Task Force

In July 2020, President Nicholas Ladany formed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force, charged with identifying areas for growth and determining action steps. The task force is made up of students, faculty and staff. The DEI Task Force meets on the first Monday of each month. The task force is made up of three subcommittees – Campus Climate/Sense of Belonging, Diversity Strategic Planning, and Community Partnerships.

Laura Reneé Chandler, PhD serves as the inaugural Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Oglethorpe University. The Vice President is tasked with recruitment and retention, campus climate, and community relations and serves on the President’s Senior Administrative Leadership Team.

DEI Task Force

Faculty members:

  • Kristen Clayton, Assistant Professor of Sociology
  • Rhana Gittens, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies
  • Mariel Meier, Associate Professor of Physics
  • Megan Murphy, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Derek Otis, Instructional Technology Librarian
  • Kathleen Peters, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
  • Timothy Piper, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies
  • Janelle Pham, Assistant Professor of Sociology
  • Matthew Wild, Lecturer, Core Studies and Spanish
  • Katharine Zakos, Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Chair, Division I

Staff members:

  • Leron Burge, Assistant Director of Student Involvement
  • Alejandra Gil, Administrative Assistant of Campus Operations
  • Ethan Hawkland, Assistant Director of Admission
  • Autumn Johnson, Senior Admission Counselor
  • Elizabeth Peterson, Director, Oglethorpe University Museum of Art
  • Miriam Smith, Senior Director of Title IX and Equity
  • Kristian Willingham, Senior Admission Counselor

Student members:

  • Justin Bennett, economics major; SGA Student Body President
  • Alyssa Greene, biology major
  • Morgan Quach, human resource management major
  • Karen Rivera, biology major


  • DEI Task Force, Open House, and Title IX

    This message has been updated to reflect the updated DEI Task Force application deadline of October 4, 2021, and to note that the date of the first meeting is TBD. Dear OU Community:  Welcome back to campus! It has been such a pleasure to see so many of you in person, and I hope the […]

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  • Oglethorpe selects Laura Reneé Chandler, PhD as inaugural Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    Oglethorpe University has named Laura Renée Chandler, PhD as its first Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, a member of the senior administrative leadership team, effective March 5. Currently, Dr. Chandler is Director of the Center for Diversity and Community at University of South Dakota. In this new role, Dr. Chandler will lead the strategic discussion […]

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  • DEI Taskforce Update: 11/17/20

    Dear OU Community, Here are a few updates from the DEI Taskforce on various projects we have been working on during the semester. Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion The search for Oglethorpe’s inaugural Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is well under way under the direction of President Ladany. The DEI Taskforce is […]

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