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Power of Diversity Lecture Series

Power of Diversity Lecture Series

‌The Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity sponsors the Power of Diversity lecture series to inspire campus dialogue, community engagement and civic education and learning about the national narrative on diversity and inclusion. The annual series includes two distinguished guest speakers from the national or international scene and four scholars from our own faculty.

The speakers include scholars, thought leaders and diversity professionals whose research, scholarship, leadership and advocacy enhance the university's efforts to present diverse ideas, perspectives and viewpoints to inspire greater understanding and appreciation for inclusive excellence.

All events are free and open to the public.
For more information email

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Power of Diversity Lecture Series (Fall 2017)

Beverly Guy-Sheftall

Beverly Guy-sheftall is founding director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center (since 1981) and Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies at Spelman College.  She is also an adjunct professor at Emory University’s Institute for Women’s Studies where she teaches graduate courses in their doctoral program. For many years, she served as a visiting professor at Emory University’s Institute for Women’s Studies.

Guy-Sheftall has published a number of texts within African American and Women’s Studies which include the first anthology on Black women’s literature, Sturdy Black Bridges: Visions of Black Women in Literature (Doubleday, 1979), which she coedited with Roseann P. Bell and Bettye Parker Smith; Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought (New Press, 1995), and an anthology she coedited with Rudolph P. Byrd entitled Traps: African American Men on Gender and Sexuality (Indiana University Press, 2001).  

Her most recent publication is coauthored with former Spelman President, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Gender Talk: The Struggle for Equality in African American Communities, (Random House, 2003).  Upcoming publications include an anthology of Audre Lorde’s writings (with Rudolph P. Byrd and Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Oxford University Press); a new edition of But Some of Us Are Brave (with Stanlie James and Frances Foster, Feminist Press); and a collection of writings on the race/gender debate during the 2008 U.S. presidential election (with Johnnetta Betsch Cole, SUNY Press).

 In 1983 she became founding editor of Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women which was devoted exclusively to the experiences of women of African descent and published from 1983-1996. She is the past president of the National Women’s Studies Association.  Earlier this year, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2017).

Guy-Sheftall is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, among them a National Kellogg Fellowship; a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship for dissertations in Women’s Studies; and Spelman’s Presidential Faculty Award for outstanding scholarship.

She has been involved in a number of advocacy organizations which include the National Black Women’s Health Project, the National Council for Research on Women, and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, on whose boards she has served. She teaches women’s studies courses, including feminist theory and global Black feminisms.

Beverly Guy-Sheftall,PhD. Director, Women’s Research and Resource Center, Spelman College, GA, Black Feminist Scholar and Author

Beverly Guy-Sheftall,PhD. Director, Women’s Research and Resource Center, Spelman College, GA, Black Feminist Scholar and Author

CWRU Faculty Lecturers

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
3 p.m., Senior Classroom
Tinkham Veale University Center

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”

Educated at Yale and at the University of Chicago, Jeremy Bendik-Keymer is the author of The Ecological Life:
Discovering Citizenship and a Sense of Humanity (2006) and co-editor (with Allen Thompson)
of Ethical Adaptation to Climate Change: Human Virtues of the Future (2012).

Molly Watkins

Molly WatkinsWednesday, November 1, 2017
3 p.m., Senior Classroom|Tinkham Veale University Center

Molly Watkins

CWRU Executive Director for International Affairs

“The Value of Global Diversity during Tumultuous Times”

Molly Watkins oversees the Office of Education Abroad (OEA) and the Office of International Student Services (ISS), and works closely with the vice provost on global strategy.

Molly has a BA in communication and an MA in English. She taught English as a foreign language through the Peace Corps at a university in rural China for two years before moving back to the United States to serve as the director of international education at Mississippi State University. There, she established relationships with institutions abroad, brought in more than 1,000 non-degree students to rural Mississippi and developed a study abroad program for Mississippi State University. She also developed the curriculum for and taught the courses for the International Studies Minor. She moved to Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University in 2011.


Monica Webb Hooper, PhD

Monica Webb HooperThursday, November 9, 2017
3 p.m., Toepfer Room
Adelbert Hall

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"

Dr. Webb Hooper is a clinical health psychologist whose research interests are in the health behavior change of cancer risk behaviors, with an emphasis on the intersection between cancer prevention and control, and minority health and disparity elimination. Dr. Webb Hooper’s research includes aspects of clinical health psychology, biobehavioral oncology, public health, and social psychology.

Her research has been funded continuously since 2006 by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), American Cancer Society (ACS), and the Florida Department of Health James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program (JEK). Her current research examines genetic and personality factors as predictors of success in a group cessation intervention, best practices for behavioral tobacco interventions among African American and Hispanic smokers, understanding relationships between race/ethnicity, cultural variables, the biological stress response and cessation. She is also interested in alternative tobacco product use among smokers, such as electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).

Dr. Webb Hooper has received national recognition for her contributions to nicotine and tobacco research, and is a leader in the field of tobacco-associated health disparities. Her overarching research goal is to make a significant public health impact by reducing the prevalence of cancer overall, and cancer health disparities in high-risk populations. The long-term result would be the elimination of disparities in tobacco- attributable illnesses.

Power of Diversity Lecture Series (Spring 2018)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Steve Pemberton

Vice president, diversity and inclusion for Walgreens Boots Alliance

​"​From Corrective Action to Competitive Advantage: How Diversity is Reshaping Our World"


Steve Pemberton is vice president, diversity and inclusion for Walgreens Boots Alliance, the first global pharmacy-led, health and well-being enterprise in the world, employing 370,000 people in 25 countries.

Steve is responsible for overseeing the company’s global efforts to create and maintain a diverse and inclusive environment focused on the following areas: strategic diversity management, global diversity councils and business resource groups, disability initiatives, supplier diversity, and compliance objectives.

Under Steve’s leadership, Walgreens reached record levels of performance on nearly every measure of diversity and inclusion from representation to supplier diversity spend. An extended part of his responsibilities has been to serve as a public ambassador for the company on matters of employing people with disabilities. In that capacity, he has frequently represented Walgreens’ employment model at the White House and on Capitol Hill. In 2015, he was appointed by United States Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez to serve on an Advisory Committee for the Competitive Integrated Employment of People with Disabilities.

One of America’s most inspiring executives, he brings a deep personal understanding of human differences and the human experience to his position. Steve was a ward of the state for much of his childhood, an experience he chronicled in his 2012 best-selling memoir, A Chance in the World (Thomas Nelson).

Steve’s extraordinary life journey, featured in People Magazine, has been translated into multiple languages and continues to inspire audiences across the world; his tireless advocacy for the disenfranchised has earned him national recognition including from the Trumpet Foundation.

His dedication to public service and personal and professional achievement have also earned him honorary doctorates from Winston-Salem State University (2014) and Boston College (2015). In 2015, Steve was awarded the prestigious Horizon Award by the United States Congress, presented to individuals from the private sectors who have contributed to expanding opportunities for all Americans through their own personal contributions, and who have set exceptional examples for young people through their successes in life.

Prior to assuming his role at Walgreens, Steve was chief diversity officer and vice president of diversity and inclusion at, where he coined the term ‘Next Practices’, to reflect the need for a stronger alignment between diversity and inclusion and driving shareholder value.

A graduate of Boston College, he is a Bostonian by birth and a Chicagoan by choice. Steve resides on several non-profit boards including UCAN, The Home for Little Wanderers, Bernie’s Book Bank and The United States Business Leadership Network. He and his wife Tonya are the proud parents of three children.

Steve Pemberton

Steve Pemberton, Vice President Diversity & Inclusion Global Chief Diversity Officer Walgreens Boots Alliance

Cheryl Toman, PhD

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
3 p.m., Senior Classroom
Tinkham Veale University Center

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.”

Professor Toman’s area of research is African women’s writing with a special emphasis on authors from Gabon, Cameroon, and Mali. She also has a secondary interest in women in the Arab world, specifically of the Middle East.

Her most recent book, Women Writers of Gabon: Literature and Herstory (Lexington Books, 2016) is the first book-length study in English of Gabonese literature. The study discusses the perceived “invisibility” of women writers and focuses on the major contributions of Gabon’s first generation of female authors.

Professor Toman’s first book, Contemporary Matriarchies in Cameroonian Francophone Literature (Summa, 2008) is the first comprehensive text on the history of women’s writing in Francophone Cameroon and concentrates specifically on women’s empowerment using African constructs to interpret tradition.

Toman has also directed four collections of essays uncluding Defying the Global Language: Perspectives in Ethnic Studies (Teneo, 2013).

An accomplished translator, Toman has translated several books, short stories, and poetry including the first novel written by an African woman, Thérèse Kuoh-Moukoury’s Rencontres essentielles (Essential Encounters) that appeared in the MLA Texts and Translations Series in 2002.  In Spring 2018, Toman’s translation of Justine Mintsa’s Histoire d’Awu (Awu’s Story) will be published by the University of Nebraska Press.

Her current book projects include a comparative analysis between Malian women’s writing and Wassoulou music and a second study on women writers of Gabon with this latest research focusing on Gabon’s second generation of women writers specifically.

Grace Clifford, MAEd

Grace Clifford, MAEdThursday, March 8, 2018
3 p.m., Senior Classroom
Tinkham Veale University Center

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”

As Associate Director Grace Clifford determines and implements accommodations and advocates for students with disabilities. She endeavors to ensure that all students are able to fully participate in their chosen programs and activities at CWRU.

She is the staff advisor to the student group, AccessAbility which endeavors to support students with disabilities through mentorship and reducing stigmatization. Grace Clifford received her MAEd in Leadership in Higher Education from Baldwin-Wallace University.

Mark Joseph, PhD

Mark Joseph, PhDWednesday, March 28, 2018

Mark Joseph, PhD

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"

Mark Joseph is the Founding Director of the National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities and a Faculty Associate at the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development. Prior to joining the Mandel School faculty, he had a post-doctoral scholarship at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He received his Ph.D. from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Joseph was formerly a Principal with Community Development Associates, a consulting firm based in New York and Chicago, which provided strategic planning and research support to community-based initiatives around the country. He also worked for several years at the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago on research on comprehensive community-based initiatives.

His general research interests are urban poverty and community development. His current research focuses on mixed-income development as a strategy for addressing urban poverty, with particular attention to transforming public housing developments. His co-authored book Integrating the Inner City: The Promise and Perils of Mixed-Income Public Housing Transformation was published in November 2015.

He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Cityscape journal published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He is also on the editorial boards of Housing Policy Debate and Housing Studies.