Meet the Team

Jeffrey K. Coleman, Ph.D.

Vice President, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Phone Number: (508) 626-4512

Office: Dwight Hall 311

Dr. Jeffrey K. Coleman joined Framingham State University as the Vice President for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement on January 3, 2023. His experience in higher education includes positions as Deputy Chief Diversity Officer at Kennesaw State University, Inaugural Director of the Multicultural Center at Georgia State University, Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Program Coordinator and Manager of Cultural Themed Houses at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. Dr. Coleman is also a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), facilitating understanding of the developmental stages of the intercultural sensitivity for individuals and groups to guide them in moving towards greater intercultural effectiveness.

Dr. Coleman has researched and presented extensively on identity development, cultural competency, sense of belonging and student success on college campuses, African American male student retention and graduation in higher education, and professionals of color in higher education. He has published an article entitled, “Cultural Competency Activities: Impact on Student Success,” in the Metropolitan Universities Journal as well as chapters in The Handbook of Research on Black Males and the third volume of No Ways Tired: The Journey for Professionals of Color in Student Affairs.

Dr. Coleman is a native of Bloomfield, Connecticut. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Studies and Cultural Studies from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a Master of Science in Counseling with a Concentration in Student Development in Higher Education from Central Connecticut State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy Studies from Trinity College (Hartford, CT).

Jerome Burke

Director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence

Phone Number: 508-215-5888

Office: Center for Inclusive Excellence, O'Connor Hall

Jerome Burke joined Framingham State University as the Director, Centre for Inclusive Excellence on June 5, 2023. He is a Jamaican native with over 8 years of experience in communications and working with youth and vulnerable and marginalized groups. Jerome received a Master’s in Integrated Marketing and Communications from the University of the West Indies (Jamaica) and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Technology (Jamaica). 

His programmatic planning and advocacy work include serving as the Communication Consultant for Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, where he created campaigns aimed at improving the lives of People living with and affected by HIV and AIDS and improving access to treatment and prevention services for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Jerome has served as a Policy Consultant for Jamaica's leading human rights organization. He has also been instrumental as a project consultant at the Ministry of Health and Wellness, where he implemented a program geared towards providing greater healthcare services for citizens of a lower socio-economic background. 

Jerome has designed and led some very impactful human rights and diversity training among key stakeholders and has been recognized for his outstanding work by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the European Union for communication and outreach strategies he implemented as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through initiatives he has led, many policymakers, law enforcement officers and healthcare workers have been more sensitive to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Jerome is also a creative writer and director of two of Jamaica’s most popular YouTube film series. He desires to continue creatively advocating for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, as this is his undying passion.

Dana Fusco, Ph.D.

Executive Director, College Planning Collaborative

Phone Number: 508-834-0820

Office: 1812 House, 13 Salem Road, Framingham, MA 01701

Dana Fusco retired from York College of the City University of New York as a tenured full professor in Education and Youth Studies. She most recently served as the Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Lesley University and the interim Dean of Education at Queens College. Prior to Queens College, she was department head of the Department of Education at York College where she led the school’s successful CAEP accreditation winning the Frank Murray award for having met all standards.

She completed her B.A. in psychology from SUNY New Paltz, a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the CUNY Graduate Center and a postdoctoral fellowship at Teachers College of Columbia University in Urban Science Education. Her research bridges education and community youth work and she has published prolifically on the role of community youth programs for redressing inequities and advancing social progress. She was appointed the Howland Endowed Chair at the University of Minnesota and visiting professor at the University of Tampere, Finland to engage in her research in youth work.

She was instrumental in the creation of the York Early College Academy and served on university-wide committees in the planning phases of CUNY’s Early College initiative. As first-generation college student, Dr. Fusco has navigated the challenges of educational advancement. Her mission continues to be to advocate for educational and developmental growth opportunities for underrepresented young people in ways that represent their own voices and interests.

Catherine Dignam, Ph.D.

DICE Research Data Planning Analyst Faculty Fellow

Phone Number: 508-626-4778

Office: Hemenway 436

Dr. Catherine Dignam has served as a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Food Science since the 2003, teaching general chemistry for STEM majors and upper level courses in her area of expertise, inorganic chemistry.  She has been involved in initiatives to improve teaching and learning in gateway chemistry courses, and is particularly interested in the success and retention of first year students in STEM, working with a team of faculty and administrators to design and implement the STEM Scholars Program, which has been successful at increasing the retention of first year science and engineering majors at FSU, and received Insight into Diversity Magazine’s 2021 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award.  Dr. Dignam has previously served as chair of the Department of Chemistry and Food Science, and is currently the chair of the Massachusetts PKAL Regional Network Steering Committee.

Dr. Dignam’s interest in student success has led her to become a strong proponent for inclusive excellence initiatives.  She serves as the Program Director for FSU’s Inclusive Excellence Award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, directs the FSU STEM Racial Equity Project which focuses on faculty development effective use of equity data, and is on the Advisory Board for the Equity Based Teaching Collective.  

Samantha Westall

DICE Faculty Fellow Program Coordinator

Phone Number: 508-626-4657

Office: Whittemore Library UM17

Samantha Westall has been the Curriculum Librarian at the Henry Whittemore Library at Framingham State University since 2016. She holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Rhode Island and a Master’s degree in Education with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction from Fitchburg State University. Samantha has been involved in campus diversity efforts on campus. She works closely with the Education and English departments and is an advocate for diverse literature for all ages.

Anna Parsons

Executive Assistant

Phone Number: 508-626-4512

Office: Dwight Hall 311

Anna Parsons joined Framingham State University as the Executive Assistant for the Division of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement in January, 2024. Anna holds a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of New Hampshire.

As an undergraduate, Anna was active in multiple organizations including the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the Diversity Support Coalition, and Delta Xi Phi Multicultural Sorority Inc. Anna has also conducted research on gender identity, representation within cultural movements, and academic resiliency of BIPOC students.

In their spare time, you'll find Anna attached to a new book, participating in trivia tournaments, or outside enjoying the sunshine!