Dr. Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual, philosopher, author and activist who has taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, the University of Paris, and his alma maters, Harvard and Princeton. He is a frequent guest and commentator, has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films, and has produced three spoken-word albums to date. Best known for his classics,
Race Matters and
Democracy Matters, and for his memoir,Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, Dr. West's most recent book,
Black Prophetic Fire, offers an unflinching look at nineteenth and twentieth-century African American leaders and their visionary legacies.
President of Cosumnes River College in Sacramento since 2015, Dr. Edward Bush has more than 22 years of experience in higher education. Having held numerous faculty and leadership positions, Dr. Bush serves on the California Community College League CEO Board, the Chancellor's Office Faculty Diversity Committee and the Chancellor's Office Student Success Metrics Taskforce. A sought-after speaker and author, he is also co-founder and board member of the nationally recognized non-profit African American Male Educational Network & Development Inc. dedicated to improving outcomes for men of color enrolled in California's community colleges.
Dr. J. Luke Wood is Vice President of Student Affairs & Campus Diversity, Dean's Distinguished Professor of Education and co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL) at San Diego State University, where his research focuses on factors affectingthe success of boys and men of color in education. Hehas delivered more than 1,000 presentations and authored over 160 publications, and his research has been featured by NBC, New York Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, Huffington Post, Fortune Magazine and Los Angeles Times, among many other outlets. Dr. Wood previously served as research fellow at the Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research (SIHER).
Dr. Jolene Koester is the Interim Chancellor of the CSU. She originally joined the CSU as an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Sacramento State, where she subsequently served as an associate professor, professor, department chair, assistant vice president, associate vice president, vice president for academic affairs, and provost. She served as president of CSUN from 2000-2011, where she led the campus through a time of exponential growth with the student population expanding by more than 25%. During her tenure as president, CSUN increased retention and graduation rates and conferred more than 68,000 degrees. Her prior experience in higher education also includes service at the University of Missouri, Columbia and the University of Minnesota.
Having held numerous faculty and campus leadership positions since beginning his career as an associate professor at UC Santa Barbara in 1993, Dr. Michael Brown was appointed provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of California in 2017. He was previously elected fellow of the American Psychological Association in 2001. Over the course of his career, Dr. Brown has published book chapters and articles focused on the cultural variables underlying career and educational choices, particularly among racial and ethnic minorities and women. His research also has focused on the importance of equity and diversity in freshman admissions.
Michele Bratcher Goodwin is a Chancellor's Professor and founding director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy at UC Irvine. Widely published in legal journals and credited with helping to shape the health law field, Goodwin has conducted extensive field research around the globe focused on human trafficking. A frequent media commentator, podcast host and prolific author, she has earned numerous national awards for excellence, including the 2020-21 Distinguished Senior Faculty Award for Research, the highest honor bestowed by the University of California. She serves on the executive committee and national board of the American Civil Liberties Union.
A business professor, chair in Urban Leadership and executive director of the Race and Equity Center at the University of Southern California, Dr. Shaun Harper teaches MBA students and advises CEOs and leaders on diversity, equity and inclusion strategy. Dr. Harper has worked with more than 400 businesses, firms and educational institutions; published 12 books and over 100 academic publications; and secured more than $18 million in grants. His research has been cited in nearly 18,000 published studies, and has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, CNN, ESPN, NBC News and NPR.
Soraya M. Coley was appointed president of Cal Poly Pomona in September 2014. She is the first female president of the university. Her experience includes serving as Cal State Fullerton’s dean of the College of Human Development and Community Service, and systemwide provost and vice president for academic affairs at Alliant International University. Coley’s career has been marked by efforts to eliminate obstacles that prevent people from reaching their potential in society. She worked as a research assistant for the Child Welfare League of America, as the national director of the Child Abuse Prevention Project at the National Urban League, and as a survey manager at a policy research institute in Princeton, New Jersey.
Having experience in the public, community college and private university settings, Dr. Sanders' professional expertise in postsecondary education encompasses a breadth of areas in and out of the classroom and at a systemwide perspective. Dr. Sanders is the Director of Toro Reengagement Program, a degree completion initiative at California State University, Dominguez Hills focused on identifying students with some college, no degree and bringing them back to college to finish what they started. Previously she was with the California State University Office of the Chancellor, the largest four-year higher education system where she served on CSU Graduation Initiative 2025 team focused on improving degree completion and eliminate equity gaps for underrepresented and low-income students. She was also the lead administrator in the development of the CSU Basic Needs Initiative, addressing food and housing insecurity in the CSU. She presents and speaks about the work happening nationally in higher education, across California and in our communities in supporting students on their path towards graduation and addressing issues of equity.
Dr. Tyrone Howard is a professor of education in the School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA. His research addresses issues tied to race, culture, access and educational opportunity for minoritized student populations. Dr. Howard is the author of several best-selling books, including
Why Race & Culture Matters in Schools and
All Students Must Thrive. He is a native of Compton, where he also served as a classroom teacher. Dr. Howard is a member of the National Academy of Education and is an American Educational Research Association (AERA) Fellow.