Previous Campus Speakers


Margaret D. Larkins-Pettigrew, MD

Margaret D. Larkins-Pettigrew, MD

Assistant Dean, Office of Student Affairs and Associate Professor, CWRU School of Medicine

“Colors of My Heart: Embracing My Blackness through History, Legacy, Family, Fear and Faith” - an examination of how structural racism can lead to trauma and maternal loss for African American women

As an academic clinician in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Larkins-Pettigrew has dedicated over twenty-five years of her professional and personal life to diversity issues and global health challenges of women.  

One of the few female African-American providers locally, she cares for all women but has a special focus on under-resourced communities and care for women living with HIV. She has found that the lack of cultural humility affecting women in the United States and abroad have resulted in preventable deaths. The need for sustainable programs focused on educating primary care and specialty providers has proven to be essential in order to decrease the burden of disease and thwart unnecessary deaths from preventable causes.

She is the founder and CEO of WONDOOR (Women and Neonates, Diversity, Outreach, Opportunity and Research) programs, where she establishes post-graduate education opportunities locally and abroad. The program in Obstetrics and Gynecology trains specialists clinically and also changes the humanistic culture for those caring for women. Implementing protocols that provide optimal tracking of behavior change and patient outcomes is the key to the success of various initiatives.


Susan Freimark, MA, LPC

Susan Freimark, MA., LPC

Senior Associate Director, Women Faculty Leadership Development Institute, Flora Stone Mather Center for Women

“Challenges for Women Moving Up the Academic Career Ladder”

Susan Freimark brings a great deal of faculty development experience to this position. As an executive coach, she has worked with faculty at CWRU via the NSF-ACES program since 2003 She is also a CWRU IDEAL coach with Kent State University, assisting a team of faculty on creating a transformative change project on campus. Susan addresses a wide range of issues with faculty both on an individual basis and in workshops.  Those issues include negotiation, conflict management, finding comfort with self-promotion, recognizing and dealing with campus politics, and professional and leadership development.  She has created programming that brings together women faculty from all schools on campus to address common interests and challenges and to serve as promotion and support for one another.

Scott M. Williams, PhD

Scott M. Williams, PhD

Professor and director of Epidemiology & Biostatistics Graduate Studies Program, CWRU School of Medicine

“Can Evolution Shape Our Disease Risks?”

Williams is an expert in the genetics of complex human disease, including the genetic risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and susceptibility to infection. An experienced population geneticist, he studies how genes, either singly or in interactions with the environment, affect disease risk in different populations.

Damaris Punales-Alpizar, PhD

Damaris Punales-Alpizar, PhD

CWRU Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies

“Culture Under Socialist Conditions: Literary Translation as a Geopolitical Instrument”

Damaris Punales-Alpizar has worked as a journalist in Cuba, Belize and Mexico. In Belize, she was the founder editor of Conexión, the first bilingual and trans–border newspaper.  Since 2010, she works at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland, Ohio, where she teaches courses on literature, film, and Caribbean and Latin American culture, and literary theory. She currently serves as director of the CRWU study abroad program in Cuba. She has published numerous articles on Spanish, Latin American and Cuban literature and culture, especially about the Soviet influence in the cultural production on the island after the nineties.

Edwin Mayes

Edwin B. Mayes

Director, CWRU First Year Experience and Family Programs

Psychological Capital and the Transitional Needs of Underrepresented First-Year Students

John Paul Stephens, PhD

John Paul Stephens, PhD

CWRU Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, Weatherhead School of Management

Muddying Up the Works: Transferring Lessons Learned About Functional Diversity at Work to Manage Diversity in Life

Adrianne Fletcher

Adrianne M. Crawford Fletcher, PhD

CWRU Assistant Dean, Diversity and Inclusion and
Assistant Professor, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel

School of Applied Social Sciences

Postsecondary Education in the Current Social and Political Climate: What it Means to be Socially Just, Anti-Oppressive and Woke Irrespective of Your Scholastic Hub


Shannon E. French

Shannon E. French, PhD

Director, CWRU Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence
Inamori Professor in Ethics, Department of Philosophy

Ethics Across Cultures: Diverse Voices, Shared Values

Cynthia M. Beall, PhD

Cynthia M. Beall, PhD

CWRU Distinguished University Professor and S. Idell Pyle Professor of Anthropology

Human Biological Variation: Where It Comes From and Why

Jonathan Sadowsky, PhD

Jonathan Sadowsky, PhD

Theodore J. Castele Professor, Professor, Department of History

'Why Does This Class Spend So Much Time on Race?' My Answe

Mark Joseph, PhD

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CWRU Leona Bevis and Marguerite Haynam Associate Professor of Community Development, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Founding Director, National Institution on Mixed-Income Communities

“The Everyday Vigilance Required to Make Real Progress Toward Racial Equity & Inclusion"

Grace Clifford

Grace Clifford, MAEd

Associate Director, CWRU Education Student Services Disability Resources

“Building a Culture of Inclusion: Creating Campus Advocates for Students with Disabilities in the Health Sciences”

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Cheryl Toman, PhD

Chair, CWRU Department of Modern Languages and Literature & Professor of French
Director of Women’s and Gender Studies Program

“The Fight for Inclusion in the African Canon: Women Writers of Cameroon & Gabon.”


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Monica Webb Hooper, PhD

CWRU Professor, Oncology, Psychological Sciences, Family Medicine & Community Health

"We are Not Low Hanging Fruit: Meaningful Science to Address Racial Disparities in Tobacco Cessation"

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Jeremy Bendik-Keymer, PhD

CWRU Beamer-Schneider Professor of Ethics, Department of Philosophy

“Poverty & Depression, the Power of Imagination, and One Still Secret of Justice”

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Molly Watkins

CWRU Executive Director for International Affairs

“The Value of Global Diversity during Tumultuous Times”

Islam Bouli

Ramez Islambouli

Head of Arabic Language, CWRU Dept. of Modern Languages
Lecturer of Islam, CWRU Dept. of Religious Studies 
Adjunct Professor, CWRU School

“Changing the Narrative about Islam and Muslims”

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Liz Roccoforte

Director, CWRU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center

“Centering the Intersections: LGBTQ Community Building Over the Next Four Years

Henge Hold

Laura Hengehold, PhD

Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy

“Relevant to Whom? Anonymous for Whom? How Philosophy Reveals and Conceals Human Uniqueness”


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Cassi L. Pittman, PhD

CWRU Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Race, Class and Place: Rethinking Middle-Class Blacks Residential Preferences and Consequences of Minority Suburbanization.

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Michiko Watanabe, PhD

CWRU Professor of Pediatrics, Genetics, Anatomy

Exploring the Tiny Beating Heart: Rewards of Diversity & Teamwork in Research on Heart Development‌

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G. Dean Patterson. Jr.

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs

The Journey First Begins From Within

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Lisa Nielson, PhD 

Anisfield-Wolf SAGES Fellow
Lecturer, Department of Music, College of Arts and Sciences

Concubines, Courtesans, Poets and Slaves: Music and Politics in the Medieval Islamic Courts

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Melvin L. Smith, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Organizational Behavior & Faculty Director of Executive Education at the Weatherhead School of Management

Managing Diverse Relationships via Emotional Intelligence


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Camille Warner, PhD

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing

Support and Social Equality: In the Classroom and Community

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Carlos E. Crespo-Hernández, PhD 

Associate Professor of Chemistry;
Co-Director, Center for Chemical Dynamics

Diversity in the Physical Sciences: A Personal Journey

Tolbert Blanton headshot

Blanton S. Tolbert, PhD 

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry

Molecules of HIV: The Importance of Diverse Perspectives

Jessie Hill head shot

Jessie Hill, JD

Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Research; Professor of Law and Laura Chisolm Distinguished Research Scholar, School of Law

Reproductive Rights or Reproductive Justice?


Ruqaiijah Yearby head shot

Ruqaiijah Yearby, JD, MPH

Professor of Law and Associate Director of CWRU's Law-Medicine Center

Separate and Unequal Health Care in a 'Post- Racial' World: The Paradox of Fixing Racial Disparities in Health Without Addressing Racial Bias

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Ronald Hickman, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC

Assistant Professor at CWRU's Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing; Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center

Leveraging the Power of the Community to Improve Health

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Anna Maria Santiago, PhD

CWRU Leona Bevis & Marguerite Haynam Professor of Community Development, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

Fifty Years Later: From a War on Poverty To a War on the Poor

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Andrew M. Rollins, PhD

CWRU Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medicine; 
Faculty Advisor of Engineers Without Borders and MIND

Developing Our Students and the World, Through Service


Kristin Williams headshot

Kristin Williams DDS, MPH

CWRU Dental Public Health, Assistant Professor, Department of Community Dentistry

Meeting a Community Need: Increasing Diversity Within the Dental Health Profession

Dorothy Miller head shot

Dorothy Miller, PhD

Founding Director of the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women;
Clinical Associate Professor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at CWRU

Struggling to Get It Right: Gender, Race and Class Through a Lesbian, Feminist Len

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Deepak Sarma, PhD

Professor of South Asian religions and philosophy, CWRU

DARE: Articulating Race and Ethnicity

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John H. Flores, PhD

CWRU Assistant Professor of History and Climo Junior Professor, College of Arts and Sciences

The Brown Power Movement of the 1920s: Reinterpreting Mexican Chicago


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Emmitt R. Jolly, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Center for Global Health and Disease

The Biochemistry of Life: A Model of Diversity

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Joy R. Bostic, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies

Justice-Making and the Beloved Community: The Power of Diversity in University Circle


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Raymond Ku, JD

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, co-director of the Center for Law, Technology and the Arts, and co-director of the Cyberspace Law and Policy Office.

Hate, Affinity and Merit: Why Diversity Matters

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Sana Loue, PhD

Professor and Director in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics; 
Director of the Center for Minority Public Health of the School of Medicine.

Bread for the Body, Bread for the Mind: The Need for Active Culture

LaShanda Korley headshot

LaShanda T. Korley, PhD

Nord Distinguished Assistant Professor, Macromolecular Science and Engineering; 
Principal Investigator of the Korley Research Group

Promoting Diversity in Academia: The Importance of Mentoring


Sue Hinze headshot

Sue Hinze, PhD

Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Women's and Gender Studies at CWRU

The Power of Diversity or the Diversity of Power? Reflections on Difference, Power and Privilege