ShaRonda Cooper, who has served in an interim capacity, has been named director of the Department of Multicultural Services and Programs at the University of Georgia.
Cooper will provide vision, strategic leadership and overall supervision for Multicultural Services and Programs, supporting the efforts of UGA staff and students to foster a more inclusive, welcoming and equitable community for students at UGA.
She also will serve as a valuable resource for the UGA community and champion for students, in particular, students from minoritized populations. She will report to Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Michele Howard and serve as a member of the leadership team for the Division of Student Affairs.
Vice President for Student Affairs Victor K. Wilson said he is excited for Cooper to continue her leadership of MSP on a permanent basis.
“Dr. Cooper has done much to organize and enhance the work that MSP does,” Wilson said. “I’m confident that her vast array of experiences in supporting college students from many backgrounds and her personal connection with the Athens community have prepared her well to continue in this critical campus role.”
Cooper’s appointment is effective May 1.
As director, Cooper will be responsible for leading efforts to provide dynamic learning activities, programs and dialogues that engage diverse perspectives and foster shared understanding, in collaboration with students, student organizations, and campus and community stakeholders.
Cooper said one of her goals is to enhance understanding and assist the university in providing a strong commitment to supporting its students.
“As a student affairs practitioner, I recognize the collaborative importance of enhancing academic success and fostering a more inclusive, welcoming and equitable campus community,” she said. “My academic training in higher education and counseling, and a strong ability to forge relationships with community partners enable me to address key issues in an informed manner, while maintaining focus on advancing the university’s mission.”
Cooper’s background in diversity and inclusion programming includes a stint as scholars programs assistant in the Office for Multicultural Student Access and Retention at Ohio University and as advisor and consultant to multicultural student organizations throughout her career.
Cooper has served as interim director of MSP since July 2019. Previously, she led the University Health Center’s student success and training efforts, and before that, she served as assistant director of the Office of Student Disability Services at the University of North Georgia’s Oconee campus. She previously assisted students with their mental health needs as a counselor at North Carolina State University, Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, and Ohio University.
A native Athenian, Cooper is a licensed professional counselor, a certified QPR gatekeeper instructor and a trained health coach.
She earned a doctorate in higher education and a master’s degree in mental health and rehabilitation counseling, both from Ohio University. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Fort Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.