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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

Oct. 18, 2016

Fall Ploghoft Lecture to feature VP of diversity, equity, inclusion

Dr. Juanita Simmons

Dr. Juanita Simmons

Northwest Missouri State University will feature Dr. Juanita Simmons, the University’s first vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, for its fall Ploghoft Diversity Lecture at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7, in the Charles Johnson Theater.

Simmons’ lecture, “Art in the social justice movement: Montage as a theory for moral protest in education and scholarship,” draws from an experiential performance text using lyrics from contemporary music, poetry, improvisational jazz and ritualistic dance movements. The arts, along with the experiential text, form a union that creates and enacts moral meaning. 

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, has appeal to students at Northwest as well as to the general public, Dr. David Kiene, an assistant professor of professional education and coordinator of the Ploghoft Diversity Lecture, said.

 “We felt the education students would benefit from having the opportunity to hear about Dr. Simmons’ vision for diversity and inclusion as she begins her work here on campus,” Kiene said. “It continues to be our mission to develop intercultural competencies of our students, and Dr. Simmons’ lecture is another vehicle for our students to learn about the importance of becoming a culturally responsive educator.” 

Simmons arrived at Northwest in August from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she had served as a faculty member since 2003, teaching educational leadership and policy analysis. Previously, she served in various administrative roles in the Austin and Dallas, Texas, independent school districts. She also was a high school English, journalism and humanities teacher in the Dallas Independent School District.

She has a book under contract about emancipated leadership, holds numerous professional certifications and has earned an array of institutional honors. Her résumé includes several refereed articles, book chapters, conference proceedings and presentations. She also has been awarded a variety of grants and contracts.

She has Ph.D. and master’s degree, both in educational administration from the University of Texas-Austin. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and speech from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.

At Northwest, Simmons serves on the Northwest Leadership Team and leads Northwest’s strategic vision and planning for diversity, equity and inclusion, including professional development, assessment and outreach efforts. She also provides direct support for programs assisting marginalized students and employees, administers diversity programs and collaborates with campus units to ensure inclusive environments.

The Ploghoft Diversity Lecture series features speakers and events that broaden the educational perspectives of Northwest teacher candidates and inform all students about the issues facing the education of students from diverse environments.

The Ploghoft Diversity Lecture series is funded through the generosity of Dr. Milton Ploghoft of Athens, Ohio, and his late wife Zella Ploghoft. Dr. Ploghoft, a 1949 Northwest alumnus, is professor emeritus at Ohio University. Mrs. Ploghoft, who passed away in June 2010, completed her elementary and secondary education at Horace Mann Laboratory School at Northwest. Dr. Ploghoft authored a number of textbooks in the social studies and lived abroad for many years, founding the College of Education in Kano, Nigeria, lecturing at Saigon University and leading the university’s international programs in such disparate places as Chile, Cameroun, Botswana, the Yucatan and Swaziland, in what was then South Vietnam. In 1992, he became the founding editor of the African Education Research Network.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468