Inclusive Excellence Team

Dr. Brandy Bryson 

Brandy Bryson

Director, Inclusive Excellence 

Associate Professor
Department of Leadership and Educational Studies
College of Education

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

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.

 


Dr. Laurie Rivera

Dr. Laurie Rivera

Inclusive Excellence Coordinator

Senior Lecturer
Department of Health and Exercise Science
Coordinator of Clinical Education in the Athletic Training Program
College of Health Sciences

Laurie Rivera is a Senior Lecturer and the Coordinator of Clinical Education in the Athletic Training Program in the Beaver College of Health Sciences at Appalachian State University. Previously, Laurie was the IE Liaison for the Department of Health and Exercise Science. She has completed App Allies training, attended numerous workshops over the years around the topics of inclusion and diversity. As a faculty member and actively practicing clinician, she strives to model inclusive behaviors and speech while emphasizing to her students that patients are individual people first, not their condition or injury. Making certain that inclusion and diversity are represented in case studies, PowerPoint slides, and standardized patients are paramount to education.

Dr. Melody Schwantes-Reid

Melanie Schwantes

Inclusive Excellence Coordinator

Assistant Professor
Music Therapy Program
Hayes School of Music

Dr. Melody Schwantes, MT-BC is an assistant professor in the Music Therapy Program at the Hayes School of Music. She has been a practicing music therapist since 2001. Her research interests have centered on mental health issues associated with migration and inclusive research practice among clinical populations. She supports music therapy students in developing their awareness of unearned advantage, how it impacts their clinical work, and how music experiences can be used to foster greater understanding and growth.

 

Dr. Carol Babyak

Dr. Carol Babyak

Inclusive Excellence Coordinator

Associate Professor
Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Carol Babyak is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences. As an analytical chemist, Dr. Babyak teaches Quantitative Chemical Analysis, Instrumental Methods of Analysis, along with Introductory Chemistry. Dr. Babyak’s research focuses on trace metals in aqueous environments, and she studied the TVA coal fly ash spill that occurred in Harriman, TN. As a member of the Inclusive Excellence (IE) Team, Dr. Babyak works on ways to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields.

Dr. Jamie Anderson Parson

Dr. Jamie Anderson Parson

Inclusive Excellence Coordinator

Assistant Professor
Department of Finance, Banking, and Insurance
College of Business

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. Matthew Thomas-Reid

Matthew Thomas Reid

Inclusive Excellence Coordinator

Assistant Professor
Department of Leadership and Educational Studies
College of Education

Matthew Thomas-Reid (he/him/his pronouns) is an assistant professor of Educational Foundations and affiliate faculty with Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies. Matthew is faculty advisor for GAPP (Gay and Progressive Pedagogy) and is the editor of the South Atlantic Philosophy of Education Society Journal.  His areas of research include philosophy of education, social justice education, and queer pedagogy.  His current research projects focus on utilizing LGBTQIA histories and narratives with a view toward 'queering' pedagogy, praxis, and, most recently, digital literacies. 

 

 

 

 




Dr. Tammy Wahpeconiah

Tammy Wahpeconiah

Inclusive Excellence Coordinator

Professor
Department of English
College of Arts and Sciences

Tammy Wahpeconiah is a professor in the Department of English where she teaches American Indian literature, Ethnic American literature, and Science Fiction. Her research focuses on both early and contemporary American Indian writers. She has written about the mythical representation of the Indian and the idea of “Indianness” as well as about transgenerational trauma and in contemporary American Indian novels. As an enrolled member of the Sac & Fox Nation of Missouri, she is intimately familiar with the importance of diversity, inclusion, and equity in both the classroom and the workplace.

Dr. Greg McClure

Dr.Greg Mcclure

Inclusive Excellence Coordinator

Associate Professor
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
College of Education

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.

 

 

 

 

Cara Hagan Gelber

Cara Hagan Gelber

Inclusive Excellence Coordinator

Associate Professor
Department of Theatre and Dance
College of Fine and Applied Arts
E-mail

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.