Intergroup Relations

Community of Scholars logo featured on a photo with participants in dialogue sitting at a round table.

The IGR Community of Scholars (CoS) brings together a small, select cohort of faculty and staff across the University of Michigan each year who are invested in incorporating Intergroup Dialogue, dialogic practices, and/or social justice education into their work in a way that will directly or indirectly serve students.

The group meets during the Fall semester to explore core aspects of IGR’s work, develop specific skills, and build community. In the Winter term, each person or team receives the ongoing support of an IGR coach to implement a project that builds capacity for dialogue, intergroup relations, and/or social justice education in their home unit and across campus.

The 2021-2022 IGR Community of Scholars is led and coordinated by IGR Associate Director for Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives, Shana Schoem and IGR Senior Program Manager, Cesar Vargas-Leon. 

Interested in becoming part of the 2022-23 cohort? Fill out our interest form.

IGR Staff

Shana Schoem

Shana Schoem (she/her/hers)

Associate Director for Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives

Shana is the Associate Director for Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives. She works to build capacity for dialogic skills, practices, and programs amongst University of Michigan faculty and staff and in service of students. Shana also provides intergroup dialogue consultations to outside colleges and universities, coordinates the annual National Intergroup Dialogue Institute, and teaches IGR courses and seminars. She is a contributing author to IGR's new textbook Introduction to Intergroup Dialogues.


Cesar Vargas-Leon

Cesar Vargas-Leon (he/him/his)

Senior Program Manager

Cesar Vargas-Leon is the Senior Program Manager supporting IGR's strategic partnerships across the division of Student Life. He collaborates with professional SL staff to build capacity for students in the areas of social justice, identity development and intergroup relations. Cesar is passionate about transforming spaces, structures and systems through the art of storytelling. He holds a B.A. in Sociology and Latinx Studies from the University of Michigan. The process of attaining a M.A. in Educational Leadership: Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University, helped him understand his role of good company as students learn to author their own lives. Prior to joining IGR, he supported students as a Success Coach and Lecturer at Eastern Michigan University for three years. Cesar enjoys connecting with new people, spending time with his family and precious dogs, photography, exploring nature and reading.

2021-22 Cohort


Meg Dobson

Meg Dobson (she/her/hers)

Family Doctor/Assistant Professor, Family Medicine

Meg Dobson, MD is an assistant professor in Family Medicine and a course leader for the longitudinal clinical skills and history taking course called Doctoring. She was previously a residency Program Director. She has developed an inclusive teaching model intended to make the clinical educational environment more inclusive and equitable. She hopes to extend her interest in inclusion to more overt antiracist teaching through her work with students and faculty. Additionally, Meg is currently exploring becoming an integrated coach to support other faculty in leadership roles within the institution.

Meg is excited to learn from and grow with colleagues from across the institution, as we learn together how to engage more effectively in intergroup dialogue. She hopes to integrate this work into faculty development and coaching work in the medical school.​


Sabrina Ervin

Sabrina M. Ervin (she/her/hers)

Project Manager, Research Analysis and Data Integrations Office (RADIO); U-M DEI Implementation Co-Lead, Office of the Vice President for Research

Sabrina is a Project Manager for Research Analysis & Data Integration Office (RADIO), a new unit launched in 2021 by the Office for the Vice President for Research. She works closely with the unit’s Executive Director to provide leadership and oversight of unit operations. A significant portion of her work is dedicated to the analysis and integration of many types of data to serve, support and strengthen the U-M’s research, scholarly and creative enterprise. Sabrina is a member of the U-M Facilitator Engagement Program (FEP), is a certified Unconscious Bias facilitator, and currently serves as a U-M DEI Implementation Co-Lead for the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Sabrina was honored to be chosen to participate in the IGR Community of Scholars and hopes to further develop her facilitation skills while developing DEI-based educational programming for OVPR founded in dialogic practices.


Jennifer Eshelman

Jennifer Eshelman (she/her/hers)

Chief Administrator, Department of Sociology & the Digital Studies Institute

Jennifer (or Jen) is the Chief Administrator for the LSA Department of Sociology & the brand new Digital Studies Institute. In these roles Jen manages the non-instructional operations by providing administrative and fiscal support to the department and the College and supervising the staff. She coordinates the HR processes for faculty and non-instructional staff and manages the unit’s budget and facilities planning. Jen grew up in North Carolina and then moved to Ann Arbor for college. After graduating, she got a job at her alma mater and has been at Michigan ever since (28 years!). A knitter, avid traveler, sports fan, and obsessed with the color orange.

Jen is excited to build her skills in dialogic practices, especially managing anxiety in delving into topics that may result in emotional reactions. Jen hopes that participating in this workshop will extend her network of colleagues on campus who are equally committed to improving the climate for staff, students, and faculty.


Chris Gale

Chris Gale (he/him/his)

Chief Administrator, Romance Languages and Literatures

Chris Gale is the Chief Administrator for LSA’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. In this role, he serves as a member of RLL’s leadership team and supports the department’s academic and research missions. Chris is an academic and student affairs professional with over two decades of experience. In that time, he has supported faculty, staff, and students - both traditional and non-traditional - from a wide variety of backgrounds in settings ranging from 2-year and liberal arts colleges to large state universities.

Chris joined the IGR Community of Scholars so that he can incorporate dialogic practices into his work with students, faculty, and Staff in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.


Clara Gamalski

Clara Gamalski (she/her/hers)

Sustainability Specialist, Student Life Sustainability

Clara Gamalski (she/her, Student Life Sustainability) coordinates experiential learning opportunities for U-M students to explore food, sustainability, and social justice by advising the U-M Sustainable Food Program, facilitating the Planet Blue Student Leaders work, and collaborating with an incredible team of interns. Clara is a U-M graduate and received a M.A. in Food Studies from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA. Outside of work, Clara is an indulgent human companion to her dogs and chickens, a proud resident of Northwest Detroit, and holds a seat on the Detroit Food Policy Council. 


Karri Grob

Karri Grob (she/her/hers)

Director of Student Services, Office of Medical Student Education

Karri is the Director of Student Services for the Medical School. She works with a team dedicated to student support across multiple domains, including financial aid, records and registration, advising, and compliance. Karri also co-created and co-teaches the History of Race & Racism in Medicine elective course, and is actively engaged in enhancing diversity, equity, inclusion, access, and justice content across the Medical School curriculum.

Karri is excited for the opportunity to engage with and learn from colleagues from across the University.​


Tina Jordan

Tina Jordan (she/her/hers)

Project Manager/DEI Lead, Office of the EVPCFO

Tina serves as a Project Manager, Facilitator and Learning Consultant in the Office of Organizational Culture and Strategy within the office of the Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer at the University of Michigan. She is the DEI Lead for the U-M Business & Finance organization, made up of 5 major areas and 2,700 staff members that “Make Blue Go.” Tina consults with teams and organizations to understand their DEI/culture goals and determine what is going well and where they can improve, then creates customized plans to build on their success and work on areas of opportunity. Tina loves people and loves learning. It is her great joy to bring those two passions together in designing and facilitating educational sessions around many different DEI, leadership, relationship and positive organizational culture topics.

Tina looks forward to working with other IGR scholars to learn and practice intergroup dialogue skills which she plans to use in her DEI work with staff in Business & Finance. She is also eager to get to know other IGR scholars and maybe make some new friends!


Felicia McCrary

Felicia McCrary (she/her/hers)

Sexual Misconduct Education & Intervention Lead (Program Manager), Student Life/Office of Student Conflict Resolution

Felicia serves as the Sexual Misconduct Education & Intervention Lead within the Office of Student Conflict Resolution (OSCR). Felicia is interested in helping students navigate the intersections of their unique identities as they navigate their experiences as Michigan students. She is passionate about guiding students on a path toward social justice and self-advocacy, finding innovative ways to ensure all students find success. Felicia received her Bachelor of Social Work from Central Michigan University and her Master of Social Work at the University of Michigan. Originally from the west side of the state, Felicia will find any excuse to talk about growing up along the shores of Lake Michigan. In her free time, you can find her baking treats for friends and family, including her 3 furbabies: cats, Sully and Cardamom, and pup, Monty.

Felicia is excited to build relationships across the University systems through IGR Community of Scholars, and to build upon the dialogic practices utilized by student staff and facilitators in the Office of Student Conflict Resolution. 


Danyelle Reynolds

Danyelle Reynolds (she/her/hers)

Assistant Director for Student Learning and Leadership, Ginsberg Center

Danyelle Reynolds (she/her) is a leadership and social justice educator at the Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning, where she supports students and student organizations in leadership development through civic and community engagement. In her role as the assistant director for student learning and leadership, she leads the Ginsberg Center’s student engagement team in educating and supporting student community engagement and leadership development that centers justice-oriented engagement.

Danyelle is looking forward to deepening the incorporation of dialogic practices into the Ginsberg Center's community and civic engagement work.

2020-21 Cohort