Two members of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania community have been named to take on leadership of IUP’s Frederick Douglass
Institute for Intercultural Research.
Malaika Turner, director of Residential Living in IUP’s Division of Student Affairs, and Sibyl West, an associate professor in the Department of Counseling in the Division of Academic Affairs, will succeed Veronica Watson, the Institute’s founding director, starting in the fall 2018 semester.
“Dr. Watson has done a superb job as director of IUP’s Frederick Douglass Institute,” IUP Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Timothy Moerland, said. “She has not just sustained this important initiative at IUP, but has worked to grow the
program in new and unique ways to benefit our university community—our students, faculty, and staff—and the entire Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. She has worked tirelessly as an advocate and educator on issues of diversity and inclusion.
She deserves a great deal of thanks for her work and her commitment to IUP and this important initiative.
“I am very pleased that Dr. Turner and Dr. West are willing to take on leadership roles for this program. They have big shoes to fill, but I feel confident that they will do an excellent job.”
The Frederick Douglass Institute for Intercultural Research is an interdisciplinary, campus-wide body that serves as a resource for information and advocacy on issues related to equity and diversity at IUP and supports students and faculty of color.
There are several components within the Institute:
Overall, between 50 to 60 students participate in initiatives that are part of the IUP Frederick Douglass Institute. Additionally, the FDI reaches many more through their attendance at various campus wide events, like the Issues of Diversity series and
research colloquia offered by Douglass Fellows. The office for the Institute is located in the Humanities and Social Sciences building.
In 2010, Watson was named as the convener for the Frederick Douglass Institute Collaborative for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, building on a decade of experience as
leader of IUP’s Frederick Douglass Institute. She will continue in this role.
“It’s been my baby for a long time, so the transition is a bit bittersweet,” Watson said. “But it is time. I am really looking forward to the new energy and new directions that new directors will bring. I’ve had amazing colleagues who have really stepped
up and have done great work with students in the Frederick Douglass Institute programs. I feel very confident that I am passing the torch to two talented people who will treat this as their own and help it to continue to grow.”
Watson is a professor in IUP’s Department of English and is director of the Graduate Studies in Literature and Criticism program. Watson has also served as dean’s associate for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at IUP (2003–07) and on the
Board for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council.
As a graduate faculty member in the Department of English, Watson teaches, publishes, and presents on a range of literature focusing on 20th-century African American literature,
Southern American literature, and critical race and critical whiteness studies. She is author of The Souls of White Folks: African American
Writers Theorize Whiteness (University Press of Mississippi, 2013) and the co-editor of Unveiling Whiteness in the
21st Century: Global Manifestations, Transdisciplinary Interventions (Lexington Books, 2014). She has secured more than $400,000 in internal and external funding to support her scholarship and programming. She is the recipient of IUP’s University
Senate Distinguished Faculty Award for Service (2002) and the Hilda Richards Award for Commitment to Diversity (2003).
“I am really excited about the opportunity to co-direct the Frederick Douglass Institute,” Turner said. “I believe the co-directorship will provide a rich blend of knowledge, experience, and energy from both directors that will move the FDI to the next
level. With retention and persistence at the forefront of university priorities, one of our goals is to ensure that FDI contributes to this charge, as well as impacting students at IUP on all academic levels.”
Turner joined IUP as a staff member in 1998 as a residence director. Her dissertation focused on technology’s impact on the learning experience of at-risk digital natives, and, having
been admitted to IUP as an at-risk student, her scholarly interest includes the role of motivation and mentoring of underrepresented students at predominantly white institutions.
Turner was a residence director for eight years and was one of the original staff members for the Living Center on the
Punxsutawney campus, where she worked as the Student Life coordinator. Following that work, she worked at the Career and Professional Development Center before returning to the Office of Housing, Residential Living, and Dining.
Turner has worked on various committees at IUP and facilitated many workshops and presentations. She sits on the University-Wide Retention and Persistence Committee and served on the Task Force on
Undergraduate Retention and Persistence (TOUR). She recently was selected to participate in the 20th annual Regional Entry Level Institute, a national professional development seminar.
“I'm thrilled to be co-directing the Frederick Douglass Institute,” West said. “This will be such a unique opportunity to help foster the growth and development of multicultural and diverse
undergraduate scholars and future faculty. Dr. Turner and I have a vision of what we would like for FDI at IUP, and I’m just excited to get started.”
West joined the IUP faculty in fall 2009 and teaches a variety of courses within the Department of Counseling. Her scholarship involves issues of diversity and multiculturalism in many different environments, including counselor education programs. Over
the last few years, West has devoted much of her service to the College of Education’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, which worked to establish a diversity action plan within the college.