Staff directory

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IGR's unique and transformative partnership—between the Division of Student Life and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts—is led by co-directors Donna Rich Kaplowitz and Monita Thompson and a staff of faculty, professionals, and students.


Donna Rich Kaplowitz, PhD


Donna Kaplowitz (she/her/hers) is the LSA faculty co-director of The Program on Intergroup Relations. She works in partnership with the Student Life co-director to provide campus leadership in student learning in the areas of intergroup relations and social justice education. Donna teaches in the program, guides curricular activities, leads programmatic efforts to conduct research and is an academic advisor for the minor. Her research focuses on facilitating intergroup dialogue with specific attention to race topics in peer and near-peer settings. 

Monita Thompson


Monita Thompson (she/her/hers) serves as the Student Life co-director of The Program on Intergroup Relations. Her student affairs work of more than 25 years has focused on educating students in intergroup relations and social justice education, specifically the training, development, and support of peer educators in skills and techniques of intergroup dialogue facilitation, conflict management, and supporting students in their journey to becoming a social change agent.


Staff and faculty

Danny Alvarez

Lecturer III

Danny Alvarez (they/them) is a lecturer with The Program on Intergroup Relations in the University of Michigan's College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. They're a passionate facilitator, educator, and organizer who has applied social work practices to their work for the last decade. With practices strongly rooted in popular education and intergroup dialogue pedagogy, they have taught, developed and managed programs at both U-M and Stanford University over the last 5 years.

Charles Behling, PhD

Former Co-Director (retired)
Charles Behling (he/him/his) retired from the psychology faculty at U-M. A clinical psychologist, he served for 15 years as co-director of IGR. Since retirement, he has consulted with more than 70 universities across the nation regarding the creation of intergroup dialogue programs, based on the U-M model. His PhD and MA are from Vanderbilt University. He also holds an MA in journalism from the University of South Carolina. His interests in social justice are shaped by his having grown up in the rural South in the days of Jim Crow, before the Civil Rights Movement.

Mark Chesler, PhD

Professor Emeritus of Sociology

Mark Chesler (he/him/his) is a professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Michigan and a founding faculty member of The Program on Intergroup Relations. Mark is an activist scholar conducting research, teaching, consulting and organizing on issues of social justice and personal/organizational change around race and gender equity, and of the psycho-social impact of childhood cancer.

Sara Crider


Sara Crider is a lecturer at The Program on Intergroup Relations.

Hailey Emery

Student Administrative Assistant Intermediate

Hailey Emery is the student administrative assistant for The Program on Intergroup Relations. She is responsible for providing support for IGR courses and instructional needs, National Intergroup Dialogue Institute, and Community of Scholars. She also supervises IGR office assistants, helps manage shared space, and manages circulation and maintenance of the Mark Chesler Library holdings.

Roger B. Fisher

Associate Director
Roger Fisher (he/him/his) is an associate director of The Program on Intergroup Relations. In his role, Roger teaches training and practicum classes, directs IGR's partnership with the School of Social Work on the Summer Youth Dialogue Program, performs high-level administrative functions for IGR, trains K-12 professionals, consults with other higher education institutions on dialogue programs and works on special Student Life projects. He is an U-M alumus and has a BS in psychology and also did graduate work in psychology.

Patricia Gurin, PhD

Nancy Cantor Distinguished University Professor Emerita, Research Director

Patricia Gurin (she/her/hers) is the Nancy Cantor Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Psychology and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. She is a faculty associate of the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Institute for Social Research and of the Center for African and Afro-American Studies. She directs the research program of The Program on Intergroup Relations, a curricular program co-sponsored by the College of LS&A and Student Life. A social psychologist, Dr.

Stephanie Hicks, PhD

Lecturer IV

Stephanie Hicks (she/her/hers) is a lecturer at The Program on Intergroup Relations and a faculty affiliate of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at U-M. Her teaching and research foci include diversity, equity and inclusion policy in higher education, intergroup dialogue and social justice education. As a lecturer, Stephanie teaches courses for the Program and coordinates the Race & Ethnicity Engagement efforts between IGR and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

Christina S. Morton, PhD

Associate Director

Christina S. Morton (she/her/hers) is an associate director of The Program on Intergroup Relations. In her role, she provides strategic leadership and administrative support toward advancing IGR’s mission as well as teaches courses focused on the training and development of peer educators in dialogue facilitation. Her research explores diverse students’ experiences with and meaning making of social justice education as well as how cultural resources, such as spirituality, contribute to the success of Students of Color in STEM fields.

Nick Pfost

Communications Strategist

Nick Pfost (he/they) is a communications strategist at the University of Michigan, serving The Program on Intergroup Relations, Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs, and Spectrum Center. An MPP-trained communicator with over a decade of experience in higher education and nonprofits, they lead in each unit on communications, marketing, and design to advance their missions and impact.

Vibha Shivakumar

Student Experience Team Program Coordinator

Vibha Shivakumar (any pronouns) is a program coordinator for the Student Experience Team at The Program on Intergroup Relations. They are responsible for overseeing the Student Experience Team (SET), which works to ensure that IGR students have joyful, valuable, and sustained engagement in our community. In addition to this, they work closely with student recruitment and communications.

Deborah Slosberg

Assistant Director

Deborah Slosberg (she/her) is the assistant director for The Program on Intergroup Relations. She works with the Student Life team to provide strategic leadership for IGR's co-curricular programming through CommonGround, SET, and strategic partnerships.  She helps coordinate the annual National Intergroup Dialogue Institute as well as provides consultations to outside colleges and universities. Deborah also teaches and assists with research and assessment efforts.

Cesar Vargas-Leon

Program Manager

Cesar Vargas-Leon (he/him/his) is a program manager supporting IGR’s CommonGround and other partnerships. He works with a team of graduate and undergraduate students to execute requested programs that raise awareness about social identities, prejudice, stereotyping, power, privilege, and oppression for students who are part of the University of Michigan’s community. Cesar is passionate about transforming spaces, structures, and systems through the art of storytelling. He holds a BA in sociology and Latinx studies from the University of Michigan.

Meaghan Wheat

Program Manager, CommonGround

Meaghan Wheat (she/her/hers) is the program manager for CommonGround at The Program on Intergroup Relations. She supervises a team of undergraduate and graduate students who plan, develop, and facilitate requested workshops on social identity, communicating across identities, power and oppression in groups, entering communities, and allyship across campus. She also supports IGR's Summer Youth Dialogue program. Meaghan holds a BA in psychology and political science, an MSW, and an MA in higher education from the University of Michigan.


Sierra Voigt


Sierra Voigt (she/her) is a lecturer at The Program on Intergroup Relations at the University of Michigan. Voight's graduate studies involved identifying pathways to pursuing and completing higher education for underrepresented students. She has a passion for diversity of minds, bodies, identities, and cultures, and encourages others to identify ways that they can create more inclusive and equitable spaces for all humans. She incorporates these ideas into her teaching and clinical work, helping individuals, families, and groups remove barriers to success and wellbeing.


Student colleagues

Haarika Gurivireddygari

Student Office Assistant

Haarika Gurivireddygari (she/her/hers) is a student office assistant at The Program on Intergroup Relations, where she helps handle administrative tasks for the office. Haarika assists with planning recruitment events, curriculum, and other celebrations as well. She has worked for IGR since 2021 and loves the environment here! Haarika was interested in working with IGR because she believes the curriculum is really impactful for students and wanted to support the program. Haarika is currently a BBA junior at the Ross School of Business and minoring in gender and health.


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