Governors State University (GSU) has established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council (DEIC) of 20 – 25 students and employees, who act on behalf of the organization to launch and support the diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) process. The committee is a critical driver in fostering real organizational change, establishing a dedicated focus on diversity and inclusion priorities, and promoting DEI practices. The DEIC Chair (Chief Diversity Officer) works closely with senior leaders to ensure tight alignment with the organization’s overall business strategy and to accelerate DEI goals.

The GSU DEI Council strives to create an organizational culture and climate in which all students and employees are valued, have a sense of belonging and connection with one another and the organization, and feel empowered to do their best work.

DEIC is charged with researching, developing, and proposing mechanisms to help create a supportive, positive, and inclusive work environment for all students and employees of GSU.

The purpose of Governors State University’s (GSU’s) DEI Council is to help provide support, guidance, and direction for the university’s mission and vision toward creating, implementing, and sustaining strategic DEI goals.

The DEI Council will consist of at least 20 – 25 diverse members of the GSU community, including faculty, staff, students, and the campus community. This council will be made of a single nominee from each of these leaders on campus except for the Dean of Arts and Sciences and Graduate Studies, who will have two (2) nominees each. These nominations must be confirmed by the President to be officially appointed to the Council.

DEI Council Members

Tilt your device horizontally to view members of the DEI Council.




Joi PattersonJoi PattersonChief Diversity OfficerOffice of the President
David RheaDavid RheaInterim Dean, Honors CollegeAcademic Affairs
Blank PortraitLannie Brown-SimonDeputy Director, ProcurementAdministrative and Finance
Patricia RounsavillePatricia RounsavilleClient Relations Representative III, Financial AidCivil Services
Jillian Klean ZwillingJillian Klean ZwillingAssistant ProfessorCollege of Arts and Sciences
Karen WilliamsKaren WilliamsManager of EnrollmentCollege of Business
Lamise ShawahinLamise ShawahinAssistant Professor, Psychology and CounselingCollege of Education
Luther KingLuther KingAssistant Professor, Occupational TherapyCollege of Health and Human Services
Angela Szczepanik-SanchezAngela Szczepanik-SanchezDirector of Access Services for Students with DisabilitiesOffice of Access Services for Students with Disabilities
Emmanuel LopezEmmanuel LopezDirector, LatinX CenterEnrollment Management
Kaitlyn WildKaitlyn WildDirector of ComplianceGeneral Council
Kayla SiamKayla SiamAttorney, Thompson Coburn LLPGovernmental and Community Affairs
Candace SmithCandace SmithAssistant Professor, Interdisciplinary LeadershipGraduate Studies
Markita AlexanderMarkita AlexanderHR Testing and RecruitingHuman Resources
Shannon OlisonShannon OlisonDirector of Advancement ServicesInstitutional Advancement / Marketing
Cari DidionCari DidionAssistant Professor, Science LibrarianLibrary
FeMia NorwoodFeMia NorwoodDirector of Sponsored Programs And ResearchOffice of Sponsored Programs and Research
Matt CooneyMatthew CooneyAssistant Professor, Interdisciplinary LeadershipProfessional Development
Lester Van MoodyLester Van MoodyRetention SpecialistStudent Affairs/Dean of Students
Lluvia Hernandez AguirreLluvia Hernandez-AguirreStudent SenateStudent Representative
Rebecca SeifertRebecca SeifertAssistant Professor, Art HistoryUPI
Lisa PenningtonLisa PenningtonAssociate Professor,COE, CAS
Janelle CrowleyJanelle CrowleyChief of StaffPACAA Representative
Melanie WhitelowMelanie WhitelowBusiness Administrative AssistantBusiness and Finance
Scott SowinskiScott SowinksiExecutive Director CPAEvents
Jailyn StevensonJailyn StevensonAssistant Director of HousingHousing
Akiko OtaAkiko OtaESL DirectorSXL
Megan Washington-SimsMegan Washington-SimsGraduate StudentGraduate Studies