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 SRU president taps Montero to lead diversity and inclusion program 



September 21, 2009

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab


SRU president taps Montero to lead diversity and inclusion program         


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University President Robert Smith today named Jessamine Montero, director of Slippery Rock University's Act 101 program and an assistant professor, as the special assistant to the president, senior officer for diversity and inclusion.

           "This key leadership position will help the University successfully integrate diversity, international and intercultural plans and goals into the mainstream of operational activity throughout the campus, The University is very fortunate to have someone as qualified as Dr. Montero to lead us in this effort," Smith said in announcing the appointment.

           "It was very important to me that the person selected bring with them faculty experience and a thorough understanding of the issues we face," Smith said. "Jess brings to the position all of the qualifications we were seeking. I am confident she will continue the leadership she demonstrated when she stepped forward to serve as interim co-director of the Office of Multicultural Programs. I know she will help the University achieve its goals while simultaneously expanding our leadership role in multicultural activities that involve faculty, staff, students �and the community at-large."

           Montero, who joined the SRU faculty in 2002, will serve in a dual capacity, retaining her director's position with the Act 101 program while also heading the diversity and inclusion efforts. This is an interim appointment for two years.

           "It is exciting and rewarding to have been selected," Montero said. "I'm especially pleased because the position, as it was created, closely follows the guidelines proposed by the President's Task Force for Cultural Awareness. The task force worked on advancing the campus climate on issues of diversity and saw the need for someone to direct the program. My goals will be to further implement the task force's extensive and comprehensive recommendations and expand the ideals of diversity and inclusion at Slippery Rock University."

           The 16-member presidential task force, headed by Catherine Massey, associate professor of psychology, and Paula Olivero, assistant vice president for student development, issued a 35-page report last spring. Among its recommendations was the creation of a senior leadership position to help guide the University's strategic plan on diversity.

           Smith said due to financial and budget difficulties the creation of a new post was not possible, but by calling on Montero's expertise the goal would be accomplished.

           Montero, who was a member of the task force, said she was dedicated to implementing the inclusive planning model recommended by the panel.

           This assignment, which focuses on advocacy and programming, will complement the role of Holly McCoy, assistant vice president for diversity and equal opportunity, who focuses on legal and compliance issues, Smith said.

          The position will include responsibility for inclusion and diversity efforts on campus through collaboration with campus resources, including the President's Commissions on LGBT Issues; Race and Ethnic Diversity; Status of Women, along with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Educational Technology, Infusing Diversity into the Curriculum committee, Office of Multicultural Programs, The Women's Center, the National Coalition Building Institute, the Office of Student with Disabilities, and organized student groups and others.

          Montero said she would begin by meeting with the various commissions, committees, groups and organizations to listen, learn and look for ways of building support.

          Montero earned her doctorate at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She earned her master of business at Point Park University, her master of arts in psychology and her bachelor of arts, with a psychology major, at Marshall University. She is certified as a workshop facilitator and trainer in prejudice reduction/welcoming diversity and handling controversial issues by the International-National Coalition Building Institute and has Human Participants Protection Education for Research Teams Certification from the National Institutes of Health. She is also a workshop facilitator and trainer in needs strength assessments with the Department of Behavioral Health and Human Services in West Virginia.

          At SRU she has served in her Act 101 position since July and had previously served as assistant director of the program since 2002. She was interim co-director of the Office of Multicultural Programs in 2008 and 2009, and has taught "First -Year Seminar" classes at SRU. She developed the Academic Mentor Program in SRU's Office of Multicultural Programs and the "FYRST Seminar Peer Leadership Program" within First-Year Studies.

          Montero also served as a counseling coordinator in the Program for Academic Success at Point Park University where she taught "Study Skills" courses for undergraduates, and has worked as a residential program supervisor and therapist at Three Rivers Youth in Pittsburgh. She was a team leader supervisor and general case manager for community support services at Prestera Center for Mental Health Services in Huntington, W. Va.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.

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