Roger L. Worthington, Ph.D.
Executive Director | pronouns: he/him/his
Roger L. Worthington is the founder and executive director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education, professor in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education, where he served as department chair from 2014 to 2017. He is the immediate past editor of the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. He served as the Interim Associate Provost and Chief Diversity Officer at UMD (2017-2018) in the wake of the murder of Second Lt. Richard Collins, III. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association with scholarship focused on diversity in higher education, multicultural counseling competencies, sexual identity development, and difficult dialogues teaching and learning.
Dr. Worthington was a founding member of the board of directors for the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE; 2006-2011), and he co-authored the NADOHE Standards of Professional Practice for CDOs (2014; with Christine Stanley and William Lewis). He was the recipient of three prestigious grants from the Ford Foundation Difficult Dialogues Initiative (2006-2011). He was also the founding chair of the board of directors for the Difficult Dialogues National Resource Center.
Prior to arriving at UMD, he was a professor at the University of Missouri (1997-2014) with a joint appointment in the Department of Educational, School and Counseling Psychology and the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. He also served as the Assistant Deputy Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Missouri (2006-2011). His first faculty appointment was at Boston College (1994-1997).
Dr. Worthington was a licensed psychologist in Missouri (1999-2015) and he has taught courses to undergraduate and graduate students on ethics and law for professional psychology, counseling and interpersonal skills, research design, measurement, multicultural counseling, and difficult dialogues teaching and learning. He is a nationally recognized scholar and higher education consultant on issues of diversity in counseling and education. He has won numerous awards for academic, service, and teaching excellence. He received his doctorate in counseling psychology in 1995 from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Coordinator | pronouns: she/her/hers
Elaine Henry is currently a Coordinator in the Counseling, Higher Education, & Special Education Department in the College of Education (COE) at the University of Maryland, College Park. She has played an integral role as a dedicated staff member of the COE for the past 29 years—demonstrating an expertise in administrative tasks and business duties pertaining to programmatic planning and logistics.
Ms. Henry has engaged in managing the operations and functions of previous research centers within the College of Education, such as the Science Teaching Center, which has since been reorganized within the Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership (TLPL) STEM program. During her tenure with the COE, she worked with the International Clearinghouse for the Advancement of Science in coordinating bi-weekly colloquiums and summer institutes that brought together teachers from all around the world connecting and sharing educational practices. Furthermore, Ms. Henry has implemented million-dollar grants for research projects and educational initiatives related to science education, while also creating data deliverables for research articles and academic journals.
Currently, Ms. Henry is providing CDIHE with critical support and coordination of initiatives aiding in the establishment of the Center in its inaugural year. Overall, she enjoys working with faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and students in strategizing, visioning, and implementing the administrative processes that are needed to sustain the many research projects and resources that the COE contributes to the greater academic community.
Branden D. Elmore, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Associate| pronouns: he/him/his
Branden D. Elmore, Ph.D. is a 2020 alumnus of The Pennsylvania State University, Higher Education program. He is a graduate of Fayetteville State University where he obtained a B.A. in Communication with a Certificate in Professional Writing, as well as a M.A. in Communication Studies from University of Cincinnati. In 2015 Branden was named one of the inaugural National Black Justice Coalition’s “100 Emerging Black LGBT Leaders.” Additionally, in 2017 Branden presented his research titled “Administrative Responses to Campus Racial Crises at PWIs” at the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Conference, where he was awarded the African American Knowledge Community (AAKC) Graduate Student “Umoja” Research Award. His current research interests include identity negotiation among senior-level minority administrators at predominantly white institutions; issues in equity and access; and the use of narrative inquiry methods, discourse analyses, and critical race theory to further interrogate strategies for transformational institutional change.
Branden's dissertation titled, “Identity Negotiation Among Black Administrators at a PWI” interrogated the duality of being Black and holding positions of leadership in spaces where these identities are minoritized and undervalued. His dissertation was awarded the 2021 Dr. Marcia Clarke-Yapi Award for innovatively addressing equity issues in higher education. Branden’s scholarship also contributes to the lack of representative identities in diversity leadership. In 2019, he co-authored a chapter titled, Leadership for Equity-Minded Data Use Toward Racial Equity in Higher Education, which provides recommendations for leaders who seek to build capacities for anti-racists responses. As a scholar-practitioner, Branden focuses on identifying pathways for equity, access, and inclusion of diverse identities. His work strategically promotes and advocates for racial mental health support and well-being in the academic and workplace setting. Branden’s areas of expertise and consultation experience include: assessing needs for inclusive student support; increasing diverse student success; implementing multicultural leadership development; and structuring equity-minded decision making practices for institutional and organizational policy leaders.
Project Coordinator | pronouns: they/she/he
Xanh is passionate about helping teams efficiently and proficiently reach their shared goals. They currently serve as Project Coordinator with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education at UMD. In this role, they provide expertise and support to the Center in team and project management, including business operation management, team and project workflow management, and Center event and opportunity coordination. They also contribute to the Center’s consultation projects, particularly around data analysis and dialogue program development.
A recent DMV transplant and Terp, Xanh holds a master’s degree in student affairs from the University of Maryland and has previously facilitated and coordinated dialogue in resident life, fraternity and sorority life, and academic courses. Also a lifelong Aggie, Xanh received their bachelor’s degree in organizational sociology and Asian American studies with a minor in education from the University of California, Davis.
Project Coordinator | pronouns: she/her/hers
Kiyah McDermid, she/her/hers, is an experienced educator and student affairs professional with a demonstrated history of working in several educational settings to include K-12, non-profits, and higher education institutions. Kiyah earned her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology with a concentration in Community Organizing and Advocacy from the University of North at Chapel Hill in 2015 and recently received her masters in Higher Education, Student Affairs and International Education Policy from the University of Maryland. She currently serves as a Project Coordinator in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education.
Kiyah’s teaching and scholarship centers social justice and equity within various educational contexts, specifically focusing on critical consciousness raising for BIPOC students at predominantly white institutions and culturally conscious pedagogy and assessment practices in study abroad. During her tenure at the University of Maryland, Kiyah worked as a research assistant within the Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education assisting with a various projects that focused on equitable campus climates, cross-cultural competency building, and anti-racist psychology. She has also served in various teaching capacities as an instructor for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s intergroup dialogue course and the teaching assistant for a hybrid international course focused on decolonizing student development theories, in partnership with the University of Cape Coast in Ghana.
Project Coordinator | pronouns: she/her/hers
Di-Tu Dissassa (she/her/hers) is a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland - College Park where she is studying Student Affairs in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education.
Di-Tu graduated with her Master of Arts from the University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC) in 2014. At UMKC she worked in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) where she assisted incoming and current students in navigating the campus. After completing her graduate degree, she worked at the University of Michigan as a Hall Director. During this time, Di-Tu was involved with training the residential staff by facilitating intergroup dialogues on social identities, allyhood, power, and privilege to help staff create inclusive communities.
Di-Tu currently works as a Project Coordinator in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education (CDIHE) and her research interest surrounds staff of color perceptions of campus racial climate, the educational experiences of Black women, multiethnic & second-generation immigrant student identity development, children of a refugee parent(s) and their experiences in the U.S. educational system, and diversity and inclusion initiatives in STEM. Di-Tu is committed to her goals of lifelong learning and helping spread the importance of intercultural development of students to create global change.
Graduate Assistant | pronouns: he/him/his
Daniel is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Counseling Psychology Program in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education. Daniel holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration from Georgia Southern University. After his time at Georgia Southern, Daniel served at the University of Florida as an Academic Advisor and earned a Master of Art in Psychological Counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University. Additionally, he’s engaged with Higher Education for the last decade by helping to manage a children’s literature library and system of learning labs in a College of Education, developing the framework for a Sophomore Experience Program for residential colleges as a summer intern, serving as the chairperson for Title IX student conduct hearings, representing departments and programs at recruiting events, helping departments and programs navigate the curriculum development and change processes, mentoring with and training mentors for minority mentoring programs, and serving as a peer educator through an intimate partner violence prevention program. Daniel’s current research interests include identity development and its impact on mental health. He is currently a Graduate Assistant in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education.
Graduate Assistant | pronouns: she/they
Diksha Bali (she/they) is a first-gen immigrant to the US and doctoral student in the School Psychology PhD program at the University of Maryland. Diksha’s research and work includes disseminating and building mental well-being promotion resources in the US and abroad. She is also invested in reducing conflict between majority and minority groups in the US and internationally.
Project Assistant | pronouns: she/her
Timea Webster’s (she/her) experiences building coalitions among African American and Native Alaskan women in Alaska are a template for her work in Maryland. She has served as a facilitator and instructor in countless courses focused on race, gender, and religion and spirituality in for-credit courses allowing students to explore their identities through social, cultural, and historical lenses.Timea is also a highly sought-after consultant on the national stage. With an interest in justice and anti-oppression efforts, she brings a critical consciousness perspective to her work that invites people into “head & heart” conversations aimed at undoing systemic oppression. She has most recently provided training and consultation to RoadTrip Nation and the Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity of the American Psychological Association (APA).