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Institutes + Centers

Center for Diversity and Inclusion



The Center of Diversity and Inclusion advances the institutional mission of graduating socially responsible practitioners by delivering quality programs, trainings, services and resources that support the success of all community members on Adler University’s three campuses. We also critically review existing policies to assess for equity and inclusion and develop new policies to create a more inclusive environment.

Our work addresses fundamental areas of Inclusive Excellence – access and success, institutional climate and intergroup relations, education and scholarship, institutional infrastructure and community engagement. In collaboration with administrators, faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners, we strive to integrate the Inclusive Excellence framework into the fabric of the University.

Areas of Focus

Areas of Focus

Consultation and Advising

Confidential consultations and advisement are available for faculty, staff, students and other University affiliates. Our services cover a wide range of topics, including transforming curricula, enhancing diversity recruitment efforts, managing difficult/sensitive conversations with colleagues and students and sustaining inclusive classroom practices. We also facilitate dialogues among individuals and small groups and support departments with developing diversity and inclusion plans for their respective areas.

Research and Data Analysis

In collaboration with the Offices of People and Culture and Institutional Research, we analyze data on the recruitment, success, and retention of Adler’s historically underrepresented students, faculty, and staff to develop appropriate action plans. Additionally, we research best practices on a range of topics and provide individuals and departments recommendations based on the current literature. Bi-annually, we launch a diversity climate survey for faculty, staff, students, and administrators to ensure we are making progress towards our goals.

Workshops and Training

We coordinate the selection of scholars and experts to address a range of topics, such as implicit bias and managing difficult conversations in the classroom. We also provide internal training sessions, such as Safe Space (focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer populations), Inclusive Language, Principles of Inclusive Pedagogy, and Generational Diversity. Upon request, we design customized presentations to meet unique departmental needs.


We deliver programs that bring an increased awareness of equity, diversity and inclusion and/or events that represent underserved communities, often in collaboration with our Campus Diversity Committees. Our programming promotes a learning community that values varied ideas and experiences that reinforce pluralism, one of Adler’s institutional values.


We offer a range of resources to support Adler community members. Examples include an Inclusive Pedagogy website, a flowchart that identifies where to report incidents (e.g., biased incidents, discrimination, sexual assault, etc.) and diversity recruitment and hiring materials. Our office also maintains, a website that lists LGBTQIA+ resources for faculty, students, staff and the greater Chicagoland area.


The Center regularly works with the University’s Diversity Committee, student, academic, and student affairs leaders to design, develop, facilitate, and assess programs and resources.

Programs and Fellowships

Programs and Fellowships

Diversity Scholars Program

The Diversity Scholars Program provides an opportunity for undergraduate students from underrepresented/underserved backgrounds to learn more about graduate study in psychology at Adler University. It is designed to increase diversity among graduate students in various areas of psychology.

More specifically, this program is designed to:

  • Preview graduate-level courses in psychology
  • Share information regarding success strategies for completing graduate programs
  • Offer practical tips regarding selecting and applying to graduate programs
  • Expose participants to prominent faculty and administrators from diverse backgrounds
  • Establish authentic and lasting relationships through ongoing mentorship
  • Explore the intersections of psychology and social justice

Program Funding

Students who attend the Diversity Scholars Program that decide to apply to Adler University, will receive an application fee waiver. Additionally, those that are accepted into one of Adler University’s academic programs will also receive a Diversity Scholars Scholarship that provides a 50% tuition waiver! Please note, participants must attend and participate for the entire time of the program to qualify for any scholarship opportunities.

Eligibility Requirements

Students must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Identify as a member of an underrepresented population (i.e., student of color, low income, first generation students, LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, etc.)
  • Current classification as a junior or senior in college (minimum of 45 completed credits)
  • Genuine interest in the field of psychology
  • Strong commitment to social justice

Application Process

Please submit the following application materials:

  • A completed application form, signed and dated
  • An updated copy of your resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Recommendation – Please provide one letter of recommendation from an individual who can speak about your academic potential.
  • Essay – Please submit a statement (500 words maximum) describing your future career goals and commitment to working with underrepresented populations.
  • A copy of your Official Transcripts.

Students must submit all application materials by Friday, September 10, 2021 to [email protected]. Please feel free to email us with any further questions about the program.

Diversity Leadership Program

The Diversity Leadership Program (DLP) at Adler is sponsored by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion to provide opportunities for Psy.D.-level students of color to find community, develop a sense of belonging and receive academic support, resources, and advisement. 

For more information about D.L.P please contact [email protected] with subject line Diversity Leadership Program Information request 

Lead with Excellence and Diversity Program

The Leading with Excellence, Achievement, and Diversity (LEAD) program at Adler is sponsored by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion to provide opportunities for Master’s level students of color to find community, develop a sense of belonging and receive academic support, resources, and advisement. 

For more information about L.E.A.D please contact [email protected] with subject line LEAD Program Information request. 

Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Fellowship


The DFI Fellowship Program’s goal is to increase the number of minoritized full-time tenure track faculty and staff at colleges and universities in Illinois. 

Eligibility Requirements: 


Applicants must be admitted to a Master’s or Doctoral program at Adler at the time of application. If awarded, the applicant must enroll as a full-time student (12 hours). DFI Fellowship Program Applications must be submitted to [email protected] 

The 2022-2023 application should be available in January 2022. Be on the lookout for a message from our Center.  

Illinois Residency 

To be classified as an Illinois resident, an applicant must have received a baccalaureate degree from an accredited educational institution in Illinois or received a baccalaureate degree from an accredited educational institution outside of Illinois and has lived in Illinois for a period of at least three years prior to applying for a grant. 

Underrepresented Groups 

African American, Hispanic American, Native American, Asian American, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. “Traditionally underrepresented minority group” means any of the minority groups designated in the Act which are represented in Illinois post-baccalaureate enrollment at a percentage rate less than the percentage of the minority group’s representation in the total Illinois population. The Illinois Board of Higher Education shall determine annually which groups are underrepresented based upon census data and annual graduate enrollment reports from Illinois institutions of higher education. 

Academic Ability 

  • Applicants must possess above-average academic ability as evidenced by: 
  • An earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning;
    A minimum grade point average of 2.75 (scale 4.0 = A) in the last sixty hours of undergraduate work or over a 3.2 (scale 4.0 = A) in at least 9 hours of graduate study; 
  • Unconditional admission to a master’s or doctoral degree program at Adler 

Academic Pursuit 

Applicants in all academic disciplines are eligible. Applicants must be pursuing a doctorate or master’s degree. Applicants must plan on pursuing a career in teaching or administration at an Illinois post-secondary institution or Illinois higher education governing board. 

Financial Need 

Applicants must demonstrate financial need.  Applicants must have a financial need of at least $10,000 for eligibility.  Please complete the Federal Applications for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) must be filed each year to maintain eligibility. Information regarding the student’s Total Direct Expenses minus the Expected Family Contribution [EFC] determines financial need [Need].  

Terms of the Award 

Upon graduation or separation from the DFI institution, an award recipient must agree to actively seek and accept when offered a teaching or non-teaching full-time appointment at an Illinois post-secondary educational institution or accept a position as an employee of this state in an administrative, educational-related position equal to the number of years for which he or she receives the DFI fellowship. Students failing to fulfill this condition of the award shall be required to repay 20 percent of their cumulative award amount, subject to revision by the DFI Program Board. 

The DFI Award is available for a maximum of four years: 

Doctorate Degree – Four (4) Years
Master Degree – Two (2) Years
Master’s degree holders funded through DFI are eligible to apply for additional years of support for doctoral study; total DFI funding is not to exceed four years 


DFI Fellowship Program Institutional Representative, Melissa Moore, [email protected]  

In addition to the programs listed here, we can also customize programs on a needs basis.

Inclusive Pedagogy

Inclusive Pedagogy

Adler University promotes the development and maintenance of inclusive, socially just pedagogy as part of its commitment to graduating socially responsible practitioners. To this end, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion offers numerous opportunities and resources for learning, practicing, and gaining feedback on inclusive pedagogy.  

Workshops, teaching circles, and other training for faculty are developed to meet faculty members’, departmental, academic program, and campus goals. Resources – such as the Inclusive Pedagogy Website – are collaboratively created with partners like Disabilities Services and the Library to provide self-paced guidance and ready to access suggestions for inclusive teaching practice. 

The Director for Inclusive Teaching Excellence, Cheryl Richardson, also provides observations, conversations, and consultations on inclusive, antiracist, and/or social justice teaching, creating a welcoming syllabus, equitably engaging and assessing students, universal design for learning, and other teaching concerns. 

What is inclusive, socially just framework for teaching? 

Teaching inclusively means embracing student diversity as an asset to student learning and designing and teaching courses in ways that foster talent in all students. 

Adler University’s mandate to nurture socially responsible practitioners means that fostering talent in all students adds an orientation towards social justice. Inclusive, socially just teaching therefore builds on our understanding of inclusive teaching because it requires a recognition of socially oppressive barriers and a commitment to dismantling them. 

 An inclusive, socially just educator thus understands how learning works and the fundamentals of their discipline, embraces diversity, designs courses that address the needs of students who are historically and continuously marginalized in higher education, actively challenges the processes and structures of oppression that have shaped our institutions of learning, and prepares students to challenge these systems in the world. 

Educators aim to correct historical and contemporary inequality in educational practices by destabilizing power, bias, and privilege in the classroom. They intentionally create structures that integrate marginalized experiences and knowledge and interrogate inequality with students. Both educator and students act as equal agents of social change. 

Why is this kind of teaching important? 

Inclusive, socially just teaching responds to moral, civil, and learning imperatives. 

It is morally justified to work to eradicate educational structures and processes that reified hierarchies of human value. Higher education normalizes white, cis-male, heterosexist, middle and upper class, ableist ways of being in its approaches to student engagement, assessment of learning, and evaluation of knowledge claims. Inclusive teaching with a social justice lens works against this tendency. 

Our civil society and classrooms are composed of various groups of people who once had no voice in our democracy or status in our schools. Current students are more racially, ethnically, and gender diverse and have more diagnosed disabilities than ever before, and they deserve adequate engagement and excellent opportunities to learn. Inclusive teaching embraces this diversity and uses it to help student thrive. 

Intentional inclusion improves learning by improving students’ sense of belonging as well as increasing innovative thinking and cognitive complexity. 

What does inclusive, socially just teaching at Adler University look like? 

Our educators cultivate a respectful classroom climate that engages student diversity, challenges problems, and dismantles known barriers to student learning. Our faculty regularly: 

  • Practice self-awareness, humility, and ongoing reflection;
  •  Carefully apply inclusive teaching tenets; 
  • Actively seek opportunities for increased accessibility; 
  • Create intentional interactions that are informed by the requirements of social justice pedagogy; 
  • Effectively assess student learning and the classroom environment 
Contact Us

Contact Us

Kyra Lobbins, M.B.A. – Chief of Staff / Interim Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion 

[email protected]  

Cheryl Richardson, Ph.D. – Director for Inclusive Teaching Excellence 

[email protected]  

Melissa Moore, M.S. Ed. – Program Manager 

[email protected]  

Felicia Elliott – Executive Assistant  

[email protected] 


Interested in being a student worker for the Center?  Email [email protected] for more information. 

Make a Gift

Make a Gift

Support our mission to graduate socially responsible practitioners by delivering quality programs, trainings, services and resources that facilitate the success of all community members on Adler University’s three campuses.


Join us for the many Black History Month events happening virtually across our campuses.

Previously sponsored events can also be viewed below.

Part I: What’s Missing? The Impact Of Covid-19 On Chicago’s Black Communities  

  • Dr. Nataka Moore, Adler Full Professor in PsyD Program
  • Dr. Crystal Glover, Assistant Professor and Leader of Outreach, Recruitment and Engagement with Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center

Moderated by Dr. Monica Boyd-Layne, the first part of this series will explore health disparities and social determinants of health. We will discuss issues related to how COVID-19 has impacted Chicago’s Black communities, how to acknowledge community pain, and ways to engage in advocacy during this pandemic.

Part II: What’s Missing?  The Impact Of Covid-19 On Chicago’s Black Communities

  • Dr. Janna Henning, Adler PsyD Faculty and Fellow in Thanatology, Coordinator of Traumatic Stress Psychology Concentration
  • Dr. Cadmona Hall, Adler Associate Professor MFT Program, Fellow in Thanatology

Moderated by Dr. Lauren Melamed, the second part of this series will focus on actionable steps for practitioners. We will discuss ways we can support those working and/or living in communities that continue to experience grief and trauma.

Explore More

Adler University Announces New Center for Diversity and Inclusion

Adler University is expanding its Office for Diversity and Inclusion with additional staffing and resources to form the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. The Center will lead efforts to create an equitable, diverse, and inclusive community that supports the success of students, faculty, and staff across campuses.

Learn More

Vancouver Campus Welcomes First Elder-in-Residence

In February, the Adler University Vancouver Campus, with support from the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, began an Elder-in-Residence program as part of an initiative to build connections and increase education and awareness of the experiences of First Nations communities.

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Black Author Series Elevates Black Voices and Promotes Discussions on Equity and Inclusion

The Adler University Center for Diversity and Inclusion recently launched the Chicago Campus Black Author Series to elevate Black voices and bring community members together across lines of difference to discuss diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.

Learn More