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Presidential Diversity Advisory Council

The Presidential Diversity Advisory Council (PDAC) provides diversity framework for PennWest Clarion. The PDAC is to be a catalyst for change and an advocate for diversity and equity within the campus and the surrounding community, and provides support for programming, training, and resources to university students, faculty, staff, alumni and community stakeholders. The PDAC ensures a campus culture that is inclusive and accepting of diverse perspectives.


President, co-chairs and council members

President PehrssonDr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson
PennWest Clarion

President Pehrsson serves as the 17th President of PennWest Clarion as of July 1, 2018. Dr. Pehrsson has more than 25 years of experience in higher education, beginning her academic career as an affiliate faculty member and clinical supervisor for counselor education at Idaho State University in 1991. She also has worked in the healthcare field, as both a counselor and registered nurse. She has extraordinary range of professional experience, as a teacher, practitioner and administrator in both higher education and healthcare.

DedeDr. Brenda Sanders Dede
Retired Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, PennWest Clarion (July 2018)

Dr. Sanders Dede has a total of 48 years of higher education experience (25 years at Texas Southern University). She is a three-time graduate of Texas Southern University (Ed.D., M.Ed., BA). Her service includes Past President of the Pennsylvania Black Conference on Higher Education, Inc. (PBCOHE, Inc.), and is currently serving as Executive Director of PBCOHE, Inc. She also serves as a proposal reviewer for the U.S. Department of Education and as a Middle States Accreditation Reviewer. The local community elected Dr. Sanders Dede to serve as a member of the Clarion Borough Council. Other memberships include the NAACP, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Kiwanis International and First Baptist Church of Clarion. Her expertise includes professional development in higher education; proposal writing and review and service as a student advocate.

WalshDr. Jane Schuchert Walsh
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Social Sciences Department, PennWest Clarion

Dr. Walsh teaches Principles of Sociology, Race and Ethnic Relations, Social Movements, Social Change, Sociology of Conflict Resolution, Sociology of Work, Qualitative Research Methods, Sex, Gender, and Social, and Sociology of Sport. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh for her doctoral work on the organizing structure that launched the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a small farmworker organization in southwest Florida, into a national Fair Food movement. Her current research entails interviewing professionals and paraprofessionals affiliated with the Neighborhood Resiliency Project founded in Pittsburgh's Historic Hill District neighborhood as an ongoing oral history project of this emerging social movement. She serves on PennWest Clarion's Presidential Commissions of Race Equity and Status of Women, as well as, the advisory boards for the Women and Gender Studies and Black Studies minors.

Groom photo

Angela Groom Brown
Ms. Groom Brown is a PennWest Clarion Alumni Class of 1980. She graduated with a B.S. Degree in Computer Science/Business Administration.  She has a Certification in Procurement and Contracts Management and currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area.


Kari King-HillKari King-Hill

Ms. Hill has been exercising her professional in the educational arena for over 20 years in the Philadelphia, PA area as an elementary school teacher and administrator. As a 1995 graduate of PennWest Clarion with her B.S. Degree in Elementary Education, she has acquired two additional graduate degrees, educational certificates, and is currently pursuing her Ed.D. at Arcadia University. Her life's work is centered around educating all children (Pre-Kindergarten through college), empowering lives through community and religious service, and advocating for the educational, social, and spiritual rights of all. Presently, she proudly serves as a school administrator in the School District of Philadelphia. Ms. Hill is currently a licensed and ordained minister, serving at the Jones Memorial Baptist Church (Philadelphia, PA). Over the past 20 years of ministerial service, she has been celebrated for her outstanding religious and civic contributions on the local and national levels, including receiving the Anointed Clergy Award from the National Congress of Black Women in 2019. She is a member of the Schoolmen's Club of Philadelphia, Black Women's Educational Alliance, Teaching to Change Lives, and a Diamond Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Additionally, she is a discharged member of the United States Air Force Reserve.


Rogers Laugand
Director, Minority Student Services

Mr. Laugand III has 29 year of experience working at PennWest Clarion (2 years as the Assistant Director/Coordinator of Minority Recruitment). He is the Director of Minority Student Services. He is responsible for the development of programs and services that enhance the quality of life for minority students. He provides leadership and support for efforts related to minority student retention. He developed the G.E.M.S. and R.U.B.I.E.S. programs that focus on the retention and graduation of minority/African American male and female students. He established the W.E.B. DuBois scholarship Fund and the Building Bridges Program, which focuses on promoting diversity and building race relations and at PennWest Clarion. He co-chairs the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee. He has mentored youth in the Clarion and surrounding areas as well as inner-city Pittsburgh. He holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Dubuque and a MA in Student Personnel from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.


James McGee
Director, Center for Wellness
Director For Wellness
Center for Wellness

Jim serves as the Director for Wellness at PennWest Clarion. He works with areas in the center for wellness that include Health Services, Counseling Services, Alcohol and Other Drug Services, Student Support Assistance, and Campus Recreation. He earned his BS (Education-2003) and MS (Rehabilitation Science- 2005) from PennWest Clarion. Jim serves on many campus committees that focus on helping students succeed.


Larry Pickett
Council of Trustees, PennWest Clarion

Larry is from Pittsburgh, PA, and was appointed to the Council of Trustees in 2009 and reappointed in 2018. Larry is a Process Improvement Project Manager for the Finance Division at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). He is responsible for managing projects that support process improvement (PI) initiatives including system implementations at CMU. He uses statistical analysis, LEAN and Six Sigma methodologies to provide expert PI and project management services to complex projects at CMU. He is a certified six sigma black belt (CSSBB) and certified project manager. He leads projects from their original state to final implementation integrating structured methodologies and using industry standards. Larry develops, analyzes and presents data evidence and solutions to CMU senior leadership and key business partners. He also manages processes designed to improve payroll systems. Larry earned an M.B.A. with emphasis in Management of Technologies from California University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. degree in Leadership and Liberal Studies from Duquesne University, and a B.A. degree from PennWest Clarion. He is also a recipient of the New Pittsburgh Courier "Men of Excellence" Award.


Amy Salsgiver
Director of Social Equity, PennWest Clarion

Amy has her BA in Anthropology (2006) and her MA in Geography (2012) from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. While pursuing her degrees, Salsgiver researched and engaged in non-profits organizations related to social justice issues such the prevalence of poverty in single-female headed homes, the effects of male migration on early childhood education, modern day slavery in the United States and social network livelihood strategies among impoverished former coal mining communities. In addition to her position with the University, Salsgiver sits on the Board of Directors for the Jefferson County History Center and Museum.


Kristin Stiglitz
Administrative Support Staff
Office of the President

Ms. Stiglitz is the Executive Assistant to the President at PennWest Clarion and provides administrative support to the PDAC. She earned her B.S. in Industrial Relations from PennWest Clarion in 2006. She has been employed at CU for 33 years in various departments – Small Business Development Center, Continuing Education, Residence Life Services and President's Office.

Scott UnderhillScott Underhill
Campus Minister, BASIC

Scott has been serving as a Campus Minister of BASIC at PennWest Clarion for 9 years. This ministry reaches all students, but was created by minority students to minister to minority students, and Scott continues to keep that focus today. Him and his wife have also served many of the international students during the beginning of their ministry, and recently Scott has served alongside the football team. Scott holds a BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina in Asheville, and a MDIV from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Nyshae WhiteNyshae White
Student Representative

Nyshae is senior Rehabilitative Science major with a concentration in Pre-Occupational Therapy. She is a member of the Presidential Leadership Institute which helps with developing leadership skills as well as allowing students form role model positions; President of the KUDETS step team which being precise, entertainment and fun to campus; and also works with Building Bridges ─ ambassadors who bring comfortable conversations amongst different race, ethical and cultural background to build a common ground for positive change in life as well as on campus.

The following list includes links to help support equality:

PennWest Clarion Faculty, Staff & Student Resource Guide

75 Things White People Can Do

Talking about Race

Equity in Education

Improve Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Racial Equity Featured Resources

Anti-Racist Resources

Last Updated 8/19/22