Three diversity and inclusion VP candidates to visit campus

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Three final candidates for the position of Western Michigan University's vice president for diversity and inclusion will be on the campus Wednesday through Friday, June 20-22.

Each candidate will spend two days touring the campus and community, and meeting with a variety of University leaders, students and community members. In addition, all of the candidates will make a public presentation and address audience questions. Their public presentations will be live-streamed and available for later review.

The three final candidates and the dates they will be on the campus are:

  • Dr. Candy S. McCorkle, director of diversity and inclusion at Alma College, Wednesday and Thursday, June 20-21. Her public presentation is set for 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 20, in the Fetzer Center's Putney Auditorium.
  • Dr. Carmen Suarez, special assistant to the president for diversity, equity and inclusion at Portland State University, Wednesday and Thursday, June 20-21. Her public presentation is set for 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, in the Fetzer Center's Putney Auditorium.
  • Dr. Donna M. Talbot, professor and chair of the Department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology at WMU, Thursday and Friday, June 21-22. Her public presentation is set for 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, June 21, in the Fetzer Center's Putney Auditorium.

Candy S. McCorkle

McCorkle has been director of diversity and inclusion at Alma since 2016. In that role, she develops and implements programming to promote diversity and inclusion on campus, facilitates diversity education for faculty, staff and students, collaborates with the administration on creating policies and practices that foster inclusiveness, and collaborates with inner-city high schools in Detroit to assist students in gaining access to higher education. She also manages her college's King Chavez Parks Mentor Program Grant, coordinates the Campbell Scholars program, and serves as an advocate for students who report experiencing disenfranchised or discrimination on campus.

Previously, McCorkle worked at Jackson College as an adjunct administrator then as assistant dean of the honors college; at Central Michigan University as director of the Global Campus Counseling Program in the Department of Counseling and Special Education; and Spring Arbor University as director of the Masters of Arts in counseling. She has been an assistant professor of counseling and special education at CMU and an associate professor of psychology at SAU, as well as a substance abuse prevention consultant in Battle Creek and substance abuse therapist in Jackson.

McCorkle earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Wright State University, a master's degree in clinical psychology from Eastern Michigan University and a doctoral degree in counselor education and supervision from WMU. She is a limited license psychologist in Michigan.

Carmen Suarez

Suarez has been a special assistant to the president for diversity, equity and inclusion at PSU since 2015. In that role, she is responsible for facilitating the achievement of the institutional strategic plan diversity goals; providing guidance and support for retaining a diverse faculty, staff and student body; and developing strategies to inculcate an inclusive university purpose, culture and climate. She also works to continue PSU's attendant cultural competence emphasis and oversees compliance officers associated with Title IX, Americans with Disabilities Act, affirmative action and equal employment opportunity laws and principles.

Previously, Suarez worked at the University of Idaho, first as director of human rights access and inclusion and then as chief diversity officer and associate vice provost for student affairs. She served for several years at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in such roles as director of the Office of Diversity and Equity, interim assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management, and assistant dean of career services in the School of Law. Her background also includes work with the Hispanic community, such as Hispanic community liaison at John A. Logan College, where she also served a stint as affirmative action officer; director of the Office of Hispanic Educational Development at the Illinois Institute of Technology; and an administrator with Illinois Migrant Council.

Suarez earned three degrees from SIU Carbondale: a bachelor's degree in history, master's degree in medieval history and a doctoral degree.

Donna M. Talbot

Talbot has been serving as chair of the Department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology since 2012. In that role, she oversees a graduate intensive department that offers a variety of degree programs at the master's, specialist and doctoral levels. Her numerous diversity and inclusion activities have included facilitating the development of the first WMU doctoral program delivered internationally, co-facilitating the training and kick-off for the WMU Everyone Counts Diversity Learning Communities, and teaching graduate-level courses on specific diversity topics.

In 1992, Talbot came to WMU as a faculty member in the Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology. She has been with her current department since 2007. Her background includes positions as assistant director of counseling services and coordinator of multicultural affairs in the Dickinson College Counseling Center and as an HIV counselor at the Whitman-Walker Clinic in Washington, D.C. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana, West Africa, from July 1981 to December 1982 and has been an independent consultant in Kalamazoo since 1985, providing programming on topics such as communication, multiculturalism, enhancing and embracing diversity, recognizing and reducing oppression, and leadership development.

Talbot earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Amherst College, master's degree in special education from Lesley College, specialist degree in counselor education from the University of Florida and doctoral degree in college student personnel administration from the University of Maryland at College Park. She is a nationally certified counselor as well as a certified professional counselor in Michigan.

Additional information

The successful candidate for vice president for diversity and inclusion will lead WMU's institutional efforts related to implementing a comprehensive strategic plan for advancing diversity, inclusion and equity. The position reports to WMU's president and is part of the senior leadership team.

To learn more about the position and candidates, visit the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Search site. Feedback will be collected on that site through an online survey that will go live Friday, June 15.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.