Meet Our Guest Speakers

Socioeconomics in Higher Education: How can educators combat the impact of income inequality on college student achievement?

On July 2015, Instructional Development hosted a second Faculty Institute on the subject of culturally responsive teaching.

The gap between the college graduation rates of high and low income students in the United States is widening. In 2013, students from the highest income families were 8 times more likely than individuals from low-income families to obtain a bachelor’s degree by age 24 (77 percent vs. 9 percent). (“Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States, 45 Year Trend Report, 2015” by the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education). In this Faculty Institute, faculty had the opportunity to learn about and discuss the impact of socioeconomics on student success and educational achievement. Faculty were asked to reflect on their current teaching practices and identify ways to apply cultural competence and growth mindset in their classes.

Participants in this Faculty Institute:

  • Examined the impact of socioeconomics on student success/educational achievement.
  • Incorporated principles of cultural competence to create an inclusive learning environment for students from diverse backgrounds.
  • Explored strategies to promote a growth mindset which fosters hard work, grit, a desire for continual improvement, and persistence in the face of failure.
  • Articulated ways in which these ideas can be incorporated into current teaching practices.
Gina Tillis

Gina English Tillis M.A.


Gina English Tillis is the First Year Experience Coordinator at Huston-Tillotson University. She has a passionate calling for teaching Sociology, Anthropology and Ethnic Studies and developing educational empowerment programs. She received her M.A. from Grambling State University wherein she studied Sociology of Education and continued her graduate studies in critical pedagogy at California State University, San Marcos. She champions the idea that education is ultimately the practice of freedom and that all students deserve an engaging, enlightening, and empowering pedagogy that helps them envision the relationship between knowledge facilitated in the classroom, who they are, and who they ultimately aspire to become.

Interview with Gina English Tillis (video)

Dr. Brain James Stone

Dr. Brian James Stone


Dr. Stone is Assistant Professor of English at Huston-Tillotson University. He has a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and has been teaching college composition for 10 years. In this time, Dr. Stone has taught at large state universities, community colleges, online universities, and most recently at a historically black university. These experiences have led Dr. Stone to take an interest in composition pedagogy for students from traditionally under-represented and marginalized backgrounds, including students with learning challenges, minority students, and students from lower income backgrounds.

Interview with Dr. Brian J. Stone (video)


Dr. Richard Griffiths


Richard Griffiths is an Institutional Studies Coordinator in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Accountability. Dr. Griffiths holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Kansas State University, and has worked in institutional research and planning at Kansas State University and the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. His present research interests include survey design, student engagement, psychosocial factors contributing to student success, and effective teaching practices.


Daniel Ohanlon


Daniel Ohanlon is an Institutional Planning and Assessment Coordinator in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Accountability. Daniel recently completed Leadership Austin Essentials training and is working on his MS in Business Management and Leadership at Tarleton A&M. He also holds a BS in Planning from the University at Buffalo. Daniel currently manages the strategic planning and related accountability and assessment processes for the ACC District. This includes mapping and cross-walking ACC’s plan to all State-wide plans. Previously, Daniel has experience in economic development, community planning, urban planning, and project management.


Leah Figueroa


Leah Figueroa is an Institutional Studies Coordinator in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Accountability. Leah holds a Master's in Teaching from the University of the Incarnate Word. Leah has worked in various research areas, including clinical research at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, institutional research and planning at the University of the Incarnate Word, and big data analytics with the state of Texas. Leah's current research interests include improving student success, with an emphasis on increasing minority student retention and graduation, and the impact of SES on student outcomes.


Gale Spear


Gale Spear, Professor of Child Care and Development, has taught at ACC since 1980. She has served on numerous ACC committees and serves this year as a member of the Academic and Campus Affairs Council and the Faculty Development Advisory Group. She is a recipient of ACC's Servant Leadership Award, the John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Award, and was selected as ACC’s nominee for the 2014 Piper Professor award for outstanding achievement by a college faculty member in Texas. In 1999 Spear established Teacher TRAC, which provides scholarships to area child care professionals enrolling in child development courses at ACC. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and a peer reviewer for the NAEYC’s Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation Program. She has provided early childhood teacher training in India and Thailand. As a longtime advocate for young children, their families and their teachers, she has worked extensively to create equal access to quality early childhood education for children throughout the greater Austin area.


Glynis Christine


Glynis Christine has taught at ACC since 2003. She has a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas State University. As a result of the diverse nature of her education and training, she teaches sociology, psychology, and human development courses at the College. As a radical constructivist, her goal as an educator is to "get out of the way" and allow student-learners to build on their own understanding of the experiential learning opportunities that she provides.


Dr. David Yeager


David Yeager is an experimental developmental psychologist in the department of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Formerly, he was a middle school English teacher and a K-8 PE coach for a school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He also coached middle school basketball and ran the after-school book club. In his academic research, he examines the causes of and solutions to adolescent health problems such as bullying, depression, academic achievement, cheating, trust, or healthy eating. He often focuses on adolescent transitions—the transition to middle school, the transition to high school, or the transition to college—as a place where there is great opportunity (and risk) for young people’s trajectories. In May 2014, Dr. Yeager’s research was profiled in the New York Times Magazine (“Who Gets to Graduate?”). In May, 2013, Dr. Yeager chaired and co-hosted a national summit on mindset interventions at the White House Office for Science and Technology Policy. This event led to the launch and co-chairing of the “Mindset Scholars Network,” an interdisciplinary research network housed at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), where he was a 2014-2015 fellow. There are two flagship projects of the Mindset Scholars Network: the “National Mindset Study,” a test of mindset interventions in a national probability sample of high schools, and the “College Transition Collaborative,” which will test social-belonging interventions with all matriculating students at several colleges. Dr. Yeager is a William T. Grant Foundation scholar, a Fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a Faculty Research Associate at the UT Population Research Center, and a Faculty Research Fellow at the UT Dana Center. His research has earned awards from the Spencer Foundation, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the Society for Research on Child Development, the American Educational Research Association, Division 7 of the American Psychological Association (APA), the APA Science Directorate, and the International Society for Research on Aggression.


Stephanie Reeves


Stephanie Reeves is a MA candidate at the University of Texas, Austin, and will be beginning her PhD at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario this fall. Prior to beginning graduate school, Stephanie received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Colorado, at Boulder, and then subsequently worked for two years as a project coordinator at Stanford University. Her work examines the barriers to achievement and persistence among students who are members of stigmatized or underrepresented groups, with the ultimate goal of developing interventions to reduce underperformance among these groups.


Teresa Ashley


Teresa Ashley began her career as a faculty librarian at Austin Community College in the beginning of the fall semester 1989, and received recognition for 25 years of service in October 2014. Before moving to Texas, Teresa was a Patients' Librarian at the Mayo Clinic St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, MN, a reference library at the Rochester Public Library, and served as a Young Adult Services Librarian—one of her several library positions--in the Chicago Public Library System. She grew up in Chicago, receiving her B.A. in philosophy from the University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus and her Master's in library science from the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Library Science. Teresa was appointed Diversity Steward for ACC Library Services in 2011 and has had various projects related to that position. She maintains a Diversity guide that covers the dimensions of diversity and lists links to materials—books, articles, videos, etc.—related to the topics. During AY 2012-13, she received a grant, the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys, from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. This grant provided money for an online database subscription, a collection of materials and support for programming. She has been active with the ACC Cultural Competence Work Group and other diversity-related organizations and programs.


Roseana Lahti, LMSW


Roseana has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Master of Social Work-Direct Practice from Texas State University. She is a Licensed Master's Social Worker (LMSW). Within the past 15 years of working in social services, she has had the privilege to serve diverse and economically disadvantaged populations as a children's case manager with Hill Country MHMR, as a family case manager for the Salvation Army's Women & Children's Shelter, as a career development counselor at Gary Job Corp, and serving as a high school social worker with Comal ISD. These experiences then lead her to ACC working for the Support Center program as the Special Populations Specialist for the past four-and-a-half years. She started working at the Eastview Support Center office and then had the opportunity to transfer to the Highland Support Center in the fall 2014 when the campus opened.

Faculty Institute on the subject of Culturally Responsive Teaching

On July 28-29, 2014, Instructional Development hosted a Faculty Institute on the subject of culturally responsive teaching, which included live presentations by national experts in this field, practical tips and strategies, and resulted in outcomes directly related to enhancing the classroom environment and student success. The Institute challenged ACC faculty to explore:

  • the impact of cultural considerations in the higher education classroom/environment and curriculum on student performance and retention;
  • ways in which faculty can connect with students of diverse cultures and backgrounds to help them succeed;
  • simple changes faculty can implement to make a difference, and how to get started.
Dr. Geneva Gay

Dr. Geneva Gay


Geneva Gay is Professor in Curriculum & Instruction College of Education at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is the recipient of the 1990 Distinguished Scholar Award, the 1994 Multicultural Educator Award, and the 2001 Outstanding Writing Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). She is internationally known for her scholarship in multicultural education, and as a specialist in curriculum design and intersections of culture, ethnicity, and learning. (Laser Website)

Research Areas

Multicultural Education, curriculum theory, and the intersections of culture, race, ethnicity, teaching, and learning.

Activities & Honors

Geneva Gay is the recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award, presented by the Committee on the Role and Status of Minorities in Educational Research and Development of the American Educational Research Association and the first Multicultural Educator Award presented by the National Association of Multicultural Education. Her book Culturally Responsive Teaching received the 2001 Outstanding Writing Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). She received the 2004 W.E.B. DuBois Distinguished Lecturer Award presented by the Special Interest Group on Research Focus on Black Education of the American Educational Research Association and the 2006 Mary Anne Raywid Award for Distinguished Scholarship in the Field of Education, presented by the Society of Professors of Education. She also is a member of the authorship team of the Scott Foresman New Elementary Social Studies Series.

Interview with Dr. Geneva Gay (video)

Dr. Van Reidhead

Dr. Van Reidhead


Van Reidhead’s commitment to diversity research and education stems from his up-bringing on the Northern Ute Reservation in Utah, where he grew up in a mixed community of Native American and Euro-American children. Graduate studies in prehistoric archaeology and biological and cultural anthropology created a platform for a life of work devoted to diversity. Work in Brazil, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, South Africa, Ivory Coast, Belgium, Mexico, Morocco, China, and with urban Native American and reservation communities create an ever-evolving framework for his work in diversity.


Ph.D. Anthropology Indiana University-Bloomington 1976

B.A. Mass Communication Brigham Young University 1971


East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (ESU)

2010 - present Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (Chief Academic Officer).

  • Implemented full annual “closing the loop” student learning assessment at ESU, including a cultural and global citizenship general education competency.
  • Established partnerships with universities in China, Costa Rica, and Germany to provide international experiences for students and to increase the international student populations on campus. Established centers for diverse adult learners to complete 4-year degrees in Center City Philadelphia and downtown Bethlehem-Allentown, Pennsylvania.

University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA)

2005-2010 Dean, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Professor of Anthropology.

  • Established the Integrated Global Knowledge and Understanding Collaboration.
  • Established new masters programs in Global Security Studies and in Board Certified Behavioral Analysis to train professionals to educate people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Established international programs in China, Morocco, Mexico.
  • Established the Community Historic Archaeology Project with Schools (CHAPS) to engage K-20 students in the discovery, understanding, preservation, and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the Rio Grande Valley Region of South Texas

University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) 1976-2005

  • Assistant/Associate Professor of Anthropology and Education; Chair Faculty Senate; Chair Department of Anthropology for 15 years.
  • Founded/directed, Center for Human Origin and Cultural Diversity (CHOCD) to teach cultural competency to grades 4-12, college students, and in-service school teachers.
  • Provided diversity workshops for leaders across the University of Missouri System.

Grants Awarded:

  • Federal $2,724,000 (principal investigator), $18,796,000 (total including as co-principal)
  • Non-federal 614,942 (principal investigator), $673,000 (total including as co-principal)

Publications and Conference Papers:

  • Books and Monographs 4 National Newsletters and Popular Publications 14
  • Refereed Articles 17 Conference Papers 36

Legislative Action:

  • Leadership in passage of Missouri’s 1987 Uniform Unmarked Burial Law (with Mary Ann Reidhead, who authored the law, and Native American leaders), providing protection for Native American and other previously unprotected graves and cemeteries in Missouri.

Diversity Consultancies:


  • United States Postal Service, national leadership development; Missouri Department of Corrections, statewide leadership development; St. Louis Science Center leadership
  • .


  • Interdisciplinary, intercultural, and international competency standards for national intelligence analysts, funded by National Geospatial Agency.
  • Interdisciplinary and intercultural competency standards for professionals in security operations, for the national Security Operations Directorate in the Office of the Director or National Intelligence, with leadership from AT&T and Boeing Corp.

Interview with Dr. Van Reidhead (video)

Link to resources from Institute to Culturally Responsive Teaching website

Back to Culturally Responsive Teaching