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PATTERSON-STEPHENS, SHAWNA

VICE PRES/CHIEF DIVERSITY OFFICER

Biography

Dr. Shawna Patterson-Stephens serves as Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Central Michigan University where she offers leadership within the Office for Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

She earned her Ph.D. from Florida State University while studying higher education, earned her Master's in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University, and graduated from CMU with her Bachelor's while majoring in Sociology. She returns to CMU after most recently serving as the Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and the Director of the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Patterson-Stephens dedicated her career to studying and creating more equitable systems for people from all avenues of life. She works toward creating an environment, both on campus and in the surrounding community, with the aim of ensuring everyone achieves their true potential. Shawna is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the Links, Incorporated, the NAACP, and the National Council for Negro Women, & Jack & Jill of America.

In her spare time, Shawna makes space to practice yoga, paint, sew, crochet, and enhance her photography skills. She’s an avid traveler and hopes to visit several continents in the near future. Dr. Patterson-Stephens is also a podcast co-host and is currently writing a fictional novel.


More About SHAWNA PATTERSON-STEPHENS

Publications

Refereed Journal Articles

Lane, T. B., Patterson-Stephens, S., Foster Pierre, D., & Perez, E. (2022). Examining relationships that matter: A qualitative study of Black women in doctoral education. Journal of African American Women and Girls in Education, 2(!),27-46.

Patterson-Stephens, S. & Hernández, E. (2019). Hermandad: Sista’ scholar bonds for Black and Chicana women in doctoral study. Equity & Excellence, 52, 1-20.

Patterson-Stephens, S. (2019). [Review of the book Pathways to higher education administration for African American women, by T. Bertrand Jones, L. Scott Dawkins, M. M. McClinton, & M. Hayden Glover]. The Journal of Negro Education, 88(4), 515- 517.

Patterson-Stephens, S., Lane, T. B., & Vital, L. M. (2017). Black doctoral women: Exploring barriers and facilitators of success in graduate education. Academic Perspectives in Higher Education, 3(1), 1-35.

Cox, B. E., Reason, R. D., Tobolowsky, B. F., Brower, R., Patterson, S. M. & Luczyk, S. (2017). Lip service or actionable insights? Linking student experiences to assessment, accountability, and data-driven decision making in higher education. The Journal of Higher Education, 88(6), 835-862.

Patterson, S. M. (2016). Progression to womanhood: A framework on the identity development of Black American college women. Urban Education Research and Policy Annuals, 4(1), 65-81.

Bertrand Jones, T., Osborne-Lampkin, L., Patterson, S. M., & Davis, D. J. (2015). Creating a ‘safe and supportive environment’: Mentoring and professional development for recent Black female graduates. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 10, 483-499.

Parks, G. S., Ray, R., & Patterson, S. M. (2014). Complex civil rights organizations: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, an exemplar. Alabama Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review, 6, 125-166.

Patterson, S. M. (2013). Confessions of a “love & hip hop” junkie: Reality television and Black college women’s perceptions on dating. Journal of Student Affairs at New York University, 9, 38-48.

Refereed Book Chapters

Patterson-Stephens, S. & Njoku, N. R. (in press). What Black cyberfeminism teaches us about Black women on college campuses. In C. J. Porter, L. Thandi, & N. Croom (Eds.), Applying Black feminist epistemology and praxis: Narratives in and through the academy.

Lane, T. B., Perez, E., Patterson-Stephens, S., & Vital, L. M. (in press). Research as a site of resistance: A Phenomenological study of Black women in U.S. doctoral education. In E. Wynn (Ed.), The Black student’s pathway to graduate study and beyond: The making of a scholar. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Patterson-Stephens, S. (2020). Operationalizing influence and enacting change: A Black woman administrator’s guide to navigating politics in higher education. In D. Cobb[1]Roberts & T. Esnard (Eds.), Mentoring as critically engaged praxis: Storying the lives and contributions of Black women administrators (183-206). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Njoku, N. R., Patterson-Stephens, S., Patton Davis, L., Li-A-Ping, M., & Smith, E. (2018). Fantasy, reality, and what is needed: Debunking fantasy and centering truth in Black women college students’ experiences. In M. B. Sankofa Waters, V. E. Evans-Winters, & B. Love (Eds.), The Lauryn Hill reader (pp. 157-170). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing Group.

Griffin, K., Mwangi, C.A.G., & Patterson, S. M. (2017). The experiences of Black immigrant women transitioning into college: Moving in and moving through. In L. Patton Davis &N. Croom (Eds.), Critical perspectives of Black women in college (pp. 101-112). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Nonrefereed Publications (Abbreviated)

Patterson, S. M. (2016, January). Title IX compliance at women’s MSIs: Sharing best practices. MSIs Unplugged. Retrieved from https://msisunplugged.com/2016/01/19/title-ix-compliance-at-womens-msis-sharing-best-practices/

Patterson, S. M., Lane, T. B., Stephens, C. T., McElderry, J. A., & Alleyne, J. (2014, Summer). Parallels between the cases of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, and the Black male college experience. Developments. Retrieved from http://www.myacpa.org/article/parallels-between-cases-trayvon-martin-jordan-davis[1]and-black-male-college-experience

Patterson, S. M. (2013, Winter). Casting ebony pillars in the ivory tower: Ruminations of a sister in the academy. Developments. Retrieved from http://www2.myacpa.org/developments/winter-2013/women-as-leaders-a-caregivers[1]casting-ebony-pillars-in-the-ivory-towerreflections-of-a-sister-in-the-academyPatterson, S. M. (2013). Layers of critical engagement: Exploring the intersections of leadership, critical theory, and learning. About Campus, 18(1), 9-15.

Presentations

Refereed Papers at Conferences (Abbreviated)

 Patterson-Stephens, S. & Njoku, N. R. “‘Leaving it on the kitchen table’: Sustainable retention of Black women educators in higher education”. Paper presentation to the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Virtual Convention. April 2021.

Patterson-Stephens, S., Beatty, C., Espino Lira, M., Zamani Gallaher, E., & Vega, C. “Full participation through public scholarship: Podcasters of higher education”. Presidential session, topical paper presentation to the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). Virtual Convention. November 2020.

Patterson-Stephens, S. & Mahoney, A. “Letters of the spectrum: Informed engagement through embodied memory among Queer Black Greek letter organization members”. Research paper presentation to ASHE. Virtual Convention. November 2020.

Patterson-Stephens, S. & Camacho, T. “Recognizing and addressing implicit bias on college campuses: A case study approach”. Presentation to the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE). Philadelphia, PA. March 2019.

Vital, M., Lane, T.B., Patterson-Stephens, S., & Perez, E. “Professors behaving badly: Exploring sabotaging behaviors that impact Black women doctoral student persistence”. Topical paper presentation to ASHE. Tampa, FL. November 2018.

Patterson-Stephens, S. “Conjuring Black womanhood on predominantly White campuses in the wake of urban reality television”. Topical paper presentation to the World Educational Research Conference (WERA). Cape Town, ZA. August 2018.

Lane, T. B. & Patterson-Stephens, S. “A theory of programmatic influences on doctoral student success: An environmental perspective”. National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE). New Orleans, LA. May 2018.

Patterson-Stephens, S. & Haynes, C. “Power to the hashtag: Black women’s use of social media”. Topical paper presentation to ASHE. Houston, TX. November 2017.

Lane, T. B., Patterson-Stephens, S., Foster Pierre, D., & Perez, E. “Examining relationships that matter: A qualitative study of Black women in doctoral education”. Topical paper presentation to ASHE. Houston, TX. November 2017.

Bower, B., Lane, T. B., Patterson-Stephens, S., Strayhorn, T., & Jackson, J. “Where are the Black faculty in academia?” Panel presentation to ASHE. Houston, TX. November 2017.

Lane, T. B., Patterson-Stephens, S., & Vital, M. “Resistance and resilience: Examining the experiences of Black women in doctoral education”. Paper presentation to AERA. San Antonio, TX. April 2017.

Patterson-Stephens, S., Lane, T.B., & Jones, S. “Unveiling the hidden curriculum: Strategies for Black women in HESA”. Presentation to ACPA. Columbus, OH. March 2017.

Bertrand Jones, T., Patterson-Stephens, S., & Wu, Y. “Black senior scholar mentors on mentoring: How race and gender shapes mentoring motivations, benefits, and processes”. Paper presentation to AERA. San Antonio, TX. April 2017.

Patterson, S. M. “Drinking Black crunk feminist lemonade: The use of media in centering the experiences of Black college women in White spaces”. Topical paper presentation to ASHE. Columbus, OH. November 2016.

Patterson, S. M., Lane, T. B., & Jones, S. “On the market: Black women navigating the job search [Extended Session].” Presentation to ACPA. Montréal, Canada. March 2016.

Patterson, S. M., Lane, T.B., & Vital, L.M. “Black doctoral women: Challenges, opportunities, and strategies”. Topical paper presentation to ASHE. Columbus, OH. November 2016.

Bertrand Jones, T., Patterson, S. M., & Foster Pierre, D. “Senior scholars on early career professional development for Black women emerging scholars”. Presentation to AERA. Washington, DC. April 2016.

Invited Keynote, Plenary Presentations at Conferences, and Workshops (Abbreviated)

Patterson-Stephens, S. “Wellness at the intersection of culture and crisis”. Keynote to the McKinley Health Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Virtual Presentation. August 2021.

Patterson-Stephens, S. “Supporting and navigating student activist efforts in higher education contexts”. Lecture to The Center for Social Justice and Diversity Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Virtual Presentation. March 2021.

Mazzone, J., Patterson-Stephens, S., Arain, N., Carter-Black, J., Brown, J., Colomé, S., & Guerra, G. “Free speech and hate speech”. Panel presentation to the Illinois Student Government, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Virtual Presentation. February 2021.

Patterson-Stephens, S. “Participatory allyship in higher education”. Training workshop to Student Affairs Division Directors and Department Heads, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Virtual Presentation. February 2021.

Patterson-Stephens, S., Beatty, C., Tobias-Coleman, M., & Wall, V. “Chosen family: An unconditional love”. Panel presentation to the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Virtual Presentation. February 2021.

Patterson-Stephens, S. “Inclusive approaches to pedagogy”. Training workshop to the Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Virtual Presentation. February 2021.

Patterson-Stephens, S., Weathersby, D., Aguinaga, S., & Rose, I. “Nurturing Your Formal & Informal Networks”. Panel presentation to the Women’s Resources Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Virtual Presentation. December 2021.

Patterson-Stephens, S. “Addressing bias in the class: Pedagogy, praxis, and resources”. Training workshop to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Virtual Presentation. November 2020.

Patterson-Stephens, S., Grantham, K., Gaines, B., Johnston, C., Ramirez-Rosa, C., & Vasquez, P. “Politics embodied: Post election discussion”. Panel presentation to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Virtual Presentation. November 2021.

Patterson-Stephens, S., Atherley, M., & Whitner, N. “ACPA day: Black lives matter”. Panel presentation to the American College Personnel Association-College Student Educators International (ACPA). Virtual Presentation. October 2020.

Patterson-Stephens, S. “Inclusive excellence in counseling center services”. Plenary address to Dennis H. May Conference on Diversity Issues. Virtual Convention. September 2020.

Patterson-Stephens, S., Banks, W., Cockrell, P., Frazier, T., Holloman, D., Mull, D., and Wharton, S. “Campus Considerations Amid Multiple Crises: Senior Level Student Affairs Administrators”. Panel presentation to ACPA. Virtual Presentation. June 2020.

Banks, W., Todd, D. K., Patterson-Stephens, S., Walsh, T., & Romero-Aldaz, P. “Leadership in context: Complexity and nuance in divisional leadership roles”. Panel presentation to ACPA. Nashville, TN. March 2020.

Cockrell, P., Mull, D., Patterson-Stephens, S., Jude, W., & Lee, J. “Summit for Black professional senior leaders”. Panel presentation to ACPA. Nashville, TN. March 2020.

Beech, R., Huff, B., Patterson-Stephens, S., & Chung Kwan Fan, M. “Leading from reflection: Insights into a leadership journey”. Panel presentation to ACPA. Nashville, TN. March 2020.

Atherley, M., Patterson-Stephens, S., & Francis, S. “Pan African network Black&…”. Panel presentation to ACPA. Nashville, TN. March 2020.

Honors, Awards, and Prizes

Young Professionals Award, NAACP-Saginaw Branch (2021).

Forty Under 40, Central Illinois Business Magazine (2020).

Coalitions Advocate Award, American College Personnel Association (ACPA) (2020).

W. Hugh Stickler Memorial Award, Florida State University (FSU) (2015).

Outstanding Contribution to the Profession, Pennsylvania College Personnel Association (2015).

Seminole Torchbearers, FSU (2015).

Sherrill W. Ragans Leadership and Service Award, FSU (2015).

Standing Committee for Multicultural Affairs Research Award, ACPA (2014).

Hilliard-Sizemore Research Fellow, American Educational Research Association (AERA) (2014).

Outstanding Graduate Student, ACPA Standing Committee for Multicultural Affairs (2014).

Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Scholar Award, FSU Chapter (2013).

Outstanding Graduate Student, ACPA Pan African Network (2013).

Golden Key International Honour Society, FSU Chapter (2012).

Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, FSU Chapter (2012).

Melvene D. Hardee Center, Hardee Fellow, FSU (2012).

Fellows Society, FSU (2012).

Leslie N. Wilson-Delores Auzenne Award, FSU (2012).

Outstanding Dedication to Professional Service Award, ACPA Standing Committee for Graduate Students and New Professionals (2012).

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, The Center for Leadership & Social Change (2012).

Ronald E. McNair Scholar, Central Michigan University (2002).

  • Ph.D., Florida State University. Major: Higher Education.
  • M.A., Michigan State University. Major: Student Affairs Administration.
  • B.S., Central Michigan University. Major: Sociology.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA)

American College Personnel Association-College Student Educators International (ACPA)

American Educational Research Association (AERA)

Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE)

Jack and Jill of America Inc.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE)

National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA)

National Council for Negro Women, Incorporated (NCNW)

Sisters of the Academy (SOTA

The Links, Incorporated