Executive Equity Roundtable Presenters
(she/her) Faculty Instructional Designer, Skyline College
As a life-long educator and tech nerd, Andrea Fuentes is passionate about choreographing inclusive learning experiences. She has focused on making on-ramps to educational success, including promoting equitable grading systems and universal design for learning. Andrea started her academic career as an art teacher but entered the instructional design field in 2010. She is a mother to two boys and two dogs and enjoys hiking, art, and coaching Special Olympics.
Dr. Donna M. Buchanan
Dr. Donna M. Buchanan has over 20 years of higher education experience leading organizations through change to solve problems, seize opportunities and achieve mission-aligned goals. Certified in change management and diversity, she works systematically to plan and implement programs and initiatives related to equity, compliance, student outcomes, continuous improvement and process reengineering, organizational restructuring and leadership succession, student service, professional development, stakeholder engagement and conflict mediation.
As visiting and adjunct faculty, Dr. Buchanan has taught courses in education and cross-cultural human development/critical pedagogy to higher education leaders, educators and social service professionals from around the world. Dr. Buchanan has also taught strategic planning to academic leaders at the HERS Institute, as well as college-level business courses and supervisory management workshops to students, faculty, staff and business leaders.
Dr. Buchanan has worked as an internal professional development consultant for university staff and led an unprecedented university-wide compliance program launch that impacted over twelve-thousand (12,000) faculty and staff across 200 departments and several campuses. As Director of Organizational and Professional Development for a university facilities management division she led the change management implementation for an industry award-winning process re-engineering project. Dr. Buchanan has also worked for Procter & Gamble, KCPQ-13 TV and served as founding Director of Daughters of Triumph-Sisters of Vision Leadership Program.
Dr. Buchanan has earned a BA in Sociology from Loyola Marymount University, MA in Cross Cultural Human Development/Teaching Adults from Pacific Oaks College and Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Southern California. Her dissertation research, which she presented at the International Conference on Engineering Education in Coimbra, Portugal, focused on the under-representation of African-Americans in a biomedical engineering program from a faculty perspective.
Dr. Towanna Burrous
Dr. Towanna Burrous, President, CoachDiversity Institute, is a best-selling author, trainer, and ICF professional certified coach based in Washington, DC. As a much sought-after executive coach, Towanna and the CoachDiversity team deliver training, curriculum, and customized diversity and leadership programs for corporate and individual clients. CoachDiversity Institute Ranked No. 524 on the 2021 Inc. 5000, with three-year revenue growth of 937 percent. Inc. 500 is the most prestigious ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States.
Towanna is a trusted partner and problem solver for many clients tackling morale, employee retention, employee engagement, employee performance, and development. She has a Doctorate of Education from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Howard University.
Dr. Mike Muñoz
Dr. Mike Muñoz is Long Beach Community College District’s Superintendent-President. Dr. Muñoz started in his new role at Long Beach City College on March 4, 2021.
Dr. Muñoz is a nationally recognized transformational leader in higher education. He is an expert in closing racial equity gaps for students of color, creating inclusive campus cultures for LGBTQIA+ students, and effectively leading for transformational change.
Dr. Muñoz has been instrumental in LBCC’s work so far in advancing racial equity work at the College as Co-Chair of the President’s Taskforce on Race & Equity and serves as the lead administrator for the College’s Framework for Reconciliation. He has also provided support and leadership by serving on the Long Beach College Promise Steering Committee.
A product of the California Community College system, Dr. Muñoz attended East Los Angeles College and Fullerton College before transferring to the University of California, Irvine (UCI), where he received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Social Behavior. He received his master’s degree in Counseling and his doctor of education with a specialization in Community College Leadership, from California State University, Long Beach.
He is a first-generation college student. While attending college, he experienced both food and housing insecurities — all while caring for his daughter as a single father.
Dr. Muñoz has extensive experience teaching both at the undergraduate and graduate levels in counseling and higher education. He’s currently serving as an Adjunct Professor of Higher Education at the USC Rossier’s School of Education teaching a leadership course focused on the Community Colleges. Muñoz was recognized as an Outstanding Faculty Member in 2019 from USC’s Rossier Student Organization, and the 2018 Dr. Cynthia S. Johnson Award from CSULB that recognized his contributions to higher education through exceptional student mentoring.
On the national stage, his leadership experience includes serving on the Board of Directors for the National Community Colleges Hispanic Council, as a founding Board Member of COLEGAS, the California Community Colleges Latinx professional association; and as an appointee by Lt. Governor Kounalakis to serve on the state’s ADT Intersegmental Implementation Committee.
Dr. Edward Bush
Edward C. Bush Ph.D. has 25 years of experience in higher education with 23 of those years serving in the California Community College System. He is well known throughout the State of California as a leader who has been able to reimagine traditional institutional practices. Dr. Bush holds a Ph.D. in Urban Educational Leadership from Claremont Graduate University, a Master of Arts Degree in Public Administration from California State University San Bernardino, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California Riverside.
Dr. Bush currently serves as the President of Cosumnes River College in Sacramento. He is a student success focused leader with a clear vision and expertise in leading organizations through periods of change and structural disruption. Dr. Bush is an educational visionary whose innovative approach has improved student outcomes while reducing both achievement and opportunity gaps for students of color and other historically marginalized student populations. Dr. Bush is dedicated to creating teams of Educators who are committed to work towards meeting the evolving needs of students and the communities in which they serve.
As a scholar practitioner, Dr. Bush is committed to tackling issues relating to equity, diversity, and access for all students. His leadership expertise includes his involvement on Statewide committees and initiatives. He currently serves as the Area 2 representative for the California Community College League CEO Board, the CEO Representative for the State’s Chancellor Office Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee as well as the Chancellor’s Office Student Success Metrics Task Force. Moreover, Dr. Bush is a co-author of multiple books and book chapters and has published 12 peer reviewed publications for a variety of scholarly journals.
Dr. Bush has a history of developing programs and services that foster student success as well as creating successful targeted programs for underserved populations. He is a Co-Founder and Board Member of the African American Male Network and Development, Incorporated (A2MEND). A2MEND is a non-profit organization comprised of Community College Faculty and Administrators who volunteer their time to use their scholarly and professional expertise to foster institutional change within the Colleges they serve. A2MEND is a nationally recognized organization that has successfully improved the educational outcomes for men of color enrolled in the California Community College System. Dr. Bush also currently serves as a Board Member for 4 Non-Profit Foundations and remains committed to being a resource and thought leader for numerous college and district level committees. Dr. Bush has presented his strategies for improving student outcomes for numerous national, statewide, and local organizations.
Chancellor of SMCCCD
Michael Claire is the Chancellor of the San Mateo County Community College District. Chancellor Claire holds an MBA and a B.S. in Business Administration, both from California State University, East Bay. He is also a Certified Public Accountant. Chancellor Claire worked at College of San Mateo for the majority of his 32-year career and served as President of the college for 13 years. Chancellor Claire has also served as Vice President of Instruction and as Dean of the Technology Division at College of San Mateo.
Chancellor Claire started his career as a faculty member, teaching accounting, business, and computer application courses. Chancellor Claire has experience in strategic planning, fiscal management, educational master planning and facilities planning. He has served on several boards and currently serves as a board member for the San Mateo Credit Union. He is also a commissioner for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.
Dr. Melissa Moreno
President of Skyline College
Dr. Melissa Moreno came to the California Community College system in 2008 after 23 years as a small business owner in law, hospitality, and real estate. She joined the Santa Barbara Community College District (SBCCD) as a founding Director of the national award-winning Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Santa Barbara City College (SBCC). She created leading-edge experiential components for the Center, such as the Enlightened Entrepreneurship lecture series which featured luminaries such as the founders of Patagonia and Decker’s Outdoor Corporation, and created the Enterprise Launch program where students engage in the rapid development of a product or service in a single semester. She authored the Practical Guide to a Rapid Startup which shares the success of the Enterprise Launch program.
In 2014, she was promoted to Dean of the SBCC Business Division and launched the SBCC Career Skills Institute, an award-winning and innovative noncredit “flipped classroom” concept that partners with local employers and adult re-entry students to strengthen the skills of the local workforce. Industry partners include Cottage Health, LinkedIn, UCSB, other large local employers, and the Workforce Development Board. As dean, she worked with the SBCC Foundation to raise funds and support programs. For example, she helped secure a $1 million endowment for the business division, creating the Jack & Julie Nadel School of Business & Entrepreneurship.
In 2017, Melissa was promoted to Vice President to create the SBCC School of Extended Learning that continues to experience unprecedented growth and create more than $5 million in excess revenue in two years.
In 2020, Melissa joined the San Mateo County Community College District as the President of Skyline College. She is currently bringing transformative change to Skyline College through the People’s College Initiative, intended to create a lasting healthy campus climate by democratizing its governance structure to center the voices of the students, faculty, classified professionals, and management; and to bring cohesion to the antiracism and equity work – envisaged as the foundation of a civic-minded campus.
Dr. Oyame KenZoe Brian J. Selassie-Okpe
Executive Director of the Equity Institute
Dr. Oyame KenZoe Brian J. Selassie-Okpe (O'KenZoe) is a dynamic critical theories and intercultural 2016-2017 Fulbright-Hays research scholarship recipient, scholar, professor, and academic administrator. His research focuses on intercultural communication, organizational communication and behavior, Africana womanism, non-heterosexuality’s and cultural centricities. He has served 4-year and community colleges in capacities as assistant professor, department chair, co-chair of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging committee, Dean of English, World Languages and Cultures, and Communication Studies, Dean of Fine, Applied, and Communication Arts, and Dean of Academic Honors. In his current role, he is the Executive Director of the Equity Institute at Skyline College. In his career prior to academia, he served as a communications officer in the Executive Office of the Mayor in Washington D.C. as well as the Chief Grants and Contracts Management Officer for the D.C. Department of the Environment.
Dr. Selassie-Okpe earned an Executive Certificate in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion from Cornell University's e-Cornell Executive Program, Doctorate of Philosophy with distinction in Communication and Culture from Howard University, a Master of Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix, Master of Public Administration from Walden University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Mount Union. He has served as a Commissioner for the Government of the District of Columbia Commission on African American Affairs as well as the editor of Dr. Molefi K. Asante’s 2019 publication: 400 Years of Witnessing. Dr. Selassie-Okpe is committed to racial equity and social justice.
Dr. C. Chic Smith
C. Chic Smith is a visionary & strategist who enjoys studying human behavior through the lens of intercultural communication & rhetoric. Her passion for rhetoric led her to the world of diversity, equity, inclusion, & belonging.
Her keen sensibilities as a strategist, coupled with her expertise in rhetoric and diversity, equity, inclusion, & belonging has taken her from her native home of Brooklyn, NY to Capitol Hill, London, South Africa, and beyond.
She has served on various Mayoral Commissions in Washington, DC, as the National Director of Policy & Strategy for Black Women for Obama, as senior staff to two Members of Congress, and as a Special Assistant to a University President. Since 2016, has served as the President and Senior Consultant for Communication Wave LLC where she helps institutions and small businesses create, examine, and achieve their DEIB goals.
C. Chic Smith holds a B.A. from Albertus Magnus College, M.A. from Georgetown University, and a Ph.D. from Howard University. She is currently serving as an Association Dean at the University of Virginia.
Dr. Jeremiah Sims
Dr. Jeremiah J. Sims, is the Co-Founder and Principal Consultant/Trainer for Rooted in Love, LLC., a Race, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (REIJ) Consultancy Company. Because of his own life experiences, Jeremiah has devoted his career to the realization of educational equity for hyper-marginalized students. Jeremiah is an alumnus of the University of California, Berkeley where he earned a B.A. in rhetoric, with honors, as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. in education. Jeremiah’s work, chronicled in his first book, Revolutionary STEM Education...(Peter Lang, 2018), details his experiences as an educator working toward a revolutionary, paradigm shift in the STEM education of and for Black boys. His second book, Minding the obligation gap in community colleges...(Sims, et al. 2020), illuminates the role that community college practitioners must willingly play in order to deconstruct the institutionalized, macrostructural inequities found in higher education-and his most recent book, The white Educators' guide to equity: Teaching for justice in community colleges (Wallace & Sims, 2022) speaks to theory and praxis in liberatory pedagogy. Sims is also the editor of a Peter Lang book series, Educational Equity in Community Colleges.
Rachel Sims is the co-founder of Rooted in Love, a consulting group that works with private and community colleges to advance equity in their classrooms and on campus. She has over 15 years of experience developing and directing equity-centered programs in the nonprofit world and education. She was at the helm of a summer residential STEM program for under-resourced students of color for eight of those years and was instrumental in scaling it nationwide. Her passion is ensuring that heart intentions are preserved in policy and practice; that students' "self" is not compromised with certain outcomes in mind. In the past few years, Rachel has also been working with a group of artists and acting as a liaison for students and communities of color to create large-scale murals. She is currently the Director of Advancement Strategy and Operations for Golden Gate University. Rachel is a Bay Area native and holds a B.A. in Business Management from UC Berkeley and an M.A. in Educational Administration from San Francisco State University.
Marisol Quevedo is a community college educator, a doctoral student at San José State University (SJSU), and a graduate research assistant with the Institute for Emancipatory Education at SJSU. She holds a master’s degree in education, with a concentration in equity and social justice from San Francisco State University. Through the course of her career, Marisol has worked as an educator, leadership facilitator, and public speaker working to advance equity-informed and social-justice-based education initiatives in support of historically underrepresented and marginalized students. Most notably, Marisol traveled throughout the United States, Canada, and India speaking to over 30,000 youth on an anti-bullying youth empowerment tour. Growing up in a rural town in California’s Central Valley, opportunities for educational advancement were limited. It is why Marisol is passionate about transforming educational institutions and deeply committed to working to improve educational outcomes for historically underrepresented students. Marisol’s pedagogical philosophy aims to cultivate and foster a community where learners can be challenged to think critically and creatively.
Dr. Bianca Rowden-Quince
Dr. Bianca Rowden-Quince is a passionate educator, consultant, and scholar with experience in combining instructional design, professional learning, research, mentoring, and faculty training to support student success. Through her work in the Center for Transformative Teaching & Learning (CTTL), Bianca’s focus at Skyline College has been working with faculty to provide instructional design services and pedagogy supports that promote the development of equitable learning experiences and implementation of antiracist practices to meet the needs of our students. She cares deeply about fostering a sense of belonging and helping students and colleagues feel seen, heard, and honored for their contributions to our community.
Bianca believes that student success is supported by effective teaching practices, a strong pedagogical foundation, and collaboration between faculty, staff, and school resources toward the common goal of helping students achieve their full potential. Bianca supports this work as the co-founder of the Equity Scholars program, centered on equity coaching & mentorship for faculty, as well as through participation in the District’s Antiracism Council. In her spare time, Bianca enjoys spending time with her family and friends, enjoying the arts, culture, and community of her hometown, San Francisco, CA.
Diva C. Ward
Diva C. Ward is the Director of Grant Initiatives and Equity Projects with the San
Mateo County Community College District, an Equity Facilitator and Leadership Coach
with Leading from the Middle, and an active member of the San Mateo County Community
College District Antiracism Council.
Diva has been working in higher education for more than 25 years. Diva found her passion while working with low-income and first-generation students with the Upward Bound Program at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California. She fell in love with TRIO and the richness of higher education. After spending more than ten years working with TRIO, Diva then worked in the Biotechnology field, where she was able to work with industry leaders to create programs that improved student job placement and programmatic success.
Diva has written, implemented, and directed several HSI Title V Grants that improved student success and completion rates. She also has seven years working as Director of Student Support, managing the Learning Center, and varying academic support programs and services, including tutoring, supplemental instruction, and peer mentoring.
She continues to work as a collaborator and community-building instrument of change.
The equity solutions from last year, last month, and even from 5 minutes ago are changing. Our role as practitioners of equity is to be open and responsive to the changing needs of our students, our campuses, our peers, and ourselves. We have to give ourselves the grace not to be perfect but to be perfectly committed to doing the work that has to be done.
Dr. TaJuan Wilson, Ed.D., CDE
Dr. Wilson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Communications (2007), a Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in Government Management (2009), and a Doctorate of Education with an emphasis in Higher Education Administration (2015).
Additionally, he has completed post-graduate work at Stanford University, Harvard University, Cornell University, Yale University, and Vanderbilt University Law School.
Dr. Wilson serves as a Managing Associate for the Diversified Search Group, specifically Storbeck Search where he directs client engagement across all phases of the search process and serves in a consultative role to clients regarding strategic hiring decisions and organizational development.
Dr. Wilson served as the inaugural Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and Chief Diversity Officer at Georgia Southern University. He is the former Special Assistant for External Relations and Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Iowa. Dr. Wilson also formerly served as an Assistant Professor and the Executive Director of Student Programs and Student Diversity at the Medical University of South Carolina; the Executive Director of TRIO Programs and Multicultural Student Retention and the Interim Executive Director for Multicultural Programs at Missouri State University; the Director of GEAR-UP Wyoming; and as the Assistant Director of the Upward Bound program at Southern Arkansas University.
Dr. Wilson has been honored with the following awards: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award from the Black History Intercollegiate Consortium (Charleston, SC), Federal TRIO Programs Hall of Fame (Ouachita Baptist University), “20 Under 30” Young Professionals (417 Magazine), “40 Under 40” Young Professionals (Springfield Business Journal), and “20 Under 40” (Statesboro Herald).
He is a member of NASPA, the National TRIO Alumni Association, The Cradle to Careers Advisory Council, MO-KAN-NE, the Educational Opportunity Association, the American Political Science Association, the American Society for Public Administration, and the Council for Opportunity in Education. In addition, he is a Certified Diversity Executive and a graduate of the Educational Opportunity Association's Emerging Leaders Institute.