Associate Chancellor and Vice Provost for Diversity Search Committee

Teresa Córdova, Co-Chair
Director and Professor – Great Cities Institute 

Teresa Córdova, Ph.D., is Director of Great Cities Institute and Professor of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Throughout her career, Dr. Córdova has engaged with communities outside the university and is an expert in community/university partnerships.  She is a former elected and appointed member and/or chair of numerous national and local boards, commissions and steering committees of county and regional governments, community development corporations, grassroots organizations, editorial boards, research centers, planning organizations, policy groups, and campus committees. Professor Córdova received her Ph.D. in 1986 from the University of California, Berkeley.  Her analysis on the impacts of globalization on local communities informs her publications in Community Development and Latino Studies.

Jane Rhodes, Co-Chair
Department Head and Professor – African American Studies

Jane Rhodes is Professor and Head of the Department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She earned a Ph. D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and bachelors and masters degrees from Syracuse University. Rhodes has been a scholar, teacher and administrator for more than 30 years, most recently as the Dean for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Macalester College and as Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Rhodes is author of Mary Ann Shadd Cary: The Black Press and Protest in the Nineteenth Century (Indiana University Press 1998), Framing the Black Panthers: The Spectacular Rise of a Black Power Icon (The New Press 2007; University of Illinois Press 2017), and numerous articles and book chapters on black social movements, media, African American women’s history, and the politics of representation. Her current research investigates radical activism and the black public sphere.

Marcus Betts
Senior Director – Corporate and Community Relations

Marcus Betts currently serves as the Senior Director of Community and Corporate Relations for the University of Illinois at Chicago. For Chicago’s largest and only public research university in the City of Chicago; he is responsible for developing the overarching strategy for local, national and international engagement. Betts is also responsible for cultivating strategic relationships with Chicago’s vibrant corporate community.

Betts grew up in the North Lawndale Community on Chicago’s Westside. Betts developed his tenacious work ethic early in life as he worked his way up the ladder in his family’s business; Elbo’s BBQ House, Betts attended St. Joseph High School and graduated from Manley Career Academy High School then went on to graduate from Illinois State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and was also a member of the Men’s basketball team.

After graduating from a successful career in Corporate America, Betts founded The Marcus Chizm Group Inc.; a Boutique Experiential Marketing and Community Engagement firm based in the North Lawndale community on Chicago’s Westside. He has worked with some the world’s top brands and experiential events. Betts was selected as one of the Chicago Defender’s Men of Excellence Class of 2017. He has been featured and recognized for his leadership and passion by the Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business and Chicago Tribune. He was also named as one of the Top 40 People under 40 by the Chicago Defender Newspaper. 

Betts led the epic community effort to host the Obama Presidential Center on the Westside of Chicago. Betts has worked closely with President Obama’s Senior Advisors,  Community Based Organizations, Office of the Mayor and many other; elected officials, business leaders and faith leaders throughout the State of Illinois to develop strategies to build strong relationships and improve our community.

Betts has a beautiful ten year old daughter, Sophia; and in his spare time enjoys fishing, reading, traveling and is a self-proclaimed “foodie”.

Rosa M. Cabrera
Director – Latino Cultural Center

Rosa M. Cabrera, Ph.D, is the director of the UIC Latino Cultural Center, which offers educational programs that feature cultural and artistic expressions; intercultural and civic dialogues; scholarly presentations; and first-voice stories. She is affiliated faculty with the UIC Department of Anthropology, Latin American and Latino Studies Program, and the Department of Art History’s Museum and Exhibition Studies (MUSE) Program. She is also a Keller Science Action Center Associate at The Field Museum. Her research interests include: the role of museums in civic participation and community identity formation; Latino identity and citizenship; the intersections of environmental sustainability, cultural diversity, and social justice; and the role of the arts to increase public dialogue on pressing social and environmental issues.

Megan Carney
Director – Gender and Sexuality Center

Megan Carney is an artist, educator and organizational leader who joined UIC as the Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center in January of 2011. Megan received a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Virginia Tech focusing on Directing and Public Dialogue and a BA from Kalamazoo College where her ideas about theatre as a tool for social justice and activism began to take shape.

Megan is a founding director of About Face Youth Theatre, a theatre and leadership development program for LGBTQ youth that adapts true stories for the stage. During eight years at the helm, Megan’s collaborative work with community partners around the city addressed housing instability, creation of chosen families, and inter-generational collaboration in celebrated performances that premiered in Chicago and toured around the country to schools and conferences. Megan is currently the Director of Community Engagement for Rivendell Theatre where she also writes and directs. She teaches in a variety of contexts and facilitates programs that engage questions of personal identity, place making, and change. Her work has been recognized with multiple awards and publications.

Michael Diaz
Executive Associate Director – Access and Equity

Michael joined the Office for Access and Equity in August 2016 and serves as Executive Associate Director where he directs and manages compliance of UIC policies and state and federal law pertaining to discrimination, harassment, equal opportunity and access, disability accommodations, and Title IX.  Michael is not new to OAE, as he formerly served as a Civil Rights Analyst for the office in 2002 through 2005. 

Prior to joining OAE in August of 2016, Michel served as Deputy General Counsel to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Banking where he worked with state and federal regulators, and elected and appointed officials overseeing the successful management of the State’s commercial and mortgage banking industries.  In this capacity, Michael supervised Division attorneys and legal staff, and also drafted legislation, interpreted statutory mandate and developed policy considerations for affected parties.

Prior to joining the Division of Banking Michael served as Principal with the law firm of Monteagudo, Lopez & Diaz, Attorneys and Counsel where he practiced in the areas of Business and Municipal Law.  Michael also served as counsel to the Whiting Law Group, Ltd., a personal injury law firm.  He has also worked as a government affairs representative for Fannie Mae and the Ford Motor Company, respectively. 

Michael also serves on the Board of Directors for Prevention First, where he serves as Treasurer, and Equality Illinois PAC.  He is the past chair for the Local Government Committee of the Chicago Bar Association.

Michael received a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Masters in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and also received his Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School Chicago.  

Nilda Flores-González
Associate Professor – Sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies

Nilda Flores-González is an associate professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Faculty Liaison of LAS’ Office of Social Science Research. Her work focuses on race and ethnicity, children and youth, identity, Latino sociology and education. Her current research explores the effects of racialization on the ways in which Latino youth understand national belonging. Professor Flores-González us the author of Citizens but not Americans: Race and Belonging among Latino Millennials (Forthcoming, NYU Press), and School Kids, Street Kids: Identity Development in Latino Students (Teachers College Press 2002), co-editor of Marcha:  Latino Chicago in the Immigrant Rights Movement (University of Illinois Press 2010) and co-editor of Immigrant Women Workers in the Neoliberal Era (University of Illinois Press 2013).  Additionally, she has published articles and book chapters on various topics such as race and Latino identity, youth and social justice, immigrant education, Puerto Rican high achieving students, extracurricular participation and retention, and the Puerto Rican community of Chicago. Professor Flores-Gonzalez has received funding from the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation.

Hailee M. Yoshizaki Gibbons
Graduate Student Instructor – Disability and Human Development

Hailee M. Yoshizaki Gibbons is a Ph.D. Candidate in Disability Studies and University Fellow. Hailee holds a Bachelor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Gerontology, Psychology, and Family Studies, and a Master of Science in Student Affairs and Higher Education from Miami University of Ohio. She is a Graduate Student Instructor in the Department of Disability and Human Development. Her research interests in Disability Studies include intersections of disability and aging, dementia, intersectionality, mental disabilities and neurodivergence, disability identity and disclosure, disability in higher education, and qualitative methodology. Hailee serves on the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities and is the Chair of its Student Advisory Board. Hailee has presented at regional and national conferences on the topic of disability within higher education, with a particular emphasis on her experiences as a disabled graduate student instructor and disabled students’ navigation of disability identity, disclosure, accommodations, and ableism within university settings. Her dissertation, At the Margins of Disability, Age, and Gender: Institutionalized Women with Dementia, is an ethnographic study of dementia units in nursing homes in Chicago. Hailee’s work has been published in Review of Disability Studies, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and Disability & Society. 

Jonathan A. Medrano
Academic Advisor – Native American Support Program

Dr. Jonathon A. MeDrano (Arapaho/Shoshone), Native American Support Program, is a UIC alumnus where he graduated with three Bachelor of Arts’ degrees.  In addition, he has two MA’ and PhD from the University of Chicago. His research concentrates on the development and expression of Native American identity, spirituality and health in the urban context. He has worked for various federal, state and city agencies throughout his professional career.  When his schedule permits, Dr. MeDrano continues to volunteer his efforts toward the advancement of Indigenous peoples. He is committed to the success of Indigenous students at UIC. In his role he has provided academic support, cultural understanding and academic and professional guidance and counselling for Indigenous students. He assists with providing programs and services that support recruitment, retention and graduation along with academic enrichment and professional development. He assists with college transition issues unique to Indigenous students. Dr. MeDrano also has an academic, professional and community dedication to Indigenous communities across the globe.

Peter Nelson
Dean and Professor – Engineering

Peter Nelson was appointed Dean of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) College of Engineering in July of 2008. Prior to assuming his deanship, Professor Nelson was head of the UIC Department of Computer Science. In 1991, Professor Nelson founded UIC’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, which specializes in applied intelligence systems projects in fields such as transportation, manufacturing, bioinformatics and e-mail spam countermeasures. Professor Nelson has published over 80 scientific peer reviewed papers and has been the principal investigator on over $30 million in research grants and contracts on issues of importance such as computer-enhanced transportation systems, manufacturing, design optimization and bioinformatics. These projects have been funded by organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Transportation and Motorola. In 1994-95, his laboratory, sponsored by the Illinois Department of Transportation, developed the first real-time traffic congestion map on the World Wide Web, which now receives over 100 million hits per year. Professor Nelson is also currently serving as principal dean for the UIC Innovation Center, a collaborative effort between the UIC Colleges of Architecture, Design and the Arts; Business Administration; Medicine and Engineering.

Jacob Schulz
Vice President – Graduate Student Council

Jacob Schulz, is currently a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in Public Administration. He earned a Bachelor’s in Urban and Public Affairs in May of 2015 from UIC. As an Undergraduate, he served on the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) through various leadership roles, including President. During his time in USG, he focused on capital improvement projects, the student experience in Residence Life, Commuter Life, and Academic & Advising Policies. Throughout Jacob’s tenure at UIC, he has worked for the Commuter Student Resource Center, Wellness Center, and currently as a Graduate Assistant for the UIC Orientation Office.  For the 2017-18 academic year, he will serve as Vice-President of the Graduate Student Council.

Renée Taylor
Vice Provost and Professor – Faculty Affairs and Occupational Therapy 

Dr. Taylor has served as vice provost since 2012. While serving in this role, she facilitated the implementation of college-based faculty mentoring programs and worked collaboratively with faculty senate subcommittees and other faculty and administrators to initiate and implement efforts that enhance faculty-related human resource policies and procedures, teaching and learning, and promotion and tenure. During this time, she has also served as Professor of Occupational Therapy, Honors College Fellow, and Director of the Model of Human Occupation Clearinghouse.

A clinical-community psychologist, Dr. Taylor joined the UIC faculty as an Associate Professor in 2001. In 2006, she was promoted to Professor and was subsequently appointed Co-director of Graduate Studies for the Ph.D. Program in Kinesiology, Human Nutrition, and Rehabilitation Sciences. In 2010, she became the Director of the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO) Clearinghouse at UIC, an international hub of research, scholarship, and cross-disciplinary collaboration involving the most evidence-based and widely-cited conceptual practice model in the field of occupational therapy. Dr. Taylor also served as co-director of the campus Promotion and Tenure Committee in 2009.

Dr. Taylor has received substantial research grant funding and has served on a range of federal and international grant review panels focusing on issues related to chronic fatigue syndrome, Epstein-Barr virus, and rehabilitation. She has published extensively on topics involving chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, research methodologies, and patient-provider relationships. Dr. Taylor completed two NIH-funded R01 studies of post-infectious fatigue following Epstein-Barr virus infection. She has initiated a second line of research on the role of patient-provider relationships in rehabilitation and healthcare. This work led to the development of a conceptual practice model for the field of Occupational Therapy, the Intentional Relationship Model (IRM), which was introduced in 2008, and has since grown rapidly to become utilized internationally as a premier teaching and practice model for client-therapist communication in occupational therapy.

In 2008 Dr. Taylor received the Professor of the Year award from the College of Applied Health Sciences, and in 2010 she received the UIC Teaching Recognition Program Award. From 2004-2005, Dr. Taylor was one of 34 internationally-recognized multidisciplinary scientists invited to a series of meetings cosponsored by the Centers for Disease Control at the renowned Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories in New York. Dr. Taylor was an invited speaker and key author on a set of high-impact publications that emerged from these meetings.

Roniciel (Joy) Vergara
Executive Director – Center for Student Involvement

Joy Vergara is the Executive Director at the Center for Student Involvement within UIC Student Affairs. With 14 years in Student Affairs, she has been in her current role for 4 years implementing new programs, enhancing the student experience, increasing involvement opportunities, and building affinity to UIC.  This past year, she proudly serves as the co-chair of the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Asian Americans.  She received a Masters of Education from Loyola University Chicago and currently pursuing her doctoral degree in the Educational Administration and Foundations program at Illinois State University. 

William Walden
Associate Dean and Professor – Medicine

Learn more about Dr. William Walden…