Inclusive Excellence Team

Dr. Brandy Bryson

Brandy Bryson 263x263

Director, Inclusive Excellence 
Associate Professor
Department of Leadership and Educational Studies
College of Education
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Dr. Brandy Bryson is an Associate Professor in the Educational Foundations program in the Leadership and Educational Studies Department at Appalachian State University. Brandy teaches Critical Perspectives on Learning and Teaching for teacher education majors, Critical Perspectives on Race and Whiteness for The Honors College, a doctoral seminar on paradigms and frameworks, and other graduate courses on race and inclusive diversity. Additionally, she supervises doctoral student dissertations and honors theses. Her research focuses on inclusive diversity, equity, and social justice broadly with a particular emphasis on racial literacy and racial equity in society and schools, PK-Doctorate.

Dr. Elizabeth Bellows

Dr. Elizabeth Bellows

Inclusive Excellence Coordinator
Associate Professor
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
College of Education
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Dr. Elizabeth Bellows is an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Appalachian State University. She teaches social studies methods courses in elementary, middle, and secondary programs and is a member of the Graduate Faculty. Her research involves intersections of critical social studies and teacher education as well as historical research as it relates to social studies education, and international inquiry about social studies education in Japan and Romania. Dr. Bellows recently co-edited a book, (Re)Imagining Elementary Social Studies: A Controversial Issues Reader, which highlights her efforts to engage pre-service teachers with frameworks of anti-racist and socially just educative practices by enacting critical pedagogy. Her articles have been published in Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, Social Studies and the Young Learner, The Social Educator, American Educational History Journal, Journal of International Social Studies, Journal of Social Studies Research, Social Studies Research and Practice, and Social Education

J. Spenser Darden

J. Spenser Darden

Inclusive Excellence Coordinator
Associate Director 
Multicultural Student Development
Student Affairs
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J. Spenser Darden is the Associate Director for Multicultural Student Development in the Division of Student Affairs at Appalachian State University. Spenser is primarily responsible for outreach to and development for Faculty and Staff, examining and analyzing institutional practices and policies to create a more inclusive campus climate, and leading the Office assessment efforts. Educating from Equity and Critical frameworks, Spenser seeks to understand and reconceptualize the need for and value of normativity. Spenser has worked with a variety of organizations to examine their practices of inclusivity by leveraging a Multicultural Organizational Development (MCOD) framework, provided keynote addresses, workshops and in-services, and supported policy development for Colleges and Universities, NCAA Athletic Departments, multinational corporations, and nonprofits. Spenser has also served as a key consultant to political campaigns in their development of authentic social justice messaging.

Cara Hagan Gelber

Cara Gelber

Inclusive Excellence Coordinator
Assistant Professor
Department of Theatre and Dance
College of Fine and Applied Arts
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Cara Hagan is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice is informed by movement, words, digital space, contemplative practice, and community. Ms. Hagan has the pleasure of sharing her artistic pursuits across the United States and abroad. Most recently, Cara has set choreographic works on students at the UNC School of the Arts, Missouri State University and on professional dancers at the Dance Barn Festival in Battle Lake, MN. Her recent guest residencies have included Thirak India, where she taught, performed and lectured across the north region of India, at James Madison University, where she taught a series of workshops on dance film, and at UC Boulder, where she was a guest artist as part of the 2017 U.N. {W.R.A.P} Series. Further, Cara has made recent performance appearances at the Asheville Wordfest, the Taos Poetry Festival, the On Site/In Sight Dance Festival, and the Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh.  A recipient of several grants and awards, Cara recently received a 2014-2015 NCAC Choreographic Fellowship Award, a 2015 Sustainability in the Arts Grant and a 2015-2016 University Research Council Grant. Ms. Hagan serves on the dance studies faculty at Appalachian State University, as well as serving as director and curator for ADF's Movies By Movers, an annual, international dance film festival that hosts events at both the American Dance Festival and Appalachian State University. Cara's scholarly and creative work can be found in various publications, including the Snapdragon Journal of Art and Healing, Headwaters Journal of Expressive Arts, the International Journal of Screendance, and in the book, Dance's Duet with the Camera: Motion Pictures, edited by Telory D. Arendell and Ruth Barnes. Currently Cara is under contract to complete her first solo authored book through McFarland Publishing. 

Dr. Greg McClure

Greg McClure

Inclusive Excellence Coordinator
Associate Professor
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
College of Education
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Greg McClure is an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Appalachian State University. As a faculty member in the Reich College of Education, he draws on a diverse range of experiences to shape his work. He worked in NC public schools for many years as an ESL teacher, but his life as an educator truly began in the multilingual highlands of Guatemala where he served as a human rights observer during the last years of the Guatemalan civil war. Greg brings a commitment to equity and justice to his work as teacher. His teaching and research focuses on understanding the ways language, culture, and power intersect and play out in educational practices. He values creativity, compassion, and collaborative problem-solving and tries to incorporate these elements into his work with future teachers. He loves the snow, the sunshine, and the warm baritone voice of Watauga County's native son, Arthel "Doc" Watson.

Dr. Jamie Anderson Parson

Jamie Parson

Inclusive Excellence Coordinator
Assistant Professor
Department of Finance, Banking, and Insurance
College of Business
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 Dr. Jamie Parson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Finance, Banking, and Insurance at Appalachian State University. She teaches undergraduate courses in business law and personal insurance. In addition, she leads the Walker College of Business’ Inclusive Excellence (formerly Diversity Advisory) Team, the Risk Management & Insurance diversity initiatives and serves on numerous boards and committees.

Prior to arriving at Appalachian, Dr. Parson served as a Title VII Investigator for the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission and a Special Investigative Unit Liaison and Fire Claims Representative at State Farm Insurance Company.

 Dr. Parson holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology-Anthropology from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Nebraska College of Law in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her research interests primarily concentrate in the area of insurance regulation including extensive involvement with the passing of the North Carolina Foster Care Family Act (July 2015).

Dr. Iryna Sharaievska

Dr. Iryna SharaeivskaInclusive Excellence Coordinator
Assistant Professor
Department of Recreation Management & Physical Education
College of Health Sciences
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Dr. Iryna Sharaievska is an Assistant Professor in the Recreation Management program in the Recreation Management and Physical Education Department at Appalachian State University. Iryna's research, teaching and service are guided by principles of diversity and inclusion. She teaches Inclusive Recreation class employing transformative approach of service learning. Her research is focussed on inclusion practices in the field of recreation, as well as leisure among families of diverse backgrounds, including multicultural and multiracial families, families who live in poverty, and families with members who have a disability. Iryna's service is focused on increasing inclusion and global experiences in academia. Iryna is a certified LGBTQ ally.