College Student Personnel program

Keynote Profiles

JQ Adams Dr. J. Q. Adams has spent his entire academic career studying and teaching about multicultural education and diversity. His degrees include a BA in philosophy from Michigan’s Grand Valley State University, an MA in alternative education from Indiana University, and a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He spent more than 25 years at Western Illinois University (WIU) where he created and taught undergraduate and graduate multicultural courses and was recognized for excellence as a teacher and a mentor. Dr. Adams also developed and taught three editions of the PBS course Dealing with Diversity, a course taught at over 150 colleges and universities across the United States. He co-edited the accompanying comprehensive anthology of works by notable scholars in the field. He also co-wrote a diversity-in-education grant awarded to WIU for ten consecutive years and created a ten-hour DVD course that provides an in-depth exploration of teaching and learning about diversity in the United States.  Dr. Adams has served as a multicultural awareness consultant for school districts, principals’ organizations, health care providers, social service agencies, and police departments, as well as the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroads.  Dr. Adams currently serves as founder and Director of ACE Consulting and received numerous awards, including the 2009 G. Pritchy Smith Multicultural Educator Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education, the WIU Provost's 2009 Excellence in Multicultural Teaching Award, and delivered the WIU Distinguished Faculty lecture in 2011. In 2008, the College of Education at Grand Valley State College (MI) recognized his accomplishments through its Distinguished Alumni Leadership in Education Award.

Rachel Wagner Dr. Rachel Wagner is Assistant Professor in the College of Education at Clemson University.  She has served as Associate Director of Residence Life for Iowa State University’s Department of Residence Life and also as Director of Residence Life at University of Dayton.  She earned her BA in American Studies and her MA in Education in College Personnel from the University of Dayton and completed her doctorate in Social Justice Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst after effectively defending her doctoral dissertation, Safe Space for Hard Conversations: College Men's Experience in Diversity Education.   Dr. Wagner is a leading social justice educator and consultant, having served as a junior faculty for the Social Justice Training Institute, a research assistant for a national study on Intergroup Dialogue for the Anti-Defamation League, a facilitator for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE), and has provided over 100 training workshops on diversity, social justice education and gender identity.  She has received numerous awards, including the Outstanding Research Award, Harry Canon Outstanding Professional Award, and the Coalition of Men and Masculinities Scholar in Residence for ACPA: College Student Educators International.

Facilitator Profiles

Chase CatalanoDr. D. Chase J. Catalano is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Studies and program coordinator of the College Student Personnel Program at Western Illinois University.  He received his doctorate in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Dr. Catalano’s research interests focus on higher education and student affairs, and broadly explore and institutional dynamics and structures for queer and trans* students, social justice, and intergroup dialogue.  He is co-editor of the forthcoming Masculinities in Student Affairs: Intersectional Theories in Practice (New Directions for Student Services) and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, 4th edition (Routledge). Chase was recently named by ACPA as an Emerging Scholar (2018-2020) and honored with the ACPA Annuit Coeptis Award (2017). Prior to joining WIU, Chase served as the Director of the LGBT Resources Center at Syracuse University.



Laila McCloud Laila McCloud is a doctoral student at the University of Iowa in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program. She currently serves as a Research Assistant in the Center for Research on Undergraduate Education (CRUE) at Iowa. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, Laila served as the founding director of the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement at Concordia University - Chicago and other roles within multicultural student affairs in the Chicagoland area. Laila's research interests broadly examine race and equity within higher education with a focus on the academic and social experiences of students at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). She earned her BA in Sociology and African and Black Diaspora Studies and her MEd in Counseling with a specialization in College Student Development both from DePaul University. She currently serves as the Equity and Inclusion Chair for the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) 2019 Convention in Boston, MA.  Laila was recently named a 2017 Graduate Student Rising Star by NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Region IV-E.


Vern Klobassa Dr. Vern Klobassa is the Director of Communication and Training for the Division of Student Affairs and member of the senior student affairs leadership team at the University of St. Thomas. He completed his masters degree at Western Illinois University in the College Student Personnel program and doctoral studies in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Critical Pedagogy at the University of St. Thomas.  His dissertation titled “Igniting the Flame: Exploring the Winding Journey of Social Justice Activist Identity Development” involved a qualitative grounded theory exploration of the experiences social justice activists and received the Lee Knefelkamp Resesarch Award from the Minnesota College Personnel Association. He is the past chair of the ACPA Coalition on Men & Masculinities and teaches in the Leadership in Student Affairs program at the University of St. Thomas.



Tracy Davis Dr. Tracy Davis is a Professor of College Student Personnel (CSP) at Western Illinois University. He has worked professionally in the areas of gifted education, student activities, Greek life, and career development. His research interests include social justice education, sexual assault prevention, identity development, men's development, and moral voice/orientation. In 2011, he became the founding Director of the Center for the Study of Masculinities and Men’s Development. Tracy's publications includes empirical studies in refereed journals, book chapters, and three books -- Advancing Social Justice: Tools, Pedagogies, and Strategies to Transform Your Campus (2013), Masculinities in Higher Education: Theoretical and Practical Considerations (2011), and Developing Social Justice Allies (2004). He has served on the Executive Council for the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), the Commission of Professional Preparation Directorate, and is Past-Chair of the Standing Committee for Men. Tracy frequently presents at professional conferences and consults with colleges and universities regarding men's development and social                                                            justice and is named by ACPA as a Senior Scholar.