» Staff Perspectives

photo of Alisa Driscoll
Alisa Driscoll
Communications & Operations Manager
Office of Community Relations
(714) 289-2098
Diversity is a great thing. Striving to ensure that a wide variety of perspectives and lived experiences are represented among a certain group is an important effort. But in my opinion, inclusion is really the key to making things happen. We are not just including folks of different races, genders, social classes or many other aspects of identity, for the sake of doing so, or because it might “look good” to outside entities. We are taking it a step further to proactively create an empowering community that helps foster a sense of belonging and respect for all.
I have been fortunate to serve as co-chair of the Advisory Group on the Status of Women and have been able to witness first-hand the ability a relatively small group can have to be a catalyst for institutional change. Together, in just a few years, we have been able to establish lactation spaces at both the Orange and Rinker campuses as well as provide free menstrual product in all women’s and gender-neutral restrooms on campus. I am continually inspired by this work and the people I am honored to work alongside on these initiatives. After several of our programs, we heard a resounding “thank you” from every constituent body on campus. It makes me happy to know that we, as an Advisory Group, have the ability to advocate for those who may not be comfortable expressing their thoughts publicly.
In working with the Chapman Diversity Project, my own personal knowledge of diversity and inclusion has expanded incredibly. I have come to understand the privilege I, as an individual bring to the table. My horizons have also broadened considerably as I came to understand just how important intersectionality is in this kind of work. I am not an expert by any means, and I continue to learn and grow every day. The Diversity Project really is a unique place where you can come as you are, learn more about yourself and the people around you and make real impact within the Chapman community.
photo of Carlos Lopez
Carlos Lopez
Senior Research Analyst
Chapman's Institutional Research Office (CIRO)
(714) 744-7834
Diversity and inclusion are very meaningful and powerful words. To me it means, to share our ideas, life experience, respect one another regardless of our skin color, race, point of views, lifestyle etc. In a diverse and inclusive environment people learn many cultural aspects, as well as, different perspectives and ways to see things from others.
I have been involved in diversity and inclusion efforts on campus for the last 3 years. One of my biggest passions is to serve as a co-chair for the People of Color Advisory Group. This have helped to create awareness and understand how to help people of color around campus. Every environment is different and I do believe in a support system. I try hard to serve as a support system every time I help a student, staff or faculty member of color on campus.
Personally I have enjoyed to see more representation of minorities around campus not only in the student body but with faculty and staff. In addition it is good to feel visible and included, not to be afraid of expressing yourself and be who you are around other people. Chapman initiatives about diversity and inclusion made me aware of many issues and the work that needs to be done in order to call Chapman a diverse institution. There are many ways to help with diversity and inclusion around campus. Being a part of the people of color advisory group has helped me to better understand the needs of other ethnic groups and how much we can learn from each other. Not to mention the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and how to be aware of how to approach and understand others.
photo of Susan Sams
Susan Sams
International Student & Scholar Services
Center for Global Education
(714) 997-6829
As an international student advisor in the International Student & Scholar Services office my entire focus centers around our diverse population of international students and professors/research scholars (exchange visitors). We have students and professors/research scholars from approximately 68 countries and they embody a wide variety of cultures.
It is my goal to educate the Chapman community regarding our amazing group of international students and exchange visitors who are present on the Chapman campus. By providing cultural sessions, inviting students to speak at a culture centered class lecture and highlighting diversity at our annual International Food Fair, I hope to get the word out that this diverse group is present on our campus and there is much we can all learn from them.
We welcome you and are excited about the wealth of knowledge and culture you bring to our campus.
photo of Nancy Brink
Nancy Brink
Director of Church Relations
Fish Interfaith Center
Ever student, faculty and staff person has a unique and special story. I have a heart for those who society has placed on the margins, particularly LGBTQIA people and our female students who are learning to navigate in patriarchy. Our world is increasingly diverse—enclaves of (assumed) homogeneity are being disrupted by globalization, the internet and intentional building of inclusive community. Students need to graduate from Chapman with a broad knowledge base for human diversity and have skills in negotiating life with a wide variety of people. We need to help all faculty and staff be fully prepared to mentor our students for this new reality. We need to model openness, trust and disagreement without being disagreeable.
I promote interfaith awareness, sometimes even teaching a workshop on this issue. I have been a Safe Space trainer and teach a Bible study each semester looking at the 6 “clobber” passages in the Bible that are used by some Christians to denigrate LGBTQIA people. I continue to do further my own education, reading books, seeing films and entering discussions on diversity topics such as race, sexism and privilege.
We are not perfect, but we are committed to working on the intersections of different identities and finding ways to support those who live without privilege. We promote training and being involved outside of the workplace.
photo of Justin Koppelman
Justin Koppelman
Assistant Director of Cross-Cultural Engagement and Civic Engagement Initiatives
Student Engagement
(714) 997-6894
If we are to fulfill our mission of providing an educational experience that leads to inquiring, ethical, and productive lives as global citizens, I believe creating spaces for ongoing reflection of who we are and aspire to be as individuals and communities is essential. The development of active and informed global citizenship requires learning about the experiences of others, developing our capacities for working and dialoging across difference, and responding to the ways in which economic, environmental, social, and political issues impact communities in different ways. In supporting the University’s efforts to prepare students for lives of civic engagement and responsibility, I see diversity and inclusion as a significant part of that goal. For me, implicit in the idea and act of civic engagement, is the need to see ourselves as part of a larger social fabric and developing the knowledge, skills, and motivations for responsible engagement in our diverse society.
I work to advance diversity and inclusion through fostering connections with our local community; overseeing programmatic efforts designed to support learning about economic, environmental, social, and political issues on local, national, and global scales; and providing direct advising and support to students as they learn more about who they are, who they aren’t, and who they want to be. We have a great deal of capacity as an institution and with that comes incredible opportunities to work with our local communities to address serious community problems and needs. This often involves intentional listening and learning about the root causes and disproportionate impact of those problems/needs and developing capacity for working with diverse communities. In our programmatic efforts, we strive to do the best we can to leave students with bits of new knowledge and new peer-to-peer relationships that can support their active inquiry into issue of diversity, inclusion, and civic engagement. Direct support often includes conversing with students to process experiences of difference, think critically about the ways in which they show up as members of their communities, and further their resilience to barriers they encounter in life.
I would want our community to be mindful of the necessary connection between diversity and inclusion and our mission of global citizenship. Our mission cannot be fulfilled fully if we do not practice and model ways of engaging diversity and holding the tension that comes with it in life-affirming ways. Whether working to create a welcoming campus community, a more just national community, or a more conscious global community, the knowledge about, skills for, and value for diversity and inclusion are essential.
no photo available for Elizabeth  Wilson
Elizabeth Wilson
Counselor, Student Psychological and Counseling Services
I am the co-advisor of the Active Minds club on campus. Active Minds is an organization with a particular commitment to diversity, as it increases awareness of mental health issues in college students. A good description of this national organizations function is clearly labeled in the mission statement: “As part of our mission, we require of ourselves a commitment to work toward the recognition and elimination of prejudice and discrimination, especially those that have traditionally impinged upon culturally competent mental health services” In many ways, the Active Minds mission statement describes exactly what we represent at Student Psychological Counseling Services. Active Minds puts on events like “Furry friends for finals” in which we bring dogs on campus in order to provide stress reduction for students who are entrenched in exam-related stress. We also have an event called “Send Silence Packing” to raise awareness about suicide prevention and recognizing signs of mental health issues.
I am a full time staff member at Student Psychological Counseling Services. As a part of my work, I see a wide variety of individuals, each of whom arrives with their own particular concerns or struggles. I strive to make sure that each of my clients is treated as unique individual. In addition to offering brief individual therapy, I have also lead group therapy and workshops. Here, students are given an opportunity to express themselves, as well as learn from the similar or dissimilar experiences of their peers. We see students from every different demographic represented here at Chapman University. My consistent goal is to make myself accessible to any and every student on campus.
Certain groups of the population at Chapman underutilize our services, so my colleagues and I engage in outreach around campus in order to help let every group on campus know that we’re here…and that we’re enthusiastic about helping! The clients seen by our staff at SPCS come from all walks of life, and mental disorders do not discriminate based on age, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. We serve every group represented on campus. As a licensed therapist, I regularly engage in continuing education and conferences that keep my therapeutic knowledge current. I have also been trained through Safe Space. I have additional training and certification in working with people with PTSD or other trauma related issues. I have played a role in orientation activities and discussions with RA’s in order to bring further awareness about the fact that we at SPCS are here to assist all of the students who would benefit from our services.