Office of Diversity and Inclusion Archive

José Villalba appointed interim chief diversity officer

José Villalba

Wake Forest Provost Rogan Kersh announced Aug. 11 that he has appointed Professor José Villalba as interim chief diversity officer.

The appointment of Villalba follows Chief Diversity Officer Barbee Myers Oakes’ departure to take the same role at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

In a message emailed to students, faculty and staff, Kersh wrote that he was “pleased to announce” Villalba’s appointment.

“Dr. Villalba arrived at Wake Forest in 2011 as Associate Professor of Counseling; he has spent the past four years in the Office of the Dean of the College, most recently holding the title of Senior Associate Dean for Faculty, Evaluation, and Inclusivity,” Kersh wrote. “In this role, Dr. Villalba participated in student-facing initiatives, worked with faculty and staff development efforts related to diversity and inclusion, was instrumental in faculty recruitment for the undergraduate College, and proved a key partner for offices and departments across the university. Dr. Villalba will remain in the Dean of the College’s office in an advisory role.”

As interim chief diversity officer, Kersh wrote, “Dr. Villalba will continue to build on our strong foundation for enhancing inclusion and diversity at Wake Forest. His teaching and research expertise is highly relevant for this vital interim role, ranging across health disparities in Latina/o youth, multicultural counseling, and minority populations’ access to and completion of higher education.”

Kersh added that Villalba has expressed “great enthusiasm for joining the talented team in our Office of Diversity and Inclusion as they continue to engage with an increasingly diverse and inclusive Wake Forest community. He is also deeply committed to extend and strengthen partnerships with offices and individuals across the University in the service of seamless support systems for all members of our campus, especially those from historically marginalized groups.”

Villalba praised the achievements of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion team.

“The Leadership Team in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion has provided exemplary and necessary support, guidance, and understanding to the greater Wake Forest Community.  I look forward to serving with this talented and skilled group of colleagues as we strive to value and appreciate the contributions of our community of students and families, faculty, staff, administrators, and alums,” Villalba said.

He came to Wake Forest from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he was an associate professor.  His background also includes a faculty position at Indiana State University.

At the University of Florida, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, Master of Education and Education Specialist degrees in school guidance and counseling, and a doctorate in counselor education.

Reaffirming support for our transgender community

This message was emailed to students, faculty and staff on Feb. 23 by University administrators Rogan Kersh, Penny Rue and Barbee Oakes:

Dear Wake Forest students, faculty and staff:

We have reviewed new guidance from the Department of Education and the Department of Justice regarding transgender students. This Dear Colleague Letter rolled back significant guidance issued last May delineating institutional responsibility to treat trans students according to their gender identity.

On behalf of Wake Forest University, we are in full support of our transgender community. We invite you to read the thoughtful message, prepared by LGBTQ Center Director Angela Mazaris and Program Coordinator Kayla Lisenby, which affirms our values and support for all people. We are fortunate to have such caring leadership in our LGBTQ Center, which has been at the forefront of providing education, advocacy, and support to the campus community around issues of gender identity and sexual orientation since its inception in 2011.

In addition, our Transgender Policies Workgroup formed last fall aims to ensure that Wake Forest provides the best possible experience of inclusion for trans members of our community – students, faculty, staff, and visitors – and it will continue to do so. The recently released Dear Colleague Letter does nothing to change our steadfast commitment to helping create a safe and supportive educational and work environment for trans students and colleagues. Leaders across the University share our affirmation.

Now is the time to reach out and provide support to members of our transgender community as we seek to create an inclusive, welcoming and supportive campus. Our LGBTQ Center, Counseling Center, Student Health, Dean of Students Office, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Chaplain’s Office and many other campus resources are all ready and eager to help students navigate the shifting legal landscape and claim their place here at Wake.

Sincerely,

Rogan Kersh, Provost
Penny Rue, Vice President for Campus Life
Barbee Oakes, Chief Diversity Officer

Women's March co-chairs to be on campus Feb. 16 in Wait Chapel

The keynote event for Black History Month will be a panel discussion featuring the national co-chairs of the recent Women’s March in Washington, D.C.  Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez will participate in the moderated discussion in Wait Chapel on Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.

The discussion will be moderated by Melissa Harris-Perry, Maya Angelou Presidential Chair and executive director of the Pro Humanitate Institute.  She is also founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center.

The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets can be reserved here.

In addition, the event will be livestreamed.

Their appearance will be one of many events and activities presented by Wake Forest’s Intercultural Center and the Black History Month Committee.  A detailed schedule is available online.

Other events and activities planned for February include an opportunity to have a conversation with Dr. Greg Ellison, author of “Cut Dead But Still Alive: Caring for African American Young Men,” a book; an address by Payton Head, who was the student government president at the University of Missouri during the 2015 campus protests; a dedication ceremony at Maya Angelou Residence Hall; and much more.

The keynote event is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Black History Month Committee, the Pro Humanitate Institute, Intercultural Center, Student Union, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Personal and Career Development, Department of Communication, Black Student Alliance and Women’s Center.

Piscetelli, Williams received Winston Under 40 Leadership Awards

The Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce has named Michael Piscetelli, associate athletic director of development, and Matthew Williams, director of communication in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Winston Under 40 Leadership Award winners.

They were among 20 who were presented the award this month at a Winston-Salem event.

According to the Chamber, the winners are “actively influencing the growth, prosperity, and quality of life in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.”

Winston Under 40, started three years ago, is the Chamber group “that’s committed to attracting and retaining young professionals in our community.”

Wellbeing Office celebrates Dimensions by the Month and more

This is a guest post from the University’s Office of Wellbeing:

The month of September kicks off another series of Dimensions by the Month!  Throughout the academic year, the Office of Wellbeing will partner with campus and community groups to provide skills-focused workshops and engaging programs to create a wellbeing experience. Through Thrive, Wake Forest’s comprehensive approach to wellbeing, these workshops and community programs will engage students, faculty, and staff in a holistic definition of what it means to be well, as well as bring people together from across the Wake Forest community. The themes of each month are:

September “Social” Wellbeing

October “Emotional” Wellbeing

November “Intellectual” Wellbeing

December “Occupational” Wellbeing

January “Physical” Wellbeing

February “Spiritual” Wellbeing

March “Environmental” Wellbeing

April “Financial” Wellbeing

Look out for these events coming up this Fall!


Arrive and Thrive 

September 22 from 4-6 pm on the Lower Quad

“Arrive and Thrive” will feature dozens of fun and thought-provoking activities designed to inform and inspire the campus community about how to lead healthier, more balanced lives! Open to all Students, Faculty, and Staff! Check out the video from last year!

Read more

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