Barbee Oakes, Ph. D., Assistant Provost for Diversity and Inclusion
As Assistant Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Oakes was the chief architect of the University’s first strategic plan for diversity and inclusion. She has since created a leadership infrastructure consisting of faculty, staff and students that engages the entire campus community in transforming the institutional culture. Expanding cultural competence education; employing innovative strategies to recruit and retain a diverse faculty, staff, and student constituency; and developing graduate pipeline programs have also been key focus areas for Oakes in her role.
Prior to this appointment, she was the director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Wake Forest University from 1995-2009. Oakes also held professorships at Penn State University, Arizona State University and Wake Forest. She’s authored over thirty publications and research presentations, co-authored five books and became the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in the American College b of Sports Medicine. She has continued her professional involvement in the area of physical fitness by co-authoring seven textbooks since 1995.
Oakes’ professional and civic accomplishments include recognition by Diverse Issues in Higher Education as one of the top 25 “emerging” women in higher education and selection as a senior fellow for Future Focus 2020. She is a member of the St. Peter’s Center for Comprehensive Services board of directors and the WFU Maya Angelou Research Center for Minority Health internal steering committee.
Oakes holds a B.S. and M.A. in exercise science and cardiac rehabilitation from Wake Forest University. She completed doctoral study in exercise physiology and nutrition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
J. Matthew Williams, Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion
As Assistant Director for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Matthew Williams works with the Assistant Provost to deploy the strategic plan for diversity and inclusion across all institutional units. He oversees office administration, communications and marketing for the ODI team.
Williams also helps implement recruitment and retention programs faculty, staff and students of diverse populations; works to engage multicultural alumni and oversees community relations. He is a trained diversity facilitator and works with the Manager of Diversity Education to administer the GateKeepers Workshop Initiative to improve faculty and staff intercultural communication and cultural competence skills.
Prior to his role in ODI, Williams gained expertise in marketing to African American, Latino and Millennial (Ages 35 and under) audiences as a communications specialists for some of the world’s top Fortune 500 companies and non-profits. He has also worked with government agencies and education foundations to raise awareness of issues such as NCAA academic standards, bullying prevention, adolescent literacy, teacher preparation and sustainability.
Matt is a 2009 graduate of Wake Forest University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Minor in Entrepreneurship and the Social Enterprise.
Shayla Herndon-Edmunds, Manager of Diversity Education
Shayla Herndon-Edmunds joined the Office of Diversity & Inclusion as Manager of Diversity Education in March 2012. Prior to her appointment in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Edmunds was the executive assistant to the University’s senior vice president for finance and administration, where she served as a liaison between the division, the campus community and external constituents.
Now as Manager of Diversity Education, Edmunds is responsible for developing and managing programs and initiatives that will elevate faculty competence and scholarship regarding diversity and inclusion; implementing student diversity education programs; enhancing current staff diversity education programming; and expanding all facets of diversity education within the Wake Forest community.
Edmunds received her B.A. degree from George Mason University in 2002. She is a Virginia native and now resides in Winston-Salem with her husband, Curtis and her children, Michael and Madison. Among her many interests and passions are writing, gardening, and cooking. She is also a self-published author, motivational speaker, and certified life coach.
Alta Mauro, M.Ed., Director of Multicultural Affairs
Alta Mauro, the director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, is a native Hoosier, earning both a bachelor’s degree in English Education and a master’s degree in Higher Education/Student Affairs from Indiana University. Her student affairs experience include residence life and judicial affairs, student organization advising, fraternity/sorority engagement, pre-college transition programming, and multicultural affairs.
Alta’s professional interests include: intercultural communication, cultural competence, social justice education, infusing social justice themes across the curriculum, peer education, cultural audit work and strategic planning, access and retention, and campus engagement. In her personal time, Alta enjoys cooking, baking, knitting, shopping, reading, traveling and spending time with friends and family.
Angela Mazaris, Ph.D., Director of LGBTQ Center
Dr. Angela Mazaris holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Her teaching and research focus on LGBTQ history, queer theory, public history, and gender studies, and she taught classes in these areas for Brown’s American Studies department.
At Brown she also served as the first Coordinator of the LGBTQ Resource Center, and as Graduate Proctor at the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center. She was also a member of Brown’s Diversity Advisory Board, where she worked specifically on issues related to first-generation students and social class. While in Providence, she served on the board of the Equity Action Fund, Rhode Island’s fund for LGBTQ initiatives, and volunteered at Youth Pride, Inc.
Before coming to Wake Forest, Dr. Mazaris served as a Presidential Management Fellow at the Internal Revenue Service and the National Park Service, where she developed agency-wide inclusion and diversity initiatives and prepared policy recommendations. At the IRS, Dr. Mazaris was in charge of a special emphasis program for LGBTQ issues – a first for the agency. Dr. Mazaris and her partner have a three-year-old daughter, and are happy to now call Winston-Salem home.