SSA Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity Committee

Mission and Values

The role of the SSA Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity Committee (IED) is to develop, guide, and advance initiatives that build and strengthen the educational, organizational, and institutional climate of SSA with respect to inclusion, equity, and diversity. The IED committee’s mission and values involve a commitment to:

  • Transparency and open communication
  • Inclusivity with representation in decision-making and governance
  • Accountability through feedback loops and systems of checks and balances
  • Community building as a model for governance
  • Engagement and interconnectedness
  • Accessibility

Goals

Utilizing the Task Force for Radical Transformation (TFRT) report as a guiding framework, the IED Committee is guided by the following goals:

  1. Identify opportunities around school programming and activities to promote and provide advising and guidance on recommendations related to:
    1. Creating an inclusive climate at SSA
    2. Developing diversity and inclusion content in the SSA curriculum
    3. The development of pedagogical skill development and supports pertaining to diversity and inclusion in the educational program at SSA
    4. Recruitment, admission, and enrollment of a diverse student body at SSA
    5. Recruitment and retention of a diverse cadre of tenure-track and non-tenure-track instructors at SSA
    6. Recruitment and retention of a diverse professional and support staff at SSA
    7. SSA alumni engagement
  2. Engage in opportunities for cross-departmental collaboration with other schools of study across the University engaged in initiatives related to inclusion, equity, and diversity
  3. Support training of faculty, staff, and students that facilitates a welcoming climate for all at SSA. 

Committee 

The IED Committee is comprised of students, staff and faculty. Staff and faculty are appointed to one-year terms by the Dean of SSA. Student representatives apply to serve a one-year term; student applications are reviewed by all committee members, who collectively vote on student representatives.

2019-2020 Members

Esther Franco-PayneEsther Franco-Payne, AM ’99

(She/ Her/ Hers)

Alumni Representative

Esther Franco-Payne is the Executive Director of Cabrini Green Legal Aid, where she leads the strategy, fundraising, and overall management of the organization. With a long career in violence prevention and criminal justice advocacy, Esther’s personal commitment has been to serve as a voice for underserved communities of color. Growing up on Chicago’s South Side, she understands the issues that permeate communities impacted by crime, poverty, and disinvestment. Through her work with CGLA, Esther aims to spread CGLA’s impact through Chicago, Cook County, and the State of Illinois. She is a long-time advocate who has engaged the public in the development of effective criminal justice and juvenile justice policies and continues to educate the community about issues related to exposure to trauma, violence prevention, and criminal justice reform.

Ms. Franco-Payne is an alumnus of the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. She is a member of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, the federally mandated State Advisory Group to the Governor, the General Assembly and the Illinois Department of Human Services. She is also Chairperson of the DMC Committee, focused on eliminating racial disparities in the juvenile justice system.

She was a member of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s Violence Intervention and Prevention Research Advisory Council and was recently appointed by President Preckwinkle as chairperson of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) Community Advisory Board. Before the creation of the Illinois Justice Project, Ms. Franco-Payne worked for Chicago Metropolis 2020 and Metropolis Strategies where she was a staff member with the Justice and Violence Group, the predecessor to the Illinois Justice Project. Her previous employers include the Illinois Center for Violence Prevention and the Circuit Court of Cook County Family Violence Coordinating Council.

 

Sara FurrSara Furr

(She/ Her/ Hers)

Dean of Students, Staff Chair

I am the Dean of Students, Diversity and Inclusion at SSA and as a multiracial, Asian American, woman from a family of immigrants I have always been keenly aware of my identities and the way they intersect and interact within systems of privilege and oppression. I have been involved with diversity, equity, and inclusion work in higher education for over 15 years and I truly believe we must “be the change we wish to see in the world” (Ghandi) and “justice is what love looks like in public” (Cornell West).

 

Armando GArmando Garcia

(He/Him and They/Them)

Part-Time Day Student Representative

I am in the second year of the three-year Part-Time Day program at SSA. I was originally born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico to a fierce single mother who serves as my inspiration for perseverance, integrity, and justice. We emigrated when I was three to Chicago, IL, and I have spent most of my life here. I am a proud 1.5 generation Mexican-American, queer, older sibling to two sisters, a devoted tío to my beautiful eight-month old niece, and I stan for Kelly Clarkson (*Ahh, Kelly Clarkson!*). Currently, I work in the HIV field, where I provide direct services to LGBTQ, racial/ethnic minorities, and other groups disproportionately burdened by HIV. I take an LGBTQ-affirming, antiracist, and sex-positive approach to clinical practice, and I fiercelessly advocate on behalf/alongside my clients to address health inequities to best of my ability. This is my second year on the IE&D Committee, and I choose to continue this work to advance holistic access to academia (e.g., infrastructural accessibility, economic accessibility, language accessibility, access to gender-neutral bathrooms, etc.). I do so because it matters.

“Deslenguadas. Somos las del español deficiente. We are your linguistic nightmare, your linguistic aberration, your linguistic mestisaje, the subject of your burla. Because we speak with tongues of fire we are culturally crucified. Racially, culturally and linguistically somos huérfanos — we speak an orphan tongue.” Gloria Anzaldúa

 

Jess JanJess Jankowski

(They/ Them/ Theirs)

Second Year, Full Time Student Representative

Jess is a second year SSA student with an interest in serving older adults and people with disabilities. They joined the Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity committee to advocate for disability justice at SSA.

“Nothing about us without us”

 

 

Mel LamagnaMel Lamagna, AM ’03, LCSW

(He/ Him/ His)

Associate Director of Field Education, Staff Representative

Mel is a Filipino-American School of Social Service Administration alumnus from 2003 and he joined the Committee as a lifelong advocate for equal rights and opportunity for all human beings. His social work career began in Child Welfare working in Foster Care, Adoptions, and Licensing. Mel entered the field of healthcare post-masters, first as a Behavioral Health Therapist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and then at La Rabida Children’s Hospital and Research Center. Prior to SSA, Mel worked 13+ years at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago as Manager of the Social Work Department where he provided oversight and supervision and developed Lurie’s social work field education program for graduate level interns. Mel has been a guest speaker for several field seminars and Social Work in Healthcare courses at SSA. He is also an avid tennis player, musician, and lives in the Rogers Park neighborhood with his wife and two children.

 

Frania MLFrania Mendoza Lua

(She/ Her/ Hers)

PhD Student Representative

I am a second year PhD student at SSA from Santa Ana, California. I am the eldest daughter of Mexican immigrants from Jaripo, Michoacan. My first research experiences stem from previous IED boards at the NIH and at UCLA that believed that diversity was important in research. Thus, I feel that it is my responsibility as a recipient of previous fights for equity and inclusion to continue that legacy, and believe this board continues such efforts.

“We can desire to be critically conscious and desire the new Jordan’s, even if those desires are conflicting.” Dr. Eve Tuck

 

Zhiying MaZhiying Ma

(She/ Her/ Hers)

Assistant Professor, Faculty Representative

I am an Assistant Professor at SSA. I joined the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Committee because of my passion in disability rights and justice. My scholarly and advocacy work concerns the lives and rights of people with psychosocial and other disabilities in China and globally. Personally, I identify as a person with disability and grew up in a family that was heavily impacted by disabilities and chronic illnesses. As an Asian woman born outside of the United States, I am also mindful of how disability intersects with other identities and am eager to work with other marginalized groups as well.

“Love is never innocent…love is relentlessly particular, specific, contingent, historically various, and resistant to anyone having the last word.” Donna Haraway

 

Curtis McMCurtis McMillen

(He/ His/ Him)

David and Mary Winton Green Professor, Ex Officio, Faculty and Deputy Dean of Curriculum

I serve as an ex-officio member of the Committee as a result of my position as Deputy Dean for Curriculum at SSA. I have been actively working with the IED Committee and the Curriculum Policy Committee on a new strategic plan for a curriculum that better dismantles racism and oppression. As a social worker, I have worked across the spectrum of care of young people who are not living with their parents or relatives. I have conducted research on how to improve the foster care system, how social services can better use data to improve their services, and how to help people reduce the intensity and duration of emotional episodes. I identify as a gay man, as someone living a sober life, and a square dancer. My hobbies include photography, writing, and, starting this spring, as a keeper of bees.

 

Aisha NasAisha Naseem

(A/ They/ Them/ Theirs)

Student Chair

I am a second year Social Administration student studying the reproduction of trauma and inequity in administrative environments. I am a proud first generation American, Queer Muslim, artist, third generation grassroots organizer, and plant Dad. I joined the Committee because I care about changing the ways the UChicago administration interacts, communicates, and builds relationships with the graduate student community.

“They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds”Mexican Proverb

 

KRSKristen Reid Salomon (aka KRS)

(She/ Her/ Hers)

Assistant Dean of Students, Staff Representative

I am currently the Assistant Dean of Students and been at SSA for the last 3 years. I identify as a Black woman from the South Side of Chicago (shout out to Roseland). I attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for undergrad, Loyola University Chicago for graduate school, and have about 15 years of experience in higher education. I am a cancer sun/virgo moon/libra rising, lover of all things Beyoncé and Hogwarts, and am proudly raising two amazing kids with my husband.

 I joined this committee because I deeply care about inclusion, equity, and diversity work, both because of the identities I hold and also because I know how much this work can positively impact the community and climate at SSA. I have a long history of being involved in social justice efforts in every community I have been a part of, and am honored to continue my engagement and contribution here at SSA.

  “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” ― Barack Obama

 

S SimmonsS. Simmons

(He/ Him/ His/ S/ They/ Them/ Theirs)

Assistant Instructional Professor, Faculty Chair

Black, trans*genderqueer, educator, advocate, spouse, friend, and Beyoncé fan all describe me. I am an assistant instructional professor at SSA teaching courses that encourage students to engage in deep critical reflection and build awareness and skills toward critical consciousness. I joined the committee because I am invested in issues of equity centering gender, race, and sexuality and wanted to engage these at an organizational level.

“As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.” ― Toni Morrison

 

Prisca TPrisca Tuyishime

(She/ Her/ Hers)

First Year, Full Time Student Representative

I am a first year SSA student. I intend to do work that advocates for culturally integrated global mental health care practices in non-western nations that experienced historical genocidal conflicts. I was born in Nyamabuye, Rwanda but raised in Tanzania and Zambia. I moved to the U.S. in 2005 and have lived in Chicago’s west suburbs for the past 16 years, prior to moving to Chicago these past two years. In my spare time, I love to bake, read, run, and dabbling in arts and craft projects. My greatest accomplishment was running the 2018 Chicago marathon under four hours and completing my VISTA AmeriCorps program this July 2019. Concerns with diversity, equity, and inclusion have been central to my learning throughout my undergraduate career. I joined the Inclusion, Equity and Diversity Committee to continue being a voice for marginalized people and address the presence of ethnic and racial inequities.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” Maya Angelou

 

SaCora WSaCora Williams

(She/ Her/ Hers)

Advanced Standing Student Representative

I am an Advanced Standing student at SSA studying clinical social work with a focus on trauma responsive practice. I am a Black queer femme dedicated to achieving social justice for queer and trans folks of color. I joined this committee because it is the manifestation of the years of work towards social justice done by past SSA staff, faculty, and students. It is my goal to continue in their efforts to address the needs for access and equity across the university and our SSA community.

A quote that speaks to me is, The African Philosophy of Ubuntu, “I am because we are.”

2018 – 2019 Members

Associate Professor Alida Bouris (Co-Chair, Faculty)
Assistant Professor Marci Ybarra (Co-Chair, Faculty)
Associate Professor Yoonsun Choi  (Faculty)
Assistant Professor Eve Ewing (Faculty)
Assistant Professor Angela García (Faculty)
Emily Klein Gidwitz Professor Deborah Gorman-Smith (Ex Officio, Dean)
David and Mary Winton Green Professor Curtis McMillen (Ex Officio, Faculty and Deputy Dean of Curriculum)
Sarah Morgan (Ex Officio, Extended Evening Program Coordinator)
Kristen Reid-Salomon (Ex Officio, Assistant Dean of Students)
Ashley Jackson, AM '11, Alumni Representative
Ximena Escalante (EEP student representative)
Armando García (Part-time day student representative)
Mina Lee (PhD student representative)
Bex Leon (Advanced Standing student representative)
Aisha Naseem (1st year day student representative)
Alicia Ozier (2nd year day student representative)

2017 – 2018 Members

Cindy Agustín Peña, Second Year AM Program Student Representative
Jennifer Bealer, Extended Evening Program AM Student Representative
Alida Bouris, Co-Chair, Faculty
Asia Bowman, Extended Evening Program AM Student Representative
Gina Fedock, Faculty
Angela Garcia, Faculty
Ashley Jackson, Alumni Representative
Bharathi Jayaram, Ex Officio, Associate Director of Field Education
Waldo E. Johnson, Jr., Faculty
Marion Malcome, PhD Student Representative
Curtis McMillen, Ex Officio, Faculty and Deputy Dean of Curriculum
Alejandro Monroy Velez, Dean of Students Office
Nerissa Osby, Dean of Students Office
Deborah Ragbir, Second Year AM Student Representative
Kristen Reid-Salomon, Ex Officio, Assistant Dean of Students
Kirstin Williams, First Year AM Program Student Representative
Marci Ybarra, Co-Chair, Faculty