Equity Advisory Board
Issues of racism, classism and white supremacy plague teaching and learning practices in higher education and digital learning is not immune to the same systemic injustices. We believe that digital learning can serve as a catalyst for removing the structural barriers in classrooms but we also know that meaningful change and progress must be built in community and led by those who have been impacted the most by these barriers. The Every Learner Everywhere Equity Advisory Board is composed of national experts, faculty, and institutional leaders that share the lived experiences of Black, Latino, Indigenous, poverty-affected, and first-generation students. Board members will provide advice and guidance to the Network regarding strategic priorities related to advancing racial justice and socioeconomic equity through digital learning. The Board will also work collaboratively to provide leadership and expertise to the broader digital learning community through projects, joint authorship of resources, webinars and group discussion.
Pearl K. Brower, Ph.D.
President and CEO, Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation
Dr. Pearl Brower is the President and CEO of Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation (UIC) and served on the UIC board of directors since June 2021. In her previous role she served as the Senior Advisor for Alaska Native Success, Institutional Diversity and Student Engagement at the University of Alaska. She serves as the Alaska Native representative on the Alaska Postsecondary Access and Completion Network, serves on the Alaska Airlines Community Advisory Board, on the Foraker Group’s Operations Board as Chair, a board member on the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Board of Directors, and serves her village corporation as a Board Member for Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation. In October of 2020, Dr. Brower left the Presidency of Iḷisaġvik College, Alaska’s only Tribal College where she had been in administration at the college for 13 years, the last 8 serving as President. Dr. Brower earned a B.A. in Anthropology and a B.A. in Alaska Native Studies from University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2004. She earned her Masters in Alaska Native and Rural Development from University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2010 and her Ph.D. in Indigenous Studies, with an emphasis in Indigenous Leadership from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in May 2016. Brower is active around Alaska and beyond working to build and strengthen partnerships and access to digital learning to increase the percentage of Alaskans who complete postsecondary education. She was named one of Alaska’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2015, the First Alaskans Institute Young Alaska Native Leader in 2019, and received the 2019 YWCA Women of Achievement award. Dr. Brower grew up in both Barrow, Alaska and in northern California practicing a subsistence lifestyle in both areas. She and her husband, Jesse Darling, have two daughters, Isla and Sindri.
Frank Harris III, Ed.D.
Professor, Postsecondary Education, Co-Director CCEAL, Senior Strategist, Division of Campus Diversity and Student Affairs, San Diego State University
Dr. Frank Harris III is a professor of postsecondary education and co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL) at San Diego State University. In addition to serving as a professor and co-director of CCEAL, Harris is a senior strategist in the Division of Campus Diversity and Student Affairs. In this role, he advises the Division on efforts to institutionalize equity and designs innovative professional digital learning experiences to build equity mindedness among faculty and staff. Dr. Harris is best known for his expertise in racial [in]equity in postsecondary education and has made important contributions to knowledge about college student development and the social construction of gender and race in college contexts. His work prioritizes populations that have been historically underrepresented and underserved in education. Dr. Harris earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies at Loyola Marymount University, a master’s degree in speech communication at California State University, Northridge, and a doctorate in higher education from the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California.
Su Jin Jez, Ph.D.
Executive Director, California Competes
As Executive Director, Su Jin leads California Competes’ work to develop nonpartisan and financially pragmatic recommendations for improved higher education and workforce policies and practices across California. She has dedicated her career to closing equity gaps through digital learning in higher education and supporting marginalized students to, through, and beyond college through her work at California Competes. Prior to joining California Competes, she served as Associate Professor of Public Policy and Administration at California State University, Sacramento. She also served as the Director of the CSU Student Success Network, Academic Advisor for the California Executive Fellows Program, and Associate Director of the Sacramento State Doctorate in Educational Leadership. Su Jin is an accomplished researcher whose work appears in a variety of publications. She is committed to her community, sharing her expertise and lived experience with leaders across higher education and workforce systems. Su Jin was awarded the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning’s (CAEL) Pamela Tate Rise Award in 2021 for exemplary service to adult learners and forging connections between higher education, workforce development, and employer partnerships. She holds a PhD in education administration and policy analysis and an MA in economics from Stanford University. She received a BA in statistics and a minor in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
Antwan Jefferson, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Associate Clinical Professor, School of Education and Human Development, University of Colorado Denver
Antwan Jefferson is the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), and an Associate Clinical Professor in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver. As a faculty member, Antwan teaches in the Human Development and Family Relations program and the Urban and Diverse Communities concentration of the Leadership for Educational Equity EdD program. His teaching emphasizes achieving social justice, increasing an asset-based emphasis on diverse families, and supporting stronger and deeper community engagement in the schooling education of students through the pre-service training of helping professionals and teachers. His research considers the role of local communities in educational justice work, along with the ways that family and community members experience schools and organizations in their communities, including the implications of space, voice, and power in decision-making and not-for-profit organizations and schools. As an Associate Dean, Antwan works with faculty and staff to create a more just and inclusive professional culture, supporting pedagogy, scholarship, digital learning, and partnerships. In 2018, Antwan developed the Denver Journal of Education and Community (educationandcommunity.com), a community-sourced publication focused on educational equity in the Denver metro region.
Tracie D. Jones, M.Ed.
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Tracie is the assistant dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Her portfolio of work includes strategic planning, assessment, program development, facilitation, coaching and community engagement. In addition to her role at MIT she teaches a graduate course, Diversity and Inclusion Management at the Harvard Extension School. Prior to MIT, Tracie was the Director for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at the Harvard Graduate school of Education and served on the Diversity Council for Harvard University. Through her community spaces and students programs such as the Black Student Alliance, Tracie aims at improving student outcomes. She uses technology to document student accomplishments and to connect students to one another across the globe. In addition, Tracie built a digital learning community called Adventure Girlz to support Black girls attending Ivy League universities. Outside of work Tracie is an active water sports enthusiast and enjoys swimming, sailing and scuba diving. She serves on the Board of the Billion Oyster Project as the committee chair for Programs and Community Engagement. Through public education initiatives her team works on engaging the community in restoring oyster reefs to the New York Harbor.
Rolando R. Garza, Ed.D.
Director of the Center for Academic Technology, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Dr. Rolando R. Garza is currently serving as the Director of the Center for Academic Technology – in the division of Academic Affairs at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK). He leads a fantastic team and is honored to work with the “Dream Team,” helping push forward innovation at Javelina Nation. He has a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University, and his degree concentration area is in distance education and instructional technology. Rolando’s leadership continues at the Texas A&M System; he is on the Council for Academic Technology and Innovative Education (CATIE) Executive committee as Legislative Committee Chair. Rolando is presently serving on the Executive Board of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) as Chair of State Chapters since May 2019. Rolando has contributed to the culture of change in education, especially in digital learning throughout Texas and across the nation. He resides in Kingsville, Texas, with his beautiful wife, Dr. Araceli Garza, Academic Advisor IV for the Center for Student Success at TAMUK. They both have four beautiful children and are truly blessed every day.