Office of Inclusive Excellence welcomes professionals with wealth of knowledge, experience

June 17, 2024

Cheri Brooks sits to the left of Briona Grant

Cheri Brooks and Briona Grant have been named assistant directors in the Office of Inclusive Excellence at Quinnipiac.

The Office of Inclusive Excellence promotes and sustains multicultural education. It achieves this goal by mentoring and advising students, facilitating transformative cultural experiences, preparing students to be responsible citizens, and enhancing creative and critical thinking through academic engagement. The office helps to define, enable and foster an inclusive campus culture that embraces the diversity of identities, ideas and values.

“I am pleased to welcome Briona Grant and Cheri Books to the inclusive excellence team,” said David M. Fryson, interim vice president of inclusive excellence. “Both of these highly regarded professionals bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the reconfigured and expanded office."

Brooks said she is dedicated to advancing the mission of Quinnipiac by promoting access, success and leadership training for traditionally underrepresented and first-generation students.

She has been actively involved in advocacy for the past 18 years. In her most recent role as a student services counselor at Quinnipiac, she provided exceptional customer service to students, their parents and cross-campus partners.

Before joining Quinnipiac's One Stop Student Services in 2021, she was a student advocate for underrepresented and first-generation students at Southern Connecticut State University.

Brooks earned a bachelor's degree in consumer family sciences from Purdue University and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Quinnipiac. She also was honored with the Faculty Academic Achievement Award. Previously, Brooks worked in industrial and pharmaceutical sales, the banking industry and as a standardized patient for the Quinnipiac and Yale medical schools. She also served as a literacy tutor, mentor and friend at various elementary schools in New Haven.

“I enthusiastically take on this role, trusting that my previous experiences and recently acquired organizational leadership degree will make a positive impact on our students by promoting access, success and leadership training to traditionally underrepresented and first-generation students,” Brooks said. “I anticipate a greater sense of belonging and inclusiveness from our students."

Grant earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Central Connecticut State University and a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from the University of New Haven.

As assistant director of inclusive excellence, Grant said she eagerly anticipates making significant contributions to fostering a campus environment that values and respects all individuals, while also ensuring that allyship is genuine and purposeful.

“Together, we have the power to transform Quinnipiac into a place where inclusivity and excellence are not merely aspirations, but integral components of everyday life,” she said.

Grant joined Quinnipiac as a residence hall director in 2021 and also has been an adjunct faculty member. Grant also has worked as an adjunct professor, victim advocate and therapeutic counselor. As a residence hall director, she received “Behind the Scenes Champion” and “Bright Ideas” awards from the university.

“It is with great honor and excitement that I embrace the opportunity to continue my career at Quinnipiac,” she said. “This position offers an incredible chance to work alongside committed colleagues and engage with a dynamic community in advancing efforts that promote diversity, equity and inclusion.”

“The faculty, staff and students of Quinnipiac are the real beneficiaries of their realigned commitments to working here,” said Claude Mayo, director of inclusive excellence at QU. “Both Cheri and Briona transition into the Office of Inclusive Excellence with the experience, skills and perspective necessary to activate their own care for this community into an immediate and awesome impact.” 

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