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Shared Equity Leadership Team

The REJI convened by Bridgewater State University is led at the campus and organizational level by presidentially selected institutional equity leaders.

REJI Facilitators are experienced higher education equity leaders who act as an advisory group providing support and counsel both to the consortium’s membership as well as to the REJI Convener Dr. Sabrina Gentlewarrior, Vice President of Student Success, Equity and Diversity at Bridgewater State University.

REJI Headshot Dr. Sabrina Gentlewarrior

Dr. Sabrina Gentlewarrior

Vice President of Student Success, Equity and Diversity - Bridgewater State University & Convener of the REJI

Dr. Sabrina Gentlewarrior is the Vice President of Student Success, Equity and Diversity at Bridgewater State University (BSU) and Convener of the Racial Equity and Justice Institute (REJI). Sabrina has 37 years’ experience as an equity worker – first in the community as a social work practitioner and for the last 19 years at BSU. Sabrina’s social work practice, scholarship, teaching, grant-funded work, and administrative leadership have emphasized equity praxis. As a tenured Associate Professor of Social Work at Bridgewater State University, Sabrina’s teaching focused on offering students competency development in the areas of diversity, inclusion and equity practices, research, and trauma-informed clinical practice. As an activist researcher, Dr. Gentlewarrior has served as the Primary Investigator and Co-Primary Investigator on equity projects generously funded by the Nellie Mae Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, and the National Science Foundation. As a higher education administrator, Dr. Gentlewarrior’s efforts emphasize collaborative efforts to identify equity performance gaps in higher education and to work in partnership with colleagues to create, implement and assess strategies intended to create measurable racially equitable change in higher education.
uma bio

Dr. Uma Shama

Professor - Bridgewater State University & Faculty Director for the REJI

Dr. Uma Shama is a professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, and Co-Director of GeoGraphics Lab at Bridgewater State University (BSU). She has more than forty years of experience bringing equity work into the teaching and learning, first at the University of Connecticut, and then at BSU. She served as a Faculty Fellow for Equity in Retention for the last two years at BSU. In her role as a faculty fellow for Equity, she has offered faculty workshops on equity-minded teaching and use of equity data tool in understanding the importance of having University, College, Department, and Individual level data available as a means of understanding where equity gaps appear and persist across their courses.
She is a faculty fellow in the National Science Foundation five-year grant to support equity-minded practices for recruiting and retaining early college faculty in the stem professoriate. Since 2008, she has been serving as the University Marshal at BSU. She holds a PhD and MS degrees in Mathematics from the University of Connecticut and an MS and BSc degree from Bangalore University.
REJI Headshots Dr. Leo Hwang

Dr. Leo L. Hwang

Assistant Academic Dean, College of Natural Sciences - University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Leo L. Hwang is the Assistant Academic Dean in the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. Hwang is particularly interested in using participatory action research and asset based community development as a methodology for enhancing how we engage in racial justice work in higher education. He earned his Ph.D. in Geosciences and an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and his B.A. in English and Fine Arts from the University of the South. He taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Mount Holyoke College; Westfield State University; and taught and served as Dean of Humanities, Engineering, Math, and Science at Greenfield Community College. Dr. Hwang also serves on the Massachusetts Asian American and Pacific Islander Commission.
REJI Headshot Latrina Denison

Latrina L. Denson

Associate Dean of Students, Executive Director for the Office of Community and Belonging - Mt. Holyoke College

Latrina L. Denson, Associate Dean of Students, Executive Director for the Office of Community and Belonging at Mount Holyoke College, leads all diversity, equity, access and inclusion programmatic initiatives for students, under the Division of Student Life. Denson has served as an administrator in higher education for almost three decades. She earned a B.S. in psychology with a minor in vocal performance and a M.Ed. in community counseling from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Denson is also the founder and lead facilitator of Reimaging You Consulting Firm LLC. Her passions include social justice advocacy, mentoring young women and gender minorities of color, singing, traveling and spending time with her daughter Maya Starr.
REJI Headshot Luis Paredes

Dr. Luis F. Paredes

Associate Vice President for Institutional Equity and Belonging - Wheaton College

Luis F. Paredes, Associate Vice President for Institutional Equity and Belonging at Wheaton College (MA), leads the college to fulfill its mission to provide a transformative liberal arts education and works with campus partners to strengthen Wheaton’s capacity to envision and achieve a radically imaginative understanding of engagement, affirmation, equity and belonging in the community. Paredes has over 15 years of experience as an administrator promoting equity and social justice and as an educator and scholar. He earned a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from the University at Albany, State University of New York. Paredes also leads the Paredes Consulting Group, LLC. He spends his time between Providence and Lima and with his dogs, Pisko and Panka.
REJI Headshot Dr. Michelle Cromwell

Dr. Michelle Cromwell

JEDI scholar-practitioner, master conflict coach, and dialogue facilitator

Dr. Michelle Cromwell (they/them) brings almost two decades of experience as a JEDI scholar-practitioner, master conflict coach, and dialogue facilitator. They served as a faculty member for 14 years, seven of which were as a tenured associate professor. Michelle’s remaining tenure in higher education was as a vice of president of diversity, equity, and inclusion. They currently serve as an independent consultant with emphasis on systemic organizational transformation, crisis management, conflict transformation, and equity-centered inclusion. They work with Universities/Colleges, Hospitals, various sized nonprofits, executives, B2Cs, B2Bs, and emerging leaders, to identify, address, and resolve their Organizational PAIN (persistent aggravations and identified negatives) points.
Yolany Gonell

Yolany Gonell

Assistant Vice President, Student Success, Equity and Diversity - Bridgewater State University

Yolany Gonell (she/her) serves as the Assistant Vice President for Student Success, Diversity and Inclusion at Bridgewater State University. Yolany is a first-generation college graduate, a US veteran and has over 18 years of progressive experience in higher education providing guidance and strategic direction to advance inclusion, racial equity, and student retention. Her work spans across student development, transition programs, career readiness, and residential life working collaboratively with partners across the university to exam policies and practices, expand resources, and develop data-driven strategic plans that support gender and racial equity; while also developing campus-wide programs that celebrate all aspects of diversity and promote the principles of social justice. In addition to her work in higher ed, Yolany serves on the advisory board for the Campaign For Southern Equality an organization that works to support and strengthen LGBTQ communities in the South through direct service and action.
Arlene Rodriguez

Dr. Arlene Rodriguez

Provost/Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs - Middlesex Community College

Currently the Provost/Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs at Middlesex Community College in Massachusetts, Dr. Arlene Rodríguez has devoted her 30 years in public higher education to creating successful equity-centered student initiatives designed to close opportunity gaps among all her students, establish a sense of belonging among them, and provide them with the credentials to economic mobility.

As a tenured faculty member in English, Dr. Rodríguez designed inclusive curriculum, including writing and literature courses that centered Latinx/Hispanic writers. As a principal investigator and co-investigator, Dr. Rodríguez has co-authored several major federal grants which were awarded; in addition, she has been engaged with grants from the National Endowment for Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. During the course of her career, Dr. Rodriguez has overseen the designing, drafting, and awarding of over $15 million in grants.

Dr. Rodríguez has earned a reputation as a trusted community leader, skilled at networking and building supportive environments. For her work, she has been honored with several awards, including the National Council on Community and Justice’s Human Services Award.

Bio Pic Jen

Jennifer Dunseath

Assistant Vice President for Institutional Research - Roger Williams University

Jennifer Dunseath has more than 30 years of experience in Institutional Research (IR) and is currently Assistant Vice President for IR at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island where she also serves as Co-Chair of the RWU REJI Campus Team and New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) Accreditation Liaison. She has held positions in IR at the Rhode Island School of Design, University of Michigan-Flint campus, Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, and Framingham State University in Framingham, Massachusetts. In addition, Jennifer has served as a Baldrige Examiner and an Evaluation Team Member for NECHE. She is a former Chair of the Michigan Association for Institutional Research, served as Secretary of the North East Association for Institutional Research (NEAIR) Board from 2014-2017, and as President Elect, President, and Immediate Past President of NEAIR from 2019-2021.

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