Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership

Provost Brooke Barnett

Brooke Barnett (PhD) is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Butler University. She is deeply committed to justice, understanding our differences and the celebration of our many identities, backgrounds, experiences and cultures. She has served in several leadership roles including as CCOM Dean at Butler and Associate Provost at Elon University providing administrative oversight of a university-wide inclusive excellence framework, access and success programs, civic engagement, and a life-long learning program for community members. Provost Barnett regularly publishes and presents on media, inclusion, and leadership in higher education including a co-edited volume with Peter Felten Insight into diversity: Intersectionality in Action: A Guide for Faculty and Campus Leaders for Creating Inclusive Classrooms and Institutions (2016).  Provost Barnett completed the Institute for Educational Management program at Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Diversity Management certificate at Cornell’s University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, the HERS Institute for Women Leaders in Higher Education, and the Scripps Howard Leadership Academy program. She was a board member of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.  As Provost, Dr. Barnett’s goal is to keep diversity, equity and inclusion at the forefront of decision making and a key part of the culture at Butler University. She works to ensure the Academic Affairs DEI plan aligns with Butler’s overall DEI strategy, encourages active participation in the surrounding community, and seeks to improve the work environment for Butler faculty and staff across the board. 

Su-Mei Ooi

Director of Academic Affairs for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Faculty Director of Butler in Asia Program, Center for Global Education 

Associate Professor of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

In her role as Director of Academic Affairs for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dr. Ooi has worked closely with Provost Barnett on focussed efforts in 3 key areas of (1) representational and interactional diversity in the Butler community (2) belonging amongst faculty, staff and students (3) faculty and staff engagement with, and capacity for, DEI work across all identities and backgrounds, through various institution-wide initiatives.  Dr. Ooi joined the Department of Political Science as Assistant Professor in 2010, shortly before earning a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto with a joint specialty in international relations and comparative politics. Dr. Ooi studied and worked in many different parts of Asia, Europe, and North America and brings a global perspective to teaching, research and service to the University. At Butler, she teaches courses in international relations and Asian politics with the express purpose of helping students to understand that there are many different ways of being in this world. Since 2017, Dr. Ooi has led students to Southeast Asia on the Butler in Asia program. She has also led efforts to create AAPI representation in the Core Curriculum in the form of a new Global and Historical Studies section, GHS 212: Asian Americas, and is the faculty advisor of the student group Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance (APIA). More recently, her scholarship has addressed emancipatory peace on the Korean Peninsula, US-China relations, global citizenship education, and the well-being of faculty in teaching-focused institutions. You can read her publications here. Dr. Ooi is also active in the Indianapolis Community, and is the Media and Communications Director of the Indianapolis Chinese Community Center Inc.; a Council Member of the Indiana Chinese American Association; a member of the National Asian and Pacific Women’s Forum; and involved in the K-12 AAPI History Initiative of the Indiana Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association.

Susan Adams

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, College of Education

Associate Professor, College of Education

As inaugural Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the College of Education, Dr. Adams’ primary focus is capacity building for facilitation of intentional learning communities of practice for COE faculty and staff.  These intentional learning communities of practice will foster personal and collective growth through the use of courageous conversations and instructional dilemma protocols to better align professional and scholarly practices with the COE Shared Commitments. Dr. Adams’ teaching responsibilities in the Butler University College of Education regularly include teaching educational foundations, introduction to secondary education, multicultural education, ESL methods, and graduate courses. Dr. Adams’ publications are included here. Dr. Adams and her co-author, Jamie Buffington-Adams, Ph.D. published their book from Lexington Books, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, as part of Roland W. Mitchell and Kenneth J. Fasching-Varner’s series, Race and Education. Dr. Adams was selected for the 2012 ATE-I Anne Patterson Paper Award for her scholarly paper, “Whiten Up! An Autobiographical Exploration of the Impact of White ESL Teachers’ Race, Privilege and Positionality on English Language Learners in K-12 Schools” and was chosen for the 2014 Association of Liberal Arts Colleges of Teacher of Education (AILACTE) Scholar Award. In 2015, Dr. Adams and her colleague, Dr. Brooke Kandel-Cisco were awarded a Desmond Tutu Fellowship and were selected as a 2016 Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) Clinical Fellow. She also served as Butler University Co-Faculty Development Fellow with Dr. Elizabeth Mix (2013-2014) and with Dr. Jane Gervasio (2014-2015). 

Elise Edwards

Associate Dean of Program & Faculty Development and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Professor of Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Elise Edwards is a Professor of Anthropology and in the Department of History, Anthropology, and Classics. Edwards completed her BA in International Studies at Stanford University (1991), and her MA and PhD in Anthropology at the University of Michigan (2003). Her research focuses primarily on the worlds of soccer—from the professional ranks to amateur levels—in contemporary Japan and the ways the sport intersects with and shapes social, political, and economic realities in the country. In addition, her work examines the ways that discourses of sexuality, gender, ethnicity, and race inform and are informed by the world of sport. Recently, she has spent time researching and writing about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well as Japan’s new professional Women’s Empowerment League. In addition to teaching a range of courses about Japan and East Asia, Edwards regularly teaches courses in museum studies, anthropological history, methods, and theory, and science and technology studies. She is an affiliate faculty member in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, International Studies, and the Science, Technology & Environmental Studies program at Butler. Edwards was the starting goalkeeper for the Stanford Women’s Soccer team from 1987-91, and played and coached soccer in Japan’s professional “L-League” in the mid-1990s. When she arrived at Butler (2004), she became the goalkeeping coach with Butler University’s women’s soccer team, a position she held for 13 years. She spent a similar amount of time serving as the faculty co-advisor to Alliance, Butler’s student-led LGBTQIA+ advocacy group. She was the chair of the Department of History and Anthropology for six years and after that served as the Vice Chair of the Faculty Senate. As the Associate Dean of Faculty & Program Development and Director of DEI for the College of LAS, she is committed to working with her LAS colleagues to create an environment where faculty, students, and staff feel valued and supported and to fight for greater equity and inclusion at Butler.

Lindsay Ems

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, College of Communication

Associate Professor, Communication & Media Studies 

Dr. Ems is an Associate Professor and Faculty Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the College of Communication at Butler University. She teaches classes on social responsibility and today’s drastically changing workplace. In class they work to understand how globalization, technology and the changing structure of work fundamentally alter the experience of working in our modern economy. While considering these changes, students learn how to work with diverse others and accomplish shared goals through effective and empathetic communication. Her scholarship interrogates the roles mobile and digital media play in structuring political and social relationships. She has written a book called Virtually Amish: Preserving Community at the Internet’s Margins, which is scheduled for publication by MIT Press in spring of 2022. She has also published research on Twitter use by protesters and social and mobile media use for public health communication among high-risk groups. Among other outlets, Dr. Ems’ research has been published in First Monday, New Media & Society and Media Culture & Society.

Brandy Mmbaga

Faculty Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Lacy School of Business

Assistant Dean for Community Engagement, Lacy School of Business

Dr. Brandy Mmbaga  received her Bachelor’s in Electronic Media Management from MTSU and her Master’s Degree in Education from Belmont University. Her Doctorate is from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Mmbaga is originally from California. She is currently a professional in the education industry where she serves in a few capacities within the college of business. Perhaps the one that she is most passionate about is her role as faculty director for diversity, equity and inclusion as it centers around people and progress- two things that she loves. Dr. Mmbaga’s areas of research include employee use of social media, digital influence on the organization, reputation, social evaluations, strategic communication and organizational behavior, social media, critical/ disruptive events, and receiver phenomenon communication.

Ogbonnaya Omenka

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Assistant Professor of Health Sciences, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Ogbonnaya Omenka is an assistant professor of Health Sciences and the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Butler University. He teaches BSHS 290 – Exploring Public Health and BSHS 350 – Health Disparities. Using mixed methods, his research is at the intersection of social epidemiology and health disparities, with particular attention to the role of social determinants. As an early-career professional, Dr. Omenka recently completed the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Programs to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engaged in Health-Related Research (PRIDE) fellowship, an initiative aimed at increasing diversity in the biomedical research and enabling early career professionals to become independent scientists. His mentorship team comprised leaders in epidemiology, sleep health, biostatistics, cardiovascular health, and neurocognition. His current study is a grant of more than $10,000 from the NIH fellowship and is examining the role of disparities related to psychosocial experiences, such as sleep, in cardiovascular diseases and neurocognitive disorders. In his profession, Dr. Omenka serves as the American Public Health Association’s Chair of the Caucus of Refugee and Immigrant Health, and in the community, he is dedicated to the implementation of science. Mass communication outlets that interview him include NBC, NPR, USA Today, Sky News, BBC, Cheddar News, and Fox.

Derek Reid

Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Jordan College of Arts

Professor of Dance, Jordan College of Arts

Derek Reid began his training at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet in his birthplace, Washington, D.C. He earned his B.F.A in Dance Performance from Butler University in 1987 and his MA in Organizational Leadership and Development from Gonzaga University in 2010. Mr. Reid’s professional dance career, spanned a variety of countries and cultures, including Louisville Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal, Quebec and Ballet Met in Columbus, Ohio. He created leading roles in works by internationally acclaimed choreographers, among them Choo San Goh, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Nacho Duato, James Kudelka, Mark Morris, and Ohad Naharin. His repertoire ranged from the classical to the contemporary and included a fusion of cultural representations.

Mr. Reid began teaching in 1985 with the Northwest Florida Ballet while still performing with various companies. Following a successful and fulfilling professional career, Mr. Reid was named Associate Director of the Fort Wayne Ballet in 2000. In Fort Wayne he taught and led outreach efforts in the Fort Wayne community, working to bring arts experiences to area public schools, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the NAACP. In 2004, Mr. Reid transitioned to higher education, leaving Fort Wayne and joining the faculty at his alma mater, Butler University. As Professor of Dance, Mr. Reid teaches Ballet History, Classical Ballet Technique, Classical and Contemporary Pas de Deux, Choreography, and Black Dance in the American Tradition, a Perspectives in the Creative Arts core curriculum course that explores developments in American culture from its interactions with African and African American arts. Mr. Reid continues to guest teach nationally, recruit dance talent and choreograph original classical and contemporary works for regional companies as well as for Butler Ballet. His strong classical technique background and experience creating and performing contemporary choreography inform his technique and content in teaching. The social events of the world feed the themes of his new choreographic works. Mr. Reid’s passion and love for arts ability to make us think critically combined with his commitment to serving his community have and will continue to guide his efforts in bringing about change as they relate to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access.