José A. Villalba, Ph.D., LCMHC
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer
José A. Villalba is the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer. Prior to his current position, José served as Senior Associate Dean for Faculty, Evaluation, and Inclusivity in the Office of the Dean of the College. He also is a professor of Counseling. He has been affiliated with the Department of Counseling since arriving at Wake Forest in 2011. Prior to arriving at Wake Forest, he was an associate professor of counseling at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, as well as an assistant professor of counseling at Indiana State University.
He teaches courses in multicultural counseling, school counseling, and health and human services. His research interests include health disparities in Latina/o youth, as well as Latina/o access to and completion of higher education options.
Over the past 4 years, since arriving in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, he has facilitated diversity and inclusion efforts for staff, faculty, and students, in an effort to address issues of access and equity across campus.
Eliese Ashline, B.A.
Eliese is the Administrative Assistant in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. She is a graduate of East Carolina University where she earned her B.A. in English in 2019. Since graduating from ECU, she has worked in both primary and higher educational settings in various capacities.
Eliese was raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and has a passion for helping students have the best experience possible throughout their time in University.
Savannah Baber, B.A.
Savannah serves as the Assistant Director for the Intercultural Center. She is a proud graduate of Wake Forest and earned her B.A. in English and Politics & International Affairs.
Savannah is passionate about advocating for students of color and increasing cultural competency within institutions of higher education. A native North Carolinian, she is excited to explore Winston-Salem and be a member of the community.
Nayasia Coleman serves as the Assistant Director of the LGBTQ + Center. They are a creative, healer, and community advocate that approaches their work through a trauma-informed and justice-focused lens. Although beginning her education as a Theatre & Performance Studies major, she graduated with a B.S. in Integrative Studies with concentrations in Gender & Women Studies and Writing from Kennesaw State University. She began her career in higher education as the Program Coordinator of LGBTQ Student Programs at KSU. This journey led them to create new possibilities, resources, and opportunities for those who also carry historically marginalized identities.
Her life’s work lies in uncovering what her ancestors believed before colonization looking deeply at spirituality, identity, relationships, and education. She is heavily influenced by her ancestral belief systems, her exploration of queer theory, and afrofuturism. She believes that art is a platform for change and carries her creativity with her everywhere she goes. In her spare time, she loves to perform, travel, and spend time immersed in nature.
TaShaun L. Elliott, M.S.
TaShaun began her career in secondary education in 2003 and has worked in higher education institutions since 2008 with positions in academic and student affairs.
She joined Wake Forest University in 2014 and worked in the Human Resources Department before joining the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in 2015. She is a part of the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Team and serves as the Director of Finance and Business Operations with financial reporting and budget oversight. She works closely with the Vice President to develop and enhance strategies to strengthen business practices and research while innovating successful projects to improve office support. She works closely with the Network for Inclusive Leadership and Engagement (formally CID) and the North Carolina Diversity & Inclusion Partners Council. Her work also includes extending communication efforts for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion through managing the ODI website, newsletter, and social media.
Elliott received a master’s degree in Adult and Higher Education with a concentration in Student Personnel Services from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management from Winston-Salem State University.
Kayla Lisenby-Denson, M.Ed., MBA
Kayla serves as the Inclusive Practice Manager in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Kayla is passionate about leveraging education and personal development opportunities in concert with organizational strategies to drive structural change related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and they have explored this work through multiple avenues. Professionally, prior to moving into the Inclusive Practice Manager role in 2022, Kayla spent a decade in LGBTQ+ support and inclusion work within higher education. Most recently, they worked with the WFU LGBTQ+ Center for six and a half years where they created the Developing Empowering and Affirming Communities (D.E.A.C.) Allies program, supported students in their identity and leadership development, and fostered an inclusive community for Deacs of all gender identities and sexual orientations. They also served on the executive board for the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals.
Additionally, Kayla graduated from the Wake Forest University Master of Business Administration program in fall 2021; during their studies, they focused on organizational behavior, DEI strategy, and leadership development.
Prior to joining the WFU community, Kayla earned their Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Alabama and their Master of Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of South Carolina.
Courtney Milhouse is the Administrative Assistant at the Intercultural Center.
Before coming to Wake Forest, she spent 11 years as the Front Office Secretary at North Point High School in Waldorf, MD. Courtney, a lifelong learner, attended Virginia State University and is currently continuing her studies in Office Management and Human Resources.
Raised in southern Maryland, she is excited to bring her passion for helping students realize their full potential to Wake Forest.
Malika Roman Isler, Ph.D., MPH, CDP®
Malika is the inaugural Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence.
Prior to this role, she served as the inaugural Director of Wellbeing at Wake Forest University, leading the development, institutionalization, and collective impact of Thrive – Wake’s comprehensive approach to wellbeing.
Malika has extensive experience integrating research and practice, creating behavior change interventions, developing strategic plans that guide culture change, and defining assessment tools to ensure research and practice effectiveness. Prior to returning to Wake Forest, she served on the faculty of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and as an administrator and faculty lead with the NC Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS). In these capacities, Malika was on the investigative team for 10 federally and institutionally funded projects and centers in the areas of health equity and community engagement. With her training and outreach expertise, she provided consultation and technical assistance to collaborative efforts among students, community members, and faculty.
Malika is a Wake Forest alumna and holds a PhD in Public Health (Health Behavior and Health Education) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to her role as AVP of Inclusive Practice, she has an appointment in the Department of Health and Exercise Science.
Jalen Shell, M.A.
Jalen serves as the Assistant Director in the Intercultural Center. He started his higher education career as a graduate assistant at Georgia Southern University in his hometown of Savannah, GA. With a passion to serve multicultural students, Jalen brings experience in programming, diversity education, student engagement, student retention, and transition into college.
After spending three years as a program coordinator at Iowa State University in the Multicultural Student Affairs Office, he is excited to join the community and contribute to the growth of the student experience at Wake Forest. Also to join and explore the Winston Salem community as he now calls North Carolina home.
Shelley Sizemore, M.A.
Shelley Sizemore serves as the Director of the Women’s Center. In this role, she leads efforts to advance gender equity and support women at Wake Forest. Shelley began working at Wake Forest in 2009 when she was hired to institutionalize and scale the Campus Kitchen Project, a food recovery program that utilizes student volunteers and institutional resources to address food insecurity in Forsyth County. Prior to coming to ODI, she served as the Director of Community Partnerships in the Office of Civic & Community Engagement. Shelley has developed and taught courses at Wake Forest in the Communication and Education departments. She is a seasoned workshop facilitator and has led workshops for students, faculty, staff, and community members on asset-based community development, intercultural communication strategies, and partnership development.
Shelley currently serves on the boards of HandsOn NWNC and the Centers for Exceptional Children. She grew up in the town of Wake Forest, NC, and received her B.A. and M.A. from Wake Forest University. She is pursuing a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Education where her research is focused on community-based education for social justice, critical community building, and the rhetorics of activism and advocacy.
Antayzha Wiseman, B.A.
Antayzha serves as the Program Coordinator for the LGBTQ+ Center and the Women’s Center. She earned her B.A. in History from Wake Forest, where she served as a student assistant in the LGBTQ+ Center and a campus-wide advocate for inclusion.
Antayzha was raised in Lenoir, North Carolina, and has a passion for developing and supporting intersectional programming and equitable practices.
Student Interns (ODI)
“Equity and accountability around diversity and inclusion is layered, challenging, and nuanced work. And yet, the stead-fast and intentional creation of an inclusive academic community presents all its members with the boundless gift of understanding and mutual support.”José A. Villalba