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Three Big Diversity-Related Questions Resulting from the COVID-19 Crisis

Mar 27th, 2020

Join CoopLew and Diverse: Issues In Higher Education for a national conversation about three big diversity-related questions in higher education resulting in the onset of COVID-19. The COVID-19 Pandemic has drastically and perhaps permanently changed the way higher education delivers instruction. This change will impact faculty, students, staff, and administrators. In this live conversation, higher education experts will provide answers to questions that impact issues as access, accessibility, and possibilities for the future.

In this live webcast conversation, we will cover:

  • Anxiety about online performance and instruction
  • Technology as a scapegoat for declines in student performances
  • Moving the needle toward online access for all: reality or delusion?


CoopwoodDr. Ken D. Coopwood,
Co-Founder, CoopLew

A 4-time chief diversity officer, “Dr. Coop,” as students and colleagues call him, has earned national prominence as a transformative agent in higher education diversity administration. After serving at five institutions in three states, he instructs certification coursework at the national level. He holds certifications in cognitive diversity applications, diversity return on investment, diversity executive leadership, creative problem solving, and adaptive-innovation theory. Dr. Coop is an alum of Indiana State University. He is also a post-doctoral alum of both the Harvard Management Development Program and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Millennium Leadership Initiative.

Dr. Coop is a member of the International Association of Diversity Officers and Vice President for the National Academic of Educational Research (NAER). He is also a past board member and co-chair of professional development for the National Association for Diversity Officers in Higher Education, and a past member of editorial, academic, natural disaster, and international boards.

He is Co-Founder of CoopLew, a diversity training consortium of researchers and scholars. CoopLew training has pioneered experiences that address and prepare participants for the transformation of chief diversity officer lived experiences. He is also Owner of Coopwood Progressive Workshops & Developments, LLC (CPWD), a multi-faceted diversity education, speaking, research and development company, and Vice President for DiversityWorks, a private, comprehensive, consulting company.

Dr. Coop earned his Ph.D. in educational administration, leadership, and foundations, his master’s degree in political science, with emphasis on federal policy, and his undergraduate degree in business administration, with an emphasis in finance, marketing, and management.

Kelly HermannMs. Kelly Hermann,
Vice President of Accessibility, Equity and Inclusion,University of Phoenix

Kelly Hermann is the Vice President of Accessibility, Equity and Inclusion for the University of Phoenix. She has oversight of the university’s accessibility initiative, including the evaluation and remediation of curricular resources, the Disability Services office, which provides accommodations to students with disabilities and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which works with University stakeholders, community partners and corporate sponsors to create an inclusive educational environment for the students, faculty and staff. Prior to joining the University of Phoenix, Ms. Hermann was the director of disability services for SUNY Empire State College for 12 years and started her career in academic support and disability services at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY in 2000. In 2009, Ms. Hermann was appointed to the Instructional Materials Advisory Council in New York by then Governor David Patterson and has been active in the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), chairing the special interest group on online and distance education for AHEAD and was the chair of AHEAD’s standing committee on public policy from 2009 to 2013. She frequently presents at national conferences, such as the Online Learning Consortium, WCET and AHEAD regarding online learning and accessibility for students with disabilities and joined the National Diversity Council Board of Directors in 2019.

Amber SmithDr. Amber Smith,
Vice President for Inclusion and Equity, University of Indianapolis

Amber R. Smith is Vice President for Inclusion and Equity at the University of Indianapolis. She oversees and provides strategic insight to programs focused on recruitment, retention and graduation of students in addition to the establishment of programs focused on African American and Hispanic/Latino students.

Smith was named a 2019 ACT College and Career Readiness Champion for the postsecondary professional category. Champions are high school seniors, K-12 professionals, postsecondary professionals and workforce professionals who are making a positive impact on their communities through their efforts to advance college and career readiness. Smith’s experience includes being the Director of the Dr. Charles W. Donaldson Scholars Academy, a collaborative effort between UA Little Rock and area school districts to improve the educational achievement for students in grades 9-12, with a specific focus on African-American students and others who are at risk of academic failure due to socioeconomic disadvantages or other factors. During her tenure at UA Little Rock, she also established the first African-American Female Initiative and assisted in the development of the Hispanic Initiative.

Smith has earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, a master’s degree in student affairs and a Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology.


David PluvioseDavid Pluviose,
Executive Editor, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education

David Pluviose is executive editor of Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, the only national newsmagazine focused on matters of access and opportunity for all in higher education. David has been writing on higher education issues since 2005 when named associate editor of Community College Week. David specializes in community college and achievement gap issues; his writing has also focused on academic underachievement among minority males. He has made presentations on such topics at a Black Male Retreat sponsored by The Ohio State University’s Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male, National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) conferences and an Innovative Educators conference on Latino student success. Previously, David worked for Bulletin News, LLC, where his principal duties included serving as lead editor of the U.S. Department of Education News Briefing, delivered to the U.S. secretary of education and senior Education Department staff each weekday. David is a graduate of Tufts University.

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