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Diversity Council

Diversity Council

The Marist College Diversity Council fulfills an advisory role to the President of the College in matters related to diversity, inclusion, and equity.  Comprised of members from across the College appointed by the President, the Council is a hub for strategic and collaborative thinking. The Council works alongside the Diversity Leadership which includes the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement (DICE) and the Director for Academic Diversity and Inclusion to set the diversity agenda of the College.

Also, the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences Creating Inclusive Communities (CIC) group and the Teaching and Training Subcommittee (TTS) of the Diversity Council are launching the Marist College Diversity Leadership Institute (MCDLI) on June 15, 2020. This endeavor would allow eight faculty/staff members and two students to develop awareness and skills to further implement and sustain diversity and inclusion initiatives on the Marist College campus. MCDLI would bring together faculty, staff, and students to participate in weeklong (June 15 – June 19) didactic, experiential, and peer-mentored workshops. To apply, please fill out this application pdf icon

Diversity Council Membership 2018 – 2019


  • Patricia Ferrer-Medina, Assistant Professor of Spanish, School of Liberal Arts
  • Christine Mulvey, Director of Special Projects, Telecommunications, and Networking, Information Technology


  • Addrain Conyers, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice/Director for Academic Diversity and Inclusion, School of Social & Behavioral Sciences


Communication - Coordinate all communication and representation of the Council’s work.

  • Melinda E. Martinez, Co-Chair & Director of the Marist College Liberty Partnerships Program, Student Affairs
  • Al Abdelrahman, Co-Chair & Associate Director of Safety and Security, Safety and Security
  • Julio A. Torres Jr., Senior Assistant Director/Coordinator of Multicultural Enrollment, Enrollment Management

Student Life - Facilitate student experiences of diversity.

  • Colin McCann, Co-Chair & Associate Director of First-Year Programs/Leadership Development, Student Affairs
  • Alyssa Gates, Co-Chair & Director of Student-Athlete Enhancement, Academic Affairs
  • Brother Michael Flanigan, Campus Ministry, Student Affairs
  • Iris Ruiz-Grech, Director of the Center for Multicultural Affairs and the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program, Academic Affairs

Training and Teaching - Facilitate faculty and staff experiences of diversity.

  • Maryellen Guardino, Co-Chair & Associate Director of Accommodations & Accessibility, Student Affairs
  • Stacy Williams, Co-Chair & Assistant Professor, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Katy Silberger, Librarian/Digital Content Service, Student Affairs
  • Dashawn Jones, Investigator/Security Officer, Safety and Security

Creating and Learning - Facilitate experiences of diversity in academics.

  • James Snyder, Co-Chair & Associate Professor, School of Liberal Arts
  • Haseeb Arroon, Co-Chair & Database Manager, Institutional Research
  • Jessica Macias, Financial Analyst, Budget, Planning & Analysis
  • Tim Murray, Director of Athletics, Student Affairs

Diversity Council Spotlight

James Snyder

Name: James G. Snyder

Job Title: Interim Dean of Academic Engagement and Diversity Council Committee Member

1. What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you?

People may be surprised to learn that early on I struggled to find my voice as a teacher. For a while it seemed like nothing I was doing in the classroom worked, and I really had to go back to a blank slate. It was a long process of trial and error, and I finally figured out what worked for me when I changed my mindset about the classroom itself. In particular, I reframed my work in the classroom to be more student-focused, and this had implications for how I teach, the assignments I give, and the way that I interact with our students. In fact, this approach completely changed my career trajectory at Marist. I was no longer only focused on my research and scholarship, I started an undergraduate research conference, and ultimately I was Honors Program director for half a decade.

On a different note, people may also be surprised to know that I love hot sauce. In the summers I garden a lot, and we have a pretty big vegetable garden at our house. I grow tons of habaneros and ferment them into a variety of hot sauces. It’s fun, and my kids get to learn a lot about gardening and growing your own vegetables. My daughter Beatrice always complains, however, that I put hot sauce on everything.

2. What was your best moment at Marist?

I think my best moment was the day I was given the Board of Trustees Distinguished Teaching Award. My wife and daughter were there, and it was also my son’s first day of kindergarten, which was pretty amazing. I was also able to share the award with my brother, who tragically passed away at a young age soon thereafter. My brother was my closest friend and one of my biggest advocates, and his support meant the world to me.

Winning that teaching award also gave me the time and space to think about myself, my teaching, and my values. Writing the speech allowed my to solidify all of this into a relatively coherent teaching worldview. It is not very often that we get the time and space to think about big normative questions about meaning and purpose in life, and apply those ideas to our daily practices.

3. How have you seen Marist grow and change since you started working at Marist?

Marist has grown immensely since I joined the faculty in 2008. First and foremost, students are engaging in many more high impact practices, like undergraduate research and study abroad. What it means to be a college student has changed significantly as a result of these practices, and it has certainly changed

how I teach and the work at Marist. It amazes me how many students and faculty are partnering on undergraduate research projects. Now our job is to make sure that these experiences are accessible to all students at Marist, and that faculty feel supported in the process.

4. What do you perceive to be some challenges at Marist?

I think the biggest challenges concern creating a structure of support for faculty in mentoring our students. There is good evidence to show that building a relationship with a faculty member who challenges and inspires you is critical to workplace engagement and thriving. It is incumbent on us to make sure that these metoring relationships are supported, and that all students have access to important resources. In this way, my recent work with Marist’s Center for Teaching Excellence has been exciting, and I have learned a lot from our faculty about what they need in order to be successful in supporting our students.

5. Based on your perception of the Marist culture, what opportunities do you see at Marist?

Our students are tremendously active and engaged. I would like to continue to work with students to connect them with the faculty and experiences that will educate them in a broader, deeper, and more complex way. Marist is an exciting place to work because we have a lot of autonomy to puruse ideas that we think are important, or to start initiatives that we believe transformative. Every day that I come to work I try to approach my work in this open-minded manner, and I always ask myself how my work and decisions will positively impact our students.