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 Taskforce Update: 8/17/20

    Dear OU Community, When President Ladany announced the creation of this Taskforce, he challenged us to strengthen our institutional core value of a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Our aim is to foster a campus environment that seeks to include those who have been traditionally excluded, to promote a culture that respects and values […]

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  • DEI Taskforce Announcement

    Dear Oglethorpe Community, I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. As I begin the presidency as a new member of the Petrel family, I have been impressed with the resilience, perseverance, and outstanding efforts of students, faculty, staff, parents, board members, alumni, and our friends over the past few months. All exemplify our university’s […]

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