The leadership and team members for the Office for Diversity and Inclusion work to facilitate, organize, promote and provide administrative support in helping the university reach its diversity and inclusion goals.
Yvette Murphy-Erby is Vice Chancellor for the Office for Diversity and Inclusion and Professor in the School of Social Work. Dr. Murphy-Erby’s research, policy, and practice foci for the past 29 years have been around child, adolescent and family well-being, particularly relating to traditionally underserved populations, including low-income women and children, African American and Latino youth, and families involved with the child welfare system. Along with interdisciplinary colleagues, Dr. Murphy-Erby received over $14 million in funding from state, federal and foundation sources over the past 12 years to evaluate, support or implement innovative programs, policies and initiatives related to the well-being of traditionally underrepresented and under supported populations, including low-income African Americans, Latinos, and Marshallese households. Dr. Murphy-Erby has published widely and, along with multidisciplinary colleagues, she published (as first author) the seminal book Incorporating Intersectionality in Social Work Research, Education, Policy, and Practice in 2009. An endowment in her name is established to supported community-based research with underserved populations and communities.
Ella Donnell Lambey is Executive Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion. She has been employed at the University for 16 years, with 13 of those years as assistant in the Office for Diversity and Inclusion. Ella holds a Master’s degree in Workforce Development Education, a Bachelor’s degree in Office Administration, and an Associate’s degree in Secretarial Administration. She serves as a mentor to many students and young professionals and is a member of the Board of Directors for the University of Arkansas Black Alumni Society.
Dr. Shobe serves as Director of Research in the Office for Diversity and Inclusion. Her research foci are related to health disparities and anti-poverty initiatives for traditionally underserved populations, particularly low-income Latino, African American, Native American, and Marshallese communities. Findings from these research projects are of critical relevance to national and international policy development. Dr. Shobe has served as PI or Co-PI on a number of federal and foundation grants and is currently managing multiple, interdisciplinary research and training grants in her areas of focus. In her role as Senior Research Fellow, she has collaborated with UA colleagues in Biology, Exercise Science, STEM Education, Medicine, Social Work, and in the Honors College and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance (OEOC) on diversity and inclusion-related grant proposals. Dr. Shobe is available to provide support to UA faculty and staff working on diversity and inclusion-related projects.
Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Journalism
Niketa Reed is Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Communications Director for the Vice Chancellor’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion. Professor Reed left the digital marketing world to join her alma mater in the School of Journalism at the U of A. Her goal is to share her knowledge on diversity in media, instruct journalists in training in content marketing/strategy, and help recruit minority students to the university. She previously taught online courses in the Journalism Department (African-Americans in Film and African-American in Documentary Film). Professor Reed earned her Master of Arts in Journalism in 2010 from the University of Arkansas and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Memphis in 2005. She was able to transfer her journalism skills into the marketing industry with the nonprofit sector. Her professional experience includes digital marketing for the Memphis Area Transit Authority, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/ALSAC, and the National Wildlife Federation. She still creates web content for small non-profits and writes in her spare time.
Dr. Elecia Smith
Executive Director for the IDEALS Institute of the U of A
Human Resources Executive and Educator
Judith Tavano is an accomplished human resources executive and educator, the proud spouse of a former Air Force officer, and the daughter of a disabled WWII veteran. Judith has been assisting veterans through her association with veteran organizations in northwest Arkansas informally for years, and in 2018 won a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation grant to lead SHRM’s local chapter (NOARK) in an effort to assist transitioning military officers who wish to return to, or start a new life in northwest Arkansas. Judith is currently special project coordinator for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Arkansas with the remit to build a program to help all military-connected individuals prepare for the civilian workforce and to train employers to better recruit, hire, engage, and retain the military-connected. Judith serves as the chair of workforce readiness for NOARK. In this role, she has initiated a number of workplace outreach activities and is an active member of the Northwest Arkansas Council’s workforce committee. As a long-time HR educator, Judith has assisted hundreds of HR professionals in the state of Arkansas and beyond to achieve their bachelor’s degrees in Workforce Development and/or professional certification. Judith is a frequently requested HR trainer and speaker who most recently presented at the Arkansas State HR Conference on the workplace challenges faced by retiring and separating military officers. Judith holds a B.A. and M.A. from Simmons University, Boston, and the international designations of Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and Certified Program Planner (CCP) from LERN. Judith believes that the employing military-connected is an economic development imperative for northwest Arkansas. The strategic inclusion of military-connected individuals into the northwest Arkansas workforce will not only create opportunities for military-connected individuals but also for the employers who will employ them, and the region as a whole.
SR. FELLOWS FOR INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY TEAM
Anna Zajicek is a Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Sociology and Criminology. She has been involved in various diversity and inclusion efforts at the University of Arkansas since 1996, when she was appointed as Chair of the Gender Studies Steering Committee (1996-1999). She also served on the UA Diversity Taskforce (2000-2003), as Faculty Research Associate with the UA Office for Institutional Diversity & Education (2006-2008), and participated in several other diversity and inclusion efforts since 2008. She has also taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses focused on inclusion and equality, and published numerous articles in the area of equity, diversity, and inclusion. She believes that diversity and inclusion should be at the center of everyday practices in the department and in the classroom, and should be modeled by leadership at all levels and across the entire University. In addition to being the Senior Fellow of Inclusion Team at the University of Arkansas, she currently serves on the UA Women’s Commission and the UA ADVANCE Planning Group.
Ana Bridges is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Science and the director of the Diversity Research and Enhanced Access for Minorities (DREAM) lab. Her research focuses on understanding and ameliorating mental health disparities in vulnerable and underserved populations, with a particular focus on Latinx immigrants. She is the director of two US Department of Health and Human Services Graduate Psychology Education grants that provide educational emphasis on training doctoral psychologists to work in health care teams to address the mental and behavioral health needs of underserved populations in a culturally appropriate manner. Dr. Bridges also chairs the Department of Psychological Science's Diversity Committee and is the Senior Fellow of the Education, Training, and Supports team at the University of Arkansas' Office for Diversity and Inclusion.
For more than 20 years Barbara A. Lofton, Ed.D. served as the Director of Diversity & Inclusion for the Sam M. Walton College of Business and now as the Senior Fellow for Engagement and Outreach for the Office for Diversity and Inclusion. While in this role, she serves both as an administrator and assistant professor. During her tenure in these positions, she has evolved into a dynamic leader at the University of Arkansas-as well as in the Fayetteville community and the state of Arkansas. She is widely known for her ability to collaborate effectively with others, both in teaching and non-teaching roles. During her tenure in the Walton College of Business, she has been a leader in establishing several different outreach programs to create awareness about careers in business among under-represented students developed two courses in diversity, scholarship programs, connected with minority alumni, just to name a few. She also works with all levels of students in the Walton College to assist them in becoming successful. Barbara’s leadership expands beyond the walls of the University of Arkansas. She has participated in several regional leadership forum for women and issues for minorities in higher education. Her research interests are focused on the area of business with an emphasis on: the experiences of African American deans in PWIs; the experiences of minority doctoral students, and the status of diversity in colleges/schools of business.
Jamie Hestekin is a Professor in the Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering. He is very student focused, specifically giving young people a chance in the lab. He believes that diversity and inclusion should be in the classroom and in professional talks at conferences. In addition to being the Senior Fellow of Strategic Initiatives at the University of Arkansas, he is the chair of the working group in his department for Diversity and Inclusion. As part of this role he has arranged many diversity related seminars and has chaired a panel at a national conference entitled “The Power of Diversity in Moving the Planet Forward”. View the videos of all of the events.