Diversity research

For many of WSU Vancouver's faculty, understanding the role and importance of diversity and multicultural issues is a professional as well as a personal interest. Across the wide range of academic and professional programs found within WSU Vancouver, our faculty are conducting innovative, thought-provoking and important research on diversity and the role it plays in the modern world.

Faculty who wish to have their name added to this list are encouraged to contact Leslie New, Council on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Chair.

Art Blume, Ph.D.
Professor, Psychology

Research: I am an American Indian psychologist whose scholastic work has been at the intersection of Indigenous psychology and health, specifically as it relates to addictive behaviors. In addition, my secondary scholastic interests have been focused on efforts to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion in psychology and the academy

Website: https://labs.wsu.edu/art-blume/

Tanja Burkhard, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Human Development

Research: Dr. Burkhard's work centers equity, diversity and inclusion in education, as well as critical interrogations of immigration, identity, and race.

Marcelo Diversi, Ph.D.
Professor, Human Development; Affiliated Faculty of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Research: My scholarship has focused on examining and deconstructing narratives of Us versus Them that have historically been used to exclude and dominate the Other. The central goal of my scholarship has been to examine and expose the social structures and mechanisms that officially justify exclusionary ideologies, policies, and practices, while also exploring ideas on how to move toward a more inclusive and kinder coexistence in and with the world.

Website: https://labs.wsu.edu/marcelo-diversi/

Laurie A Drapela, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Criminal Justice and Public Affairs

Research: Laurie A. Drapela is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice in the Public Affairs Program at Washington State University Vancouver. Her research interests include offending desistance trajectories among youth and the intersections of mental health, behavioral health, and criminal justice. A co-author of Law and Neurodiversity: Youth with Autism and Juvenile Justice Systems in Canada and the United States (University of British Columbia Press, 2020), she studies how juvenile justice practitioners understand autism among justice-involved youth.

Website: https://labs.wsu.edu/laurie-drapela/

Michael Dunn, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Education

Research: Micheal's research areas of interest are: literacy strategies, intervention programming for struggling writers, general education teachers’ thinking about referral of students for possible special education placement, and the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework for assessment and instruction

Website: https://labs.wsu.edu/dunnmi/

Gisela Ernst-Slavit, Ph.D.
Professor, Education

Research: Prof. Ernst-Slavit's research draws on sociocultural perspectives and centers on understanding second language literacy development, teacher preparation for culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms, and how classroom discourse and practices shape and are shaped by larger educational contexts. She has authored or coauthored over 80 articles and chapters and 11 books, most focused on culturally responsive education for English learners and students from underrepresented and marginalized communities, academic language and literacy.

Steven M. Fountain, Ph.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor, History; Campus Director of Native American Affairs; Co-Director, Collective for Social and Environmental Justice

Research: Dr. Fountain’s research and collaborations with regional Tribes and organizations center on the relationship of Indigenous people and their Natural and Cultural Resources. He also works on K-12 Native American curriculum and digitization.

Website: https://labs.wsu.edu/fountain/

Dene Grigar, Ph.D.
Director and Associate Professor of Creative Media and Digital Culture

Research: Dene Grigar's research focuses on the creation, curation, preservation, and critism of Electronic Literature, specifically building multimedial environments and experiences for live performance, installations, and curated spaces; desktop computer; and mobile media devices.

Website: http://nouspace.net/dene/

Candice Goucher, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita, History

Research: Prof. Goucher is currently the General Editor for the 4-volume reference work, Women Who Changed the World (ABC-CLIO, 2021), a collection of biographical essays on 200 women in ancient and modern world history.

Website: https://labs.wsu.edu/candice-goucher/

Bonnie Hewlett, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita, Anthropology

Research: Bonnie Hewlett has conducted research in Gabon, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and more recently Ethiopia. Her research interests include: bio-cultural contexts of infectious diseases, hunter-gatherers, adolescent development, the health and experiences of Ethiopian orphans, and birthmothers/fathers reasons for relinquishment and abandonment.

Website: https://anthro.vancouver.wsu.edu/people/bonnie-hewlett/

Katrina Leupp, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Sociology

Research: Much of Dr. Leupp’s research considers how gender and gendered parental demands condition the effects of resources, including money, education, and employment, on mental and physical health. Other current projects examine gender, racial and ethnic variation in the contribution of employment and marriage to mental health over the life course, and the health implications of neighborhood police presence for Black mothers.

Websitehttps://labs.wsu.edu/katrina-leupp/

Thabiti Lewis, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, English

Research: Thabiti Lewis's scholarly focus is African American literature of the twentieth century with a concentrated focus on mid-century writers, race, gender studies, and popular culture. A thrust of his research challenges negotiations between feminism, Black Nationalism and the value of the Black Arts Movement. Beyond literature his scholarly focus is cultural studies, popular culture studies and critical race and gender studies, and sports studies.

Website: https://labs.wsu.edu/thabitilewis/

Luz María Gordillo
Associate Professor of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies; Campus Director, Faculty Equity and Outreach

Research: Luz María Gordillo’s current book manuscript Patients, Philanthropists, and Fieldworkers: The Hidden History of Women and Eugenics, examines gender, race, public health, and sexuality, and the tenure of the Eugenics Record Office (ERO), 1906-1939. Gordillo’s project brings science and the humanities together at an unexplored crossroad that has the potential to explore thought-provoking connections of a period that is complex, sensitive, and contentious.

Website: https://labs.wsu.edu/luzmaria-gordillo/

Jessica Masterson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Teaching and Learning

Research: Dr. Masterson researches the multiple, creative, and liberatory ways minoritized youth utilize literacies to resist and transform oppressive, school-based structures. Additionally, she studies the interconnection of literacy and democracy in public schools.

Laurie Mercier, Ph.D.
Professor, History

Research: Prof. Mercier’s research explores the intersections of class, race, gender, and region. She has published books and articles and developed exhibits about labor unions, gender and work, and oral history in the twentieth-century American West. Her current research project compares how workers have negotiated gender boundaries in industrial communities in western Canada and the western U.S.

Website: https://labs.wsu.edu/laurie-mercier/

Sue Peabody, Ph.D.
Professor, History

Research: Dr. Peabody researches the history of slavery, race, the lives of people of color in the French Empire. Her recent book, Madeleine’s Children: Family, Freedom, Secrets & Lies in France’s Indian Ocean Empire, has won three book prizes, and forms the basis of a museum exhibit and two documentary films.

Website: https://labs.wsu.edu/sue-peabody/

Tahira Probst, Ph.D.
Professor, Psychology

Research: Dr. Probst directs the Coalition for Healthy and Equitable Workplaces (CHEW) lab, where she and her students investigate how occupational health, safety and well-being may differ among vulnerable populations. Research topics include: economic stressors (such as job insecurity and financial strain), work-family conflict, stereotype threat due to pregnancy and family obligations, workplace health and safety among LGBTQ+ employees, as well as antecedents and outcomes of inclusive workplace climates.

Website: https://labs.wsu.edu/chew/

Shameem Rakha, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Education

Research: Dr. Rakha's research centers on equity, and in particular, racial equity. She researches ways of engaging future teachers in equity work within schools. She is a member of the Building a Community of Equity Committee where I design and implement workshops on a variety of equity issues for campus faculty and staff. I also teach educators and community organizers how to work in ways that are anti-racist.

Katherine Rodela, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Educational Leadership

Research: As a third-generation Mexican American and first-generation college student, Dr. Rodela is a community-engaged scholar whose research focuses on leadership for educational justice and diversity, with particular emphasis on equity-oreiented school and district leadership and Latinx parental leadership and community organizing in education. She has published in several peer-review journals such as Education Admistration Quarterly, Teachers College Record, and the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, among others.

Praveen K Sekhar, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, English

Research: Professor Sekhar is passionate about training the next generation of STEM workforce with emphasis on underserved students of color. I frequently engage in educational and pedagogical activities to impact K-12 and college bound students. I look forward to collaboration on broadening participation in engineering

Website: https://labs.wsu.edu/praveen-sekhar/outreach/

Carol Siegel, Ph.D.
Professor, English

Research: Carol Siegel's research centers on intersections of sexuality, gender construction, and racialization. Her primary interests are film and Victorian and Modernist literature.

Website: https://labs.wsu.edu/carol-siegel/

Deepti Singh, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, School of the Environment

Research: The impacts of human-caused climate change on extreme weather events that affect vulnerable communities in the U.S. and around the world.

Website: https://deeptis47.github.io/

David Slavit, Ph.D.
Professor, Mathematics Education; Coordinator, Middle Level Mathematics Endorsement Education Unit (Teaching & Learning) and Arts and Sciences (Department of Mathematics)

Reseach: Dr. Slavit’s research addresses the nature of student thinking in STEM-rich learning environments. His particular focus is on environments that are “inclusive,” defined as representing the demographics of the immediate region, and on those students who are traditionally underserved in regard to STEM learning opportunities.

Website: https://labs.wsu.edu/david-slavit/

Elizabeth Soliday, Ph.D.
Professor, Human Development

Research: Equity in access to safe and satisfactory maternal care; Complementary treatments in maternal care; qualitative research approaches.

Website: https://hd.wsu.edu/people/people-profiles/?nid=esoliday