Office of Equity & Inclusion

Anna Branch

Enobong (Anna) Branch, Associate Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer

Anna Branch is the Associate Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion and the Chief Diversity Officer. She reports to the Chancellor and provides strategic leadership for campus diversity efforts to promote an institutional culture at UMass Amherst that values and supports diversity, equity, and inclusion. She leads the Office of Equity and Inclusion, which champions the role of diversity in achieving institutional excellence and works with campus leaders and units to develop strategic goals and provides guidance on national best practices to accomplish them. She is responsible for nurturing a campus-wide culture of inclusion, developing an affirmative emphasis on workplace climate, and supporting diversity, inclusivity, and equity goals within schools and colleges. Prior to joining the Chancellor’s Office, she served as the Director of Diversity Advancement for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, where she promoted best practices for faculty searches to ensure a diverse pool of candidates and their equitable consideration during the hiring process. She also led the college’s efforts to build a diverse support network for faculty of color. Dr. Branch is also a Professor of Sociology and has published extensively on race and gender, work and occupations, and diversity in science.

Emmanuel AderoEmmanuel Adero, Director of Diversity Special Projects

Emmanuel Adero is the Director of Diversity Special Projects in the Office of Equity and Inclusion.  In this role, he is responsible for creating special and cross-campus initiatives to strategically advance a positive campus climate. He oversees and contributes to the analysis of Climate Survey data as well as data gathered from other institutional initiatives to ensure projects and resources created are data driven and responsive to the needs of the campus. He works with campus partners to build, maintain, and share resources (tools, training opportunities, etc.) to increase the capacity of the campus community to engage across difference, address emerging areas of needs, as well as promote understanding, awareness and engagement of diversity, inclusion and equity on the UMass Amherst campus. He manages the annual Campus Climate Improvement Grant program that funds a wide range of projects supporting undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, and faculty and serves as a liaison between the Office of Equity and Inclusion and Student Affairs and Campus Life, bridging the curricular and co-curricular space to promote a diversity of ideas and engagement of diverse populations across campus.

Amel AhmedAmel Ahmed, Director of Academic Equity & Inclusion Initiatives

Amel Ahmed is the Director of Academic Equity & Inclusion Initiatives in the Office of Equity and Inclusion.  In this role, she is responsible for creating and supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives to support an inclusive campus climate in the academic sphere. She leads faculty of color outreach and  engagement efforts to promote intellectual community and comradery. Amel supports diversity, inclusivity, and equity goals within schools and colleges, serving as a partner to diversity officers, and as a critical liaison to the Provost's office. She serves as a key resource for faculty search and recruitment efforts leading the Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Increase Diversity and Excellence (STRIDE) Faculty Recruitment Workshops to minimize bias and promote best practices to recruit for diversity and excellence across every stage in the search process. Amel works with campus partners to support inclusive teaching practices in the classroom and supports co-curricular initiatives to promote learning beyond the classroom walls. She is also an Associate Professor of Political Science and specializes in democratic studies, looking particularly at the politics of institutional choice in the process of democratization.

Ebru KardanEbru Kardan, Director of Diversity Communications

Ebru Kardan is the Director of Diversity Communications in the Office of Equity and Inclusion. In this role, she is responsible for designing, leading and overseeing production and integration of a wide range of multimedia communication materials. Ebru utilizes traditional, digital, visual, and emerging media to advance the impact of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at UMass Amherst celebrating it as a value and marking achievement of goals. She creates, leads and implements a cohesive, best practices communications strategy that ensures integration of communications technologies to support campus diversity initiatives, information-sharing with internal and external constituencies, and engagement among students, faculty and staff. Ebru also highlights programming and initiatives of units across UMass Amherst to promote understanding and engagement on issues related to diversity ensuring that new and consistent information is posted regularly, and that best practices and University standards are observed.

Kathy Forde

Kathy Forde, Chancellor’s Leadership Fellow

Kathy Forde is a Chancellor’s Leadership Fellow in the Office of Equity and Inclusion. In this role, she is responsible for assessing the landscape of communications pertaining to diversity campus wide in order to discern  where we are doing well, where improvements could be made, and where integration of existing efforts could better digitally signal our commitment to diversity. Kathy also supports ongoing initiatives to increase the capacity of the campus community to understand and engage across difference, supporting the creation and distribution of content that aims to promote intergroup understanding.

Melissa WootenMelissa Wooten, Chancellor's Leadership Fellow

Melissa Wooten is a Chancellor's Leadership Fellow in the Office of Equity and Inclusion and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her research lies at the intersections of organizations, education, and race. Much of her work centers on understanding how black communities use organizations to pursue freedom. She is the author of In the Face of Inequality: How Black Colleges Adapt (SUNY Press, 2015). She is currently writing a book that traces how 20th and 21st century philanthropists get involved in causes related to Black education. In her role as a Chancellor's Leadership Fellow, Melissa is developing programs to help faculty of color to receive developmental feedback and mentorship on their overarching research, teaching, and service goals. She is also workong on initiatives that will help faculty of color move advance their writing projects and help navigate the challenges associated with book writing.

Lajeanesse HarrisLajeanesse Harris, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives Coordinator

Lajeanesse Harris serves as the Equity and Inclusion Initiatives Coordinator. In this role, she is responsible for coordinating the day-to-day operations of the unit, providing strategic support and project management to move special and cross-college/unit initiatives forward. Lajeanesse serves as the liaison to campus units, building partnerships to support the success of University-wide diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.


Lori SadlerLori Sadler, Diversity Special Projects Assistant

Lori Sadler is the Diversity Special Project Assistant in the Office of Equity and Inclusion. In this role, she is responsible for providing administrative and project support for special and cross-college/unit initiatives related to diversity, equity and inclusion, including outreach and engagement with campus constituencies to ensure awareness of and connection to initiatives.




Nyudlia Araeva, ADVANCE Program Manager

Nyudlia Araeva is the ADVANCE Program Manager in the Office of Equity and Inclusion. In this role, she is responsible for coordinating the day-to-day operations of the ADVANCE Program, managing workflow to ensure the execution of grant activities, including strategic initiatives. She manages the logistical details of the ADVANCE program, ensuring all constituent and attendee needs are met. Nyudlia also serves as the ADVANCE Program liaison to Diversity Officers, Deans, and related staff on program activities




301 Whitmore Administration Building
181 Presidents Dr
Amherst, MA 01003