Meet Our Team
The Office of Equity and Inclusion is housed in Burgin E. Dossett Hall, first floor, room 109, and is comprised of the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, Keith V. Johnson, Chassidy Cooper, Coordinator for Equity and Inclusion, Office Coordinator, Kim Maturo, and two Graduate Assistants.
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion
Keith V. Johnson, PhD
Dr. Johnson serves as the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion. Dr. Johnson began his academic career as an assistant professor of engineering in the Department of Engineering, Engineering Technology and Surveying at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). In 1993, Johnson accepted a position at ETSU as assistant professor. In following his commitment to engineering, in 1997, he was tenured and promoted to associate professor, served as assistant chair from 1996-2000, and in 2000 was promoted to interim chair before serving as chair from 2001 to the present. In this role, he contributed to the overall success of the Department of Engineering, Engineering Technology, and Surveying leading the department through successful ABET, CIDA, and NASAD accreditations.
Johnson is a native of North Carolina, earned a BS and MS in industrial technology at North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC and a PhD in industrial technology from The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Johnson studied as a fellow in the TBR Maxine Smith Fellows Program 2005-2006, is currently active in the CIEC General Conference, remains active in teaching, service and research, was influential in creating a joint Engineering Degree Program with Tennessee Technical University, and represents ETSU nationally.
Over the years, Johnson has been an active member of many institutional advisory boards and committees including strategic planning, curriculum, governance, task forces, faculty senate, tenure and promotion, and search committees as well as contributing to external professional organizations and networks. He has been a principal investigator on state and federally-funded grants. Among other achievements, under Johnson’s leadership, several Minority Faculty Recruitment Grants were secured serving to assist in the increase of the number of minority students earning doctorates. Grant outgrowth continues to increase the pool of potential faculty of color at the university.
Inclusion has always been a chief cornerstone for Johnson and he shared that, “Inclusion is the foundation of every successful initiative.” His desire is that inclusion be woven into the fabric of the institution to effect change as it relates to reconditioning the culture of the university by providing opportunities for growth toward embracing, appreciating and supporting diversity among faculty, staff and students at ETSU.
Coordinator for Equity and Inclusion
Chassidy Cooper, PhD
Dr. Cooper currently serves as the Equity and Inclusion Coordinator. Prior to joining ETSU, Cooper worked in academic and student affairs areas including: academic and career advising, academic support, new student orientation, first year experience, and student leadership development.
Cooper is a native Arkansan. She received her bachelor’s degree in history from Sewanee-the University of the South, master’s degree in higher education from UA Little Rock and completed her doctoral program in Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies at the University of Central Arkansas.
As a Graduation and Retention Advocate award winner, Academy for Teaching and Learning award recipient, and Southern Region Education (SREB) Doctoral Scholar program graduate, Cooper has been on the frontline of student success, learning, and retention. Her passion for equity and inclusion is evident in her research agenda and community engagement. Her research focuses primarily on students of color in higher education. She has served in a host of capacities for various organizations, currently the Past-President for Arkansas Academic Advising Network (ArKAAN). As a diversity champion, Cooper hopes to make everyone feel visible, validated, and valued in effort to support ETSU’s inclusive excellence.
Office Coordinator for Equity and Inclusion
Kim Maturo currently serves as the Office Coordinator for the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Prior to joining the Office of Equity and Inclusion, Maturo supported the billing office at the College of Nursing’s Office of Practice, and soon transferred to the Office of the Dean as an information research tech. Her primary functions involved supporting the director of fiscal affairs, secretary of the College of Nursing Council, and administrative support to Budget Advisory Committee, and College of Nursing Bylaws and Standing Rules Committee.
Maturo moved to Johnson City in 2010 from Connecticut where she worked for ten years as an executive secretary in a nursing home, an additional ten years working as the office manager of an assisted living facility where she received a resident services award from the Connecticut Assisted Living Association in 2005. Maturo has five years of experience working in a tax law office, received the distinguished staff member of the year award in 2012-2013 from the College of Nursing and received the IAAP-CAP certification in 2015.
Graduate Assistant, Office of Equity and Inclusion
Maheen Pulak, a Master of Fine Art in Digital Media Candidate recently joined the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Maheen is an excellent communicator and team player and driven to make every project he is part of a success. Maheen’s first assignment as the office’s graduate assistant has been to design the inaugural issue of a community magazine to be published this spring. Hard work and creativity go together to succeed in any project. His design sensibilities are heavily inspired by traditional print design and a deep love for minimalism.
Maheen is from Bangladesh. He came to the United States of America in 2015, graduating from East Tennessee State University in Fall, 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Digital Media specializing in 3D animation and motion graphics.
Practicing equity and inclusion for Maheen means simply treating everyone as their primary identity – ‘human being’. He grew up learning not to judge anyone by their race, gender, sexual orientation, or beliefs; but their actions. Appreciating new cultures has been a big influence on his creative growth. He is going to use this creativity to promote the Office of Equity and Inclusion.
Graduate Assistant, Office of Equity and Inclusion
Deborah Abdullahi serves as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Prior to joining East Tennessee State University for her Graduate studies, Deborah worked in a Marketing and Advertising Sector in Nigeria known as Explicit Communications Limited, as a Media Executive where she helped in developing state-of-the art advertisement schemes through market penetration and customer behavior research studies, to realized clients’ business objectives/expectations. She has demonstrated competence in strategy development, project management and corporate communications.
Deborah came to the United States of America in August 2022 to undertake her Master’s in Public Administration. She likewise did her Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration at Lagos State University, Nigeria, where she graduated as one of the best graduating students in her department in the year 2016. She found her career path in a marketing and advertising sector with over four (4) years of work experience before she came into the States for her Masters.
Practicing equity and inclusion for Deborah means fairness to all, recognizing that we do not all start from the same place. However, we must all acknowledge that there is always a room for adjustments in order to reduce the rate of imbalances. Deborah is passionate and self-driven, therefore she will make an excellent addition, support to the success of the Office of Equity and Inclusion.