DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > DePaul names 2023-24 Presidential Diversity Fellows

DePaul names 2023-24 Presidential Diversity Fellows


St. Vincent's Circle
(DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

DePaul President Robert L. Manuel has named two faculty members as Diversity Fellows for the 2023-24 academic year. Stephen Haymes, associate professor in the College of Education, and Jess Westbrook, associate professor in the Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media, will work closely with senior leadership during a one-year term beginning in September.

“The Diversity Presidential Fellows Program is one of many ways DePaul affirms its commitment to engage questions of equity, allowing us to contribute scholarly research to these efforts," says President Robert L. Manuel. Stephen and Jess have proposed two intriguing projects that will extend our understanding on how to improve the DePaul experience, and I look forward to working with them in the coming year.”

Entering its fifth year, the Diversity Fellowship program has included initiatives focused on supporting working parents, increasing Latinx enrollment, retention and graduation, tightening the university's focus on diversity, equity and inclusion and educating incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students.

Fellows bring substantive understanding and intellectual rigor to discussions around DePaul's strategic diversity, equity and inclusion priorities through research and other activities.

Stephen Haymes

Stephen Haymes
(Photo courtesy of Stephen Haymes)

Haymes will use his fellowship year to assist DePaul in understanding the contemporary experience of DePaul’s Black, Catholic students, staff and faculty; increase its understanding of and connection to anti-black racism; create an intercultural campus community of inclusion and hospitality that reflects Black Catholic worldview and traditions, religious expressions and intellectual thought; build a pipeline for recruitment of Black Catholic students, faculty and staff; and contribute to diasporic intellectual thought traditions of Afro-Catholicism in the Americas and its significance for reimagining liberatory pedagogies.

Overall, the project aims to gain knowledge regarding the lived reality of DePaul’s diverse community to help make it a more inclusive and equitable university.  “It’s important to elevate the presence, visibility and inclusion of intellectual, spiritual and religious expression of Black Catholics,” says Haymes. 

Haymes has been at DePaul for 30 years and recently served as a member of the Task Force Addressing the Vincentian Relationship to Slavery. “I am dedicated to this institution and am animated by Vincentian and Catholic social teaching that promote a united, inclusive and intercultural vision and purpose,” Haymes says.

Jess Westbrook

Jess Westbrook
(Photo courtesy of Jess Westbrook)
Westbrook, who uses they/them pronouns, will use their fellowship year to explore the visible and invisible features and factors of lived experience and how individuals and groups navigate, and respect, social complexity through etiquette or other means.

“I’m interested in identity, vulnerability, presence, real realities, intersectionality and positionality in scenarios involving people,” Westbrook says. “What I will explore during this year is, what do we know about each other, what can we know about each other and how do individuals and groups navigate the complexities of intersectionality in social interaction and social spaces?”

Westbrook explains this work is particularly relevant in the age of evolving technologies that tend to repro​​​duce, amplify and exacerbate dominant paradigms and social inequities.