Lee-Gonyea Named Mount’s New Chief Diversity Officer


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NEWBURGH – Mount Saint Mary College is proud to announce that Jenifer Lee-Gonyea, professor of Criminology, has been named assistant vice president of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Chief Diversity Officer.

She will begin the position on July 1, in place of her current duties as a professor.

“Our committee reviewed many candidates during their national search,” explained Jason N. Adsit, college president. “As it turns out, the best person for the job was right here on campus all along.”

In this role, Lee-Gonyea will be working to meet important DEI objectives of the Mount’s Strategic Plan. She will also be responsible for deepening the college’s ongoing efforts to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.

This includes:
* evaluating existing programs, policies, and practices, and developing new ones, to create a more cohesive and welcoming campus;
* helping to ensure fair and equitable treatment of everyone in the Mount community;
* managing compliance with federal and state regulations related to equity and inclusion;
* collaborating with college stakeholders to increase diverse representation;
* serving as a liaison to all college stakeholders to address DEI concerns;
* conducting assessments of DEI on campus and utilizing the results to determine issues, opportunities, and successes;
* advocating for changes necessary to promote DEI on campus;
* collecting reports of discrimination or harassment and creating opportunities for accountability and education for everyone in the college community;
* increasing the diverse representation of staff, faculty, and administrators, as well as building a more diverse student body.

Lee-Gonyea has been a respected and dedicated professor at the Mount since 2008. Among many other achievements, she was awarded the college’s Faculty Award for the 2019-2020 academic year and was selected as a Rockefeller Institute Fellow for 2020-2021.

Lee-Gonyea was instrumental in creating the Mount’s Criminology major, which explores the varied aspects of crime, from victimization and the criminal justice system to society’s response to criminals and the reasons people break the law. The full Criminology BA started at MSMC in 2016.

Her research focuses on the teaching and the use of restorative justice, with more recent interests centering on the availability of restorative justice to racial and ethnic minorities and women, as well as the applicability of restorative justice in addressing serious harms. Her research has been published in Deviant Behavior; International Journal of Crime, Criminal Justice, and Law; and the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice.

Lee-Gonyea holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from West Virginia University, a master’s in Criminal Justice from Marshall University, a PhD in Criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a professional certificate in Restorative Justice from Vermont Law School. Before earning her PhD, she worked at the Supreme Court of West Virginia. She also worked as an assistant professor of Criminal Justice at Texas International University in Laredo, Texas before joining the faculty at the Mount.

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