Drs. Margie Gill, left, and Amanda Lammers will lead the development of short- and longer-term strategies for diversity, equity and inclusive excellence at Brenau University. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau commits to leading in diversity, equity and inclusive excellence

Jun 19, 2020
Anne A. Skleder

I have been writing and creating video messages over the past few weeks to communicate to the Brenau community how I see, hear and stand with our black students, faculty, staff and alumni during this very difficult time.

The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and far too many more have led thousands to stand up, speak up and speak out to ensure that attention is turned to and focused on ending the enduring systematic racism in our country and in our world.

And this awareness is critical. But this awareness is only the first step. The next step is action. I am very proud of our university community, but there is no community and no institution immune to the long-standing evil of racism. There is no community and no institution that is “finished” with this important work. I am committed to ensuring that Brenau is moving forward to make sure that we are not only a campus in which racism is not tolerated, but, as Ibram X. Kendi teaches us, we are truly an anti-racist campus. And, I am committed to Brenau becoming a leader in diversity, inclusion and equity.

Over the past few weeks I have attended multiple meetings and consulted with faculty, staff, members of our Board of Trustees, other leaders at Brenau and colleagues at other institutions. Thus, I am making the following announcement: I am pleased that two university leaders have enthusiastically agreed to my request to serve as our Co-Chief Diversity Leaders and Co-Chairs of the Working Group on Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence at Brenau University. This group will include members from across the university, including students and alumni.

Drs. Margie Gill and Amanda Lammers will lead the development of short- and longer-term strategies for diversity, equity and inclusive excellence at Brenau University. To ensure this is a sustainable effort, these strategies will inform the university’s new strategic plan, which is the document that will drive Brenau’s direction and mission for the foreseeable future.

Drs. Gill and Lammers are charged with working collaboratively with the group to develop a plan that includes assessing and making recommendations that will move us toward this goal in all areas n of the university. The first assignment is to report the group’s preliminary recommendations to me by Sept. 30. This effort includes but is not limited to:

  • Recommending racial equity education for each segment of the university.
  • Proposing a plan to ensure we are increasing diversity, defined broadly in all areas of the university.
  • Facilitating a series of Brenau Conversations around issues of diversity, equity and inclusive excellence for students, faculty, staff and alumni.
  • Developing a process to consult on issues of race/ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, disability, class, sexual orientation and other salient identities and experiences for students, faculty, staff and alumni.
  • Recommending ways to make our curriculum more diverse, equitable and inclusive.
  • Recommending ways to make our co-curricular and extracurricular activities more diverse, equitable and inclusive.
  • Making recommendations in other areas.
  • The group’s subsequent goals will be shaped by their preliminary recommendations. In addition to reporting directly to me, they will serve as advisors to me and provide regular updates to the Leadership Team and the Board of Trustees.

Please know that I do not see these efforts as the solution to long-standing societal ills around racism and other forms of bias but rather as an important step for us at Brenau.

My heart continues to be with our black students, faculty, staff and alumni on this Juneteenth, as we recognize the emancipation of enslaved people.

Co-Chief Diversity Leaders:
Dr. Margie Gill is a proud 2010 graduate of the Clinical Counseling Psychology master’s program at Brenau University. Gill is a board-certified licensed psychotherapist and nationally credentialed clinical supervisor for students and mental health professionals. She has been with the university for the past 11 years and is currently an associate professor, assistant clinic director at the Brenau Center for Counseling and Psychological Services in Gainesville and Norcross, academic fieldwork placement coordinator, and community relations coordinator for the Psychology Department. She also serves as student advisor for both the Black Student Association and the Psi Chi National Honor Society.

Gill earned her Ph.D. in Counseling and Student Personnel Services from the University of Georgia. While attending UGA, she also earned a certification in diversity, equity and inclusion. Gill is the executive director of Tabitha’s House Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides direct-care services, mental health counseling and resources to survivors of human trafficking, victims of crime, underserved communities and marginalized populations. Gill also serves on the Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force work groups 7 (Survivors Supported And Protected) and 9 (Examining Domestic Adult Sex Trafficking).

Gill is also the vice chair for the DeKalb County Juvenile Mental Health Court (Journey program) advisory board. Gill conducts workshops, training and presentations to increase awareness of mental health, human trafficking, diversity, equity and inclusion. Internationally, she assists in developing schools in countries in Latin America and Africa and was recently appointed (along with Dr. Phillip Haynes) by the Minister of Education of Rwanda as the main researchers to explore factors that impact educational achievement for the entire country.

Gill is a professional member of the Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia, American Counselors Association, American Psychological Association, Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, and Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.

Dr. Amanda Lammers serves as the vice president of Student Services at Brenau, a position she has held for the past six years, and as the university’s Title IX coordinator. She previously served the university for seven years in a variety of roles within the Division of Student Services, including as dean of students and director of student life and leadership. Lammers oversees all activities, facilities and services for The Women’s College residential students as well as career counseling, Greek Life and wellness programs for all Brenau students. She serves on universitywide bodies, including the President’s Leadership Team, the COVID-19 Task Force and many others.

Lammers earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology from North Georgia College and State University (now the University of North Georgia), where she was a member of the Kappa Delta sorority. She also has a Master of Education from Clemson University. Lammers earned a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Alabama.

Lammers completed the council for the prestigious Independent College’s Presidential Vocation and Mission Program. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Delta Pi and the Southern History of Education Society (panel presenter 2018). Lammers is the president-elect of the Rotary Club of Hall County and serves on several university committees.