Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Senior Vice President Monika Williams Shealey, Ph.D.

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 can be reached by email at shealey@rowan.edu.

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.

Assistant Vice President, Student Success and Inclusion Programs Dawn Singleton, Ed.D.

Dawn Singleton pictureDr. Dawn Singleton is the Assistant Vice President for Student Success and Inclusion Programs. She earned her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Rowan University. In her role, she provides oversight to student pipeline and support programs and the Achieving Success through Collaboration, Engagement & Determination (ASCEND) Office. In addition to overseeing the programs and student success services of the ASCEND Office, she serves as an adjunct faculty member in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Education. Dr. Singleton has over 15 years of student affairs experience gained at a variety of colleges and universities including small and large public, and private institutions. She has held a range of student affairs leadership positions, in which she has worked closely with students, administrators, and faculty to enhance student success. Throughout her career, Dr. Singleton has developed multiple student centered initiatives, advised and programmed for diverse student populations,  including international,  first generation,  underrepresented, and English language learner (ELL) students. As an administrator, she prides herself on implementing programs and services that produce successful life and educational outcomes for all students. In her current role, she leads an awesome team of counselors, directors, and staff passionate about providing access and tools for student growth and engagement. She also coordinates holistic academic and social support programs to assist first-generation, under-resourced, and underrepresented students persist to graduation, utilizing student development theories, high impact strategies, and frequent program assessment. Dr. Singleton’s  research has focused  on intersectional issues related to gender, ethnicity, and culture, comparatively, that confound women’s advancement in leadership roles within the US and South Africa. Her current research continues to focus on issues of social justice and improving the persistence and outcomes for underrepresented students. She has presented at numerous conferences  and led trainings on supporting first generation and underrepresented students through intentional programming, student success initiatives, and  campus partnerships. Dr. Singleton can be reached by email at singletond@rowan.edu.

SOM Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Yvonne Torruella Ortiz


Yvonne Torruella Ortiz is the Inaugural Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the School of Osteopathic Medicine.  Her career spans diverse institutions of various sizes, geography, public and private, as well as predominately white and historically African American.  Ms. Ortiz’s twenty-five years of administrative and teaching experience includes institutional coaching to improve success for undergraduate, graduate and professional students, leading professional learning for equity minded practice, senior student affairs administration, and creating a culture of evidence for reaffirmation of accreditation.  A former first-generation college student from the Bronx, New York, Ms. Ortiz’s passion is helping disenfranchised students reach their educational and professional goals.  Through coaching, she has helped universities collaboratively critique the institutional climate to create changes that improve student belonging and success.  Her mantra – we are the campus climate – has inspired greater introspection and collaboration among leadership, faculty, students, and trustees to make transformative and sustainable change. If people cannot bring their whole selves to the institutions in which they are supposed to belong, healthy development, engaged learning, and collaborative leadership become less possible.  A presenter at numerous national conferences, Yvonne has been recognized for her professional and civic work in student success, equity and justice, improving mental health in higher education, and intersectionality in LGBTQIA and African American communities.

Ms. Ortiz’s responsibilities include: leading the School of Osteopathic Medicine’s Diversity Committee; developing and implementing culturally sustaining and anti-racist programming for students, faculty and staff; working collaboratively with colleagues in implementing and evaluating systems and structures for reporting bias, harassment, and discrimination, and increasing the racial and ethnic diversity of a physician workforce, faculty and staff.  Yvonne Ortiz can be reached at ortizy@rowan.edu or 856-566-6414.


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 7 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.