal of Public Affairs’ editorial board and sits on the boards of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge and the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition.
Stephanie King is the Assistant Director for Knowledge Communities and Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Initiatives at NASPA where she directs the NASPA Lead Initiative. She has worked in higher education since 2009 in the areas of student activities, orientation, residence life, and civic learning and democratic engagement. Stephanie earned her Master of Arts in Psychology at Chatham University and her B.S. in Biology from Walsh University. She has served as the Coordinator for Commuter, Evening and Weekend Programs at Walsh University, Administrative Assistant to the VP and Dean of Students for the Office of Student Affairs, the Coordinator of Student Affairs, and the Assistant Director of Residence Life and Student Affairs at Chatham University.
Verdis L. Robinson is the National Director of The Democracy Commitment after serving as a tenured Assistant Professor of History and African-American Studies at Monroe Community College (NY). Professionally, Verdis is a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Faculty Seminar on Citizenship and the American and Global Polity, and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Faculty Seminar on Rethinking Black Freedom Studies: The Jim Crow North and West. Additionally, Verdis is the founder of the Rochester Neighborhood Oral History Project that with his service-learning students created a walking tour of the community most impacted by the 1964 Race Riots, which has engaged over 400 members of Rochester community in dialogue and learning. He holds a B.M. in Voice Performance from Boston University, a B.S. and an M.A. in History from SUNY College at Brockport, and an M.A. in African-American Studies from SUNY University at Buffalo.
Melissa Baker-Boosamra is the Associate Director of Student Life for Civic Engagement and Assessment at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) (Mich.). In her role she directs the work of the GVSU Community Service Learning Center and is responsible for coordinating assessment efforts throughout the Office of Student Life. Prior to this role, Melissa served as the founding Program Director for Cook Library Scholars program, a college pipeline program for students from first generation immigrant families in Grand Rapids, MI. Melissa also served as a faculty member in the GVSU Brooks College where she developed and implemented a number of innovative courses, including Global Citizenship, an international service learning course, which led students to Guatemala in order to explore the relationship between global problems and local solutions. She was recognized for her achievements by Michigan Campus Compact in 2010, and was named a Presidential Service Scholar. Melissa finds great joy in spending time with her three children, gardening, dancing and she just completed her first (mini!) triathlon!
Gregg Grenier is the Director of Community Engagement at Mount Ida College (Mass.) where he was the co-founder of the Center for Community Engagement in July 2016. Gregg has extensive experience in the community engagement and service-learning field as a student, a professional within the nonprofit sector, and as a professional within the higher education field. Gregg’s expertise is specifically in nonprofit financial management, board development, and volunteer management. As part of his position at Mount Ida, Gregg oversees all community partner relationships for curricular and co-curricular experiences, civic engagement, day-to-day operations of the Center, and service trips. Gregg’s passion for civic engagement stems from his work within community engagement where he became increasingly frustrated with formal and informal systems that lead to certain populations being disadvantaged. Gregg holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Bentley University and a Master’s degree in Higher Education from Columbia University.
Daisy Henderson is a visiting professor of Sociology at the College of Arts and Sciences at Ferris State University (Mich.). She holds a PhD in Sociology from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York (SUNY Buffalo). Her research interests include the sociology of the family, race/class/ethnicity, qualitative sociology, with an additional expertise in foster care families and social inequality. While at SUNY Buffalo she was the principal researcher on projects related to foster care placements for the Center of Development for Human Services (CDHS) in Erie County, New York, and SUNY Buffalo. As the principal researcher on these projects, she has created resource manuals, teaching curriculums and user guides for case/social workers as well pamphlets for families interested in foster care/adoption services. She has presented her research at several conferences such as the Eastern Sociological Conference, the North Central Sociological Association, and the American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences. She has participated in training workshops such as Deliberate Dialogue Moderator Training and Intergroup Dialogue and Education Diversity Workshop. She also served as a deliberate dialogue moderator at the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting.
Chris Hutchison, Ph.D., serves as the assistant dean of students at Chapman University (CA). In this role, he oversees civic engagement initiatives, cross-cultural engagement, Greek life, student organizations, the student union and fitness center. He also advises the Student Government Association, serves on the University’s Diversity Response Committee, and the Community Engagement and Service Learning Working Group. Additionally, Chris serves as an adjunct faculty member in the College of Educational Studies at Chapman, teaching in the undergraduate Leadership Studies Minor program and the Higher Education Emphasis for the Master of Arts in Leadership Development. Chris received his M.A. in leadership studies from the University of San Diego and his M.S. in educational studies-higher education from the University of Oxford. He also received his Ph.D. in education from Chapman University, researching undergraduate civic learning and its impact from employing democratic pedagogy, embedding experiential processes, and centralizing university-community dynamics within the curriculum. Through Chapman’s role as a Lead Advisory Institution, he has been active in NASPA’s Lead Initiative on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) since its inception in 2012; he also served on the 2014 NASPA Western Regional Conference Planning Committee. Chris is in his 20th year serving as a higher education professional.
Molly Kerby is an Associate Professor in the Department of Diversity & Community Studies at Western Kentucky University. She teaches primarily in the Diversity and Community Studies undergraduate major and the Masters of Arts in Social Responsibility and Sustainable Communities (SRSC) graduate program. She also teaches courses in the Gender & Women’s Studies minor and the Global Pathways to Sustainability and Gender & Women’s Studies graduate certificate programs. Molly completed her undergraduate degree in sociology and environmental science in 1994 and masters degree in public health/environmental health in 1999 at Western Kentucky University. In 2007, Molly completed her Ph.D. program in Higher Education Administration at the University of Louisville. Her current research focuses on issues pertaining to higher education, sense of place, assessment, social policy, community-based research, and sustainability/resilience.
Duane D. Oakes has served as the Faculty Director for the Center for Community & Civic Engagement and Recreation Instructor at Mesa Community College (AZ) since 2000. At Chandler-Gilbert Community College (AZ) he helped create a comprehensive student life program which included the Service-learning program where he and his colleagues were recognized with the Innovation of the Year award from the District. He also served as a service-learning and civic responsibility trainer for the Community College National Center for Community Engagement and the American Association of Community Colleges for over 15 years. Duane service as the Chair of the Brigham Young University Alumni Association in Arizona and serves on the Mesa Public Schools Service-learning Advisory Board, volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America and supports his son’s high school supporting the music arts. Duane has worked in the higher education arena since 1990 helping students becoming better citizens through service and leadership.
Helen-Margaret Nasser is an Associate Director for Academic Affairs at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, N.Y. Nasser holds a bachelor’s degree from McGill University (Canada) in political science and international development studies and a master’s degree in political science from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York where she concentrated on Middle East identity and civil society politics. She has been the administrator for the NEH funded Bridging Cultures to Form a Nation grant at Kingsborough and has supported faculty in their course redesign, innovations and event planning around themes of democracy, diversity, and community. She is heavily involved in civic engagement efforts, organized the colleges annual Immigration Day events, and offers extensive support to students. Nasser also serves as the Advisor for the Honors Club and the Phi Theta Kappa Chapter on campus.
Patty Robinson has worked at College of the Canyons (Calif.) since 1999 and has served in various roles, including Sociology Professor, Dean of the Social Sciences and Business Division, and Interim Dean, Center for Civic Engagement. She currently spearheads the College’s new campus-wide emphasis on civic and community engagement as Faculty Director, Civic and Community Engagement Initiatives. Receiving her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Davis, she pursued her interests in women’s history and medical sociology and eventually focused on the rise of 19th and 20th Century women’s organizations. Before transitioning into administration, she engaged her sociology students in a multitude of projects examining aspects of social aging, including facilitating a community-based oral history project entitled, Telling Their Stories. As a dean, she organized and facilitated the statewide Annual California Regional Academic Deans’ Retreat, drawing participants from community colleges throughout the state. Returning to her “sociological roots,” Patty remains committed to fostering a civic-mindset throughout the campus and community through her work with Community-Based Learning and civic engagement.
At California State University, Los Angeles, Michael Willard is a Professor of Liberal Studies and Faculty Director of Service Learning in the Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good. As Faculty Director of Service Learning, he has worked with faculty to integrate civic/service learning assignments and projects into their GE courses. He holds a Ph.D. in American Studies and his scholarly research focuses on popular culture, race and ethnicity, and Los Angeles History. His work in faculty and curriculum development includes creating an on-line faculty development module with ACUE for civic learning assignment design; leading faculty teams to implement transparent teaching methods that ensure equity-based student learning; and collaborating with student government and Student life to develop political and community engagement projects.