Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Inaugural Senior Vice President Monika Williams Shealey, Ph.D., 2019 - 2023

Dr. Monika Williams Shealey joined Rowan in 2013 as the Dean of the College of Education. Dr. Shealey received her BS in Specific Learning Disabilities and MA in Varying Exceptionalities from the University of South Florida, Ed.S. in Reading and Learning Disabilities from the University of Miami, and Ph.D. in Education from the University of Central Florida. Dr. Shealey has held academic appointments at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Florida International University, and University of Missouri at Kansas City. 

During her tenure as Dean, Dr. Shealey has led the College in deepening its commitment to social justice and equity. The College developed a Ph.D. program in education with an emphasis on addressing issues of access, success, and equity in P-20 education and launched the Center for Access, Success, and Equity, a technical assistance center for the Rowan University and broader professional community in the areas of research, professional development, and community engagement. The College also developed Project Increasing Male Practitioners and Classroom Teachers (IMPACT), a unique recruitment and retention program for diverse males in education and launched the Educators for Diversity and Social Equity Student Club. The College became a leading voice in the region in diversifying the teacher pipeline through the development of high school teacher academies, the expansion of the Rowan Urban Teacher Academy and the Professional Development Schools Network.

Dr. Shealey’s research has focused on examining the experiences of traditionally marginalized groups in special education and Black women in teacher education. Dr. Shealey is the past Co-Editor of Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners, a professional journal for the Division of Diverse Exceptional Learners in the Council for Exceptional Children, the leading professional organization in the field of special education. Dr. Shealey is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the Center for Family Services and Board of Trustees Member for the Friends School at Mullica Hill. Dr. Shealey is the President of the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni. 

As the Inaugural Senior Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and leader of the Division of DEI, Dr. Shealey works closely with the Division’s leadership team to facilitate the DEI Council comprised of representation from across Rowan’s multiple campuses, launch the DEI Certificate Program for faculty and staff, expand affinity groups for neurodivergent faculty and staff, faculty and staff from underrepresented groups and veterans, offer implicit bias sessions for hiring and search committees, and support the development of DEI unit/department strategic action plans. 

Dr. Shealey begins her new position at Temple University in July 2023. We thank Dr. Shealey for her contributions to the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Rowan University. We appreciate her leadership and the direction she has provided to faculty, staff, and students University-wide. Her commitment to DEI at Rowan will continue due to the work that she completed and her ability to engage and motivate everyone who worked with her.

Vice President Penny McPherson Myers, Ed.D. 

McPherson imageDr. Penny McPherson-Myers, the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, is responsible for co-facilitating the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, which includes providing oversight of the DEI strategic action plan, serving as the liaison to Student Affairs and providing leadership of student pipeline and support programs. Dr. Myers also works closely with the Associate Vice President/Title IX Coordinator and Directors of the Faculty Center, ASCEND, CHAMP program, and SJICR to implement the vision and mission of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In her previous role at University, Dr. McPherson- Myers led multiple initiatives to coordinate support services and resources for high school and college first generation, under-resourced and under-represented students through pipeline programs, students with disabilities and veterans, and co-led the development of the Rowan University First Generation Task Force and the SHOP Food Pantry and Resource Center. Dr. McPherson-Myers’ research has focused on learning communities, college affordability, and food insecurity. She is a three-time alumna of Rowan University where she entered as a Minority Achievement Program (MAP) student, completed a B.S. in Law and Justice and Sociology, an M.A. in Student Personnel Services, and an EdD in Educational Leadership. She joined Rowan University in 2007 as the Director of the Educational Opportunity Fund/Maximizing Academic Potential Program. Dr. McPherson-Myers can be reached by email at mcphersonp@rowan.edu.

Manager, Office of Social Justice, Inclusion and Conflict Resolution, Dominique Pierson

Headshot of Dominique Pierson

Currently, the Manager for the Office of Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution (SJICR), Dominique embodies her personal mantra “lead with love.” Over the last five years, she has been serving the Rowan University community, amplifying student voices and curating brave and humanizing spaces in which community members can connect across their differences. Specifically, after graduating with her Bachelor’s degree from Montclair State University, Dominique's dedication to Student Affairs continued when she joined Rowan University's Residential Learning & University Housing (RLUH) department as a Resident Director and simultaneously completed her Master's degree in Higher Education. Prior to degree completion, Dominique served as an intern for the Office of General Counsel and Office of Student Equity and Compliance, focusing on policy development and reform. In 2021 she accepted the Area Coordinator position in RLUH and, later that year, assumed the Assistant Director (AD) for Leadership Programs position in SJICR. Dominique's work as a social/racial justice advocate stretches beyond institutional lines as she partners with organizations to build community alliances and champion local activist efforts. She also serves as a board member for both the Mercer County Community College’s Legal Advisory Board and the Rowan University’s Student Conduct Hearing Board. As a scholar-practitioner and proud first-generation college student, Dominique advances educational equity and belonging and will remain committed to centering love, criticality, and intersectionality in her approach to servant leadership.

Fellow on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to the Faculty Center, Rachael Shapiro, PhD

Dr. Rachael Shapiro has focused her research, teaching, and service on social justice, linguistic diversity, and antiracist and decolonial pedagogy for fifteen years. She holds a PhD in Composition and Cultural Rhetoric from Syracuse University (2015), and an MA in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition from Washington State University (2008). At Rowan, she applies antiracist and decolonial teaching strategies in undergraduate and graduate courses in the Writing Arts department, as well as in her work with preservice K-5 teachers in the Literacy Studies program. She has led and served on DEI committees across the university, including the Senate Diversity Committee, the Division of DEI Committee on Promoting and Supporting Inclusive Teaching, Scholarship, and Professional Development, the Edelman College of  Communication and Creative Arts DEI Committee, and the Writing Arts Diversity Council. 

In her scholarship, Dr. Shapiro advocates for linguistic agency and justice for BIPOC, multilingual, and non-standard language users. Other areas of scholarly expertise include literacy studies, transnational feminism, digital writing, basic writing, critical pedagogy, and composition pedagogy. Dr. Shapiro is the recipient of the 2020 Richard C. Ohmann Award for Outstanding Article in College English, the plenary journal of English studies. You can read her work there, as well as in journals like Composition Forum and Literacy in Composition Studies. She has a co-authored chapter titled “Averting Colorblind Translingualism” in the forthcoming collection Racing Translingualism in Composition: Toward a Race-Conscious Translingualism

In her role as Provost Fellow on DEI to the Faculty Center, some of Dr. Shapiro’s responsibilities will include providing joint leadership and direction for the Faculty Center staff in the area of DEI, assisting academic departments and faculty with course design and curriculum development to promote anti-racism, culturally responsive and relevant pedagogy and creating a faculty cohort prepared to join a faculty recruitment initiative.

Co-Director of the Center for Neurodiversity, John Woodruff 

John Woodruff

 John Woodruff is Director of the Accessibility Services at Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey. He coordinates campus services for students with disabilities and manages transitions for students entering college. John holds an MS in Health Education from St. Joseph’s University and a BS in Business Administration from St. Francis University (Loretto, Pennsylvania). John is the co-author of a book with Dr. S. Kay Kuder and Dr. Amy Accardo entitled, College Success For Students On The Autism Spectrum: A Neurodiversity Perspective and co-author of a book with Dr. Michelle Kowalsky entitled, Creating Inclusive Library Environments. His most recent activities include program development, activities, and events to promote access and understanding on campus; and leadership of faculty-led and community-led strategic partnerships for inclusion, training and mentoring. John’s professional career reflects over thirty-eight years of education, training, administration and management of employment and training programs for persons with disabilities.  



Co-Director of the Center for Neurodiversity, Chiara Latimer 

Chiara Latimer

Chiara Latimer is the Coordinator of the Autism PATH Program at Rowan University. This program is designed to support the transition of neurodiverse students from higher education into meaningful employment. Chiara has dedicated 10 years of her career to supporting neurodiverse students in clinical and educational settings. With the growth of neurodivergent students entering higher education, Chiara began teaching courses on career development and self-advocacy skills as an adjunct faculty member at Camden County College. In addition, she supported students and faculty in the implementation of academic accommodations at the Community College of Philadelphia. Chiara served as the inaugural co-chair of the Neurodiversity Affinity Group for the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers. She currently serves as a member of Disability In: NJ. In 2022, Chiara was recognized by ROI-NJ as a Diversity & Inclusion Influencer and was recently highlighted in the article,"Hiring neurodiverse: 5 Questions with Rowan's Chiara Latimer." With a focus on career readiness and employer education, Chiara continues to promote the importance of empathy and inclusion in the workplace through professional conferences and training for employers.


Managing Administrative Assistant for DEI, Allison Gunn, MA

Allison Gunn joined Rowan University in 2019 as the Managing Administrative Assistant for Dr. Monika Williams Shealey in the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She earned her BA in History and Secondary Education at Gettybsurg College, her MA in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from Stockton University, and her MA in Counselor Education with a focus on Clinical Mental Health Counseling from The College of New Jersey. Allison has more than 10 years of experience in higher education, having worked in numerous positions in the Wellness Center at Stockton University, including Part-time Counselor in Counseling Services and serving as an advocate for students going through the Title IX reporting process. Allison’s past presentations include “The Rise of Fascism in Nazi Germany” and “Propaganda, Hate Speech, and Fake News in History and Today.” She is dedicated to issues of social justice and diversifying representation and culture at Rowan University and beyond. Allison can be reached at gunn@rowan.edu.