Fellow-In-Residence Program

What is a Fellow-in-Residence?

A fellow-in-residence is defined as a volunteer researcher who has been appointed the role and designated title by the CWDIR Research Chair, to assume engagement and scholarship opportunities within the Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research. The role serves to further develop alumni and faculty in the world of practitioner research and scholarship. Fellows are NOT officiating staff but are important constituents within the RSE that help advocate and represent the possibilities of research within each center.

The roles are strictly voluntary and are asked to engage by:

  • Creating quarterly blogs on a topic related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or belonging;

  • Facilitate one (1) workshop during the academic year (either individually or with another fellow-in-residence);

  • Actively develop and /or advance a research project or other piece of scholarship (either individually or with another fellow-in-residence); and

  • Occasionally assisting with projects or tasks aimed at advancing the mission of the CWDIR.

Fellow-in-Residence Requirements

  • Must have a doctoral degree from the University, or a Master’s with a Doctoral degree from another institution.

  • (Faculty) Must be in “good standing” with the university. This means not being on probationary status and actively able to teach within the institution.

  • Must be willing to serve a one-year term. Terms allow for a rotation of members. This does not preclude the person from applying again for a second term. (Note: A Fellow-in-Residence can resign from the voluntary role at any time but should make sure to formally inform the CWDIR Research Chair. A Fellow-in-Residence can also be immediately removed from this role through formal notification from the CWDIR Research Chair.)

For more information about available Fellow-in-Residence positions, please contact Dr. Kimberly Underwood at


2021-2022 Fellows-in-Residence

Dr. Christa Banton

Dr. Christa Banton began her career working as a social worker for the Department of Public Health-HIV Program where she worked with individuals impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. From there, she transitioned to the University of California San Diego, Department of Psychiatry working with the individuals who were newly released from incarceration returning to the San Bernardino County area. She went on to work for Children and Family Services as a Social Service Practitioner and then finally as a Supervising Social Services Practitioner for thirteen years working in child welfare. She currently is a professor at Barstow Community College working as a Mental Health Counselor giving psychotherapy directly to students in need. Dr. Banton is a licensed marriage and family therapist and was in private practice. She has been teaching at the university level for the past 17 years and with the University of Phoenix since 2008. Her research interests include mental health, faculty support, diversity related issues, and academic achievement motivation.  

Dr. Jose Garza

Jose A. Garza is an administrative professional at The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston (UTHealth). Particularly, he assists with the daily operations of the emergency medicine department at the McGovern Medical School. Prior to UTHealth, Jose gained healthcare practitioner experience working for the City of Houston as an administrative support employee at a tuberculosis clinic. Subsequently, Jose worked for Harris County, managing the administrative functions of a clinic for Child Protective Services. Academically, he holds the following degrees: Doctorate in Health Administration (University of Phoenix), a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in healthcare management (Our Lady of the Lake University), and a Bachelor’s Degree in Science (University of Houston). Jose’s dissertation topic focused on job satisfaction among home healthcare registered nurses. Other research interests include cultural leadership concepts, diversity and organizational change, and mental health. In his free time, Jose enjoys reading, researching, running, dining out, and bonding with his family and friends. 

Dr. Jan Cardwell

Dr. Jan Cardwell is CEO of Conceivers Leadership and Learning Company, a think tank that focuses on leadership - research, coaching, consulting, and training with a specific focus on women in leadership roles. Before devoting herself full time to helping women leaders and entrepreneurs to reach their full potential she served as the Vice President, Director and Academic Director of the University of Phoenix-Detroit Campus (14 years). Past and current leadership experience includes Chair of the Board of the largest Head Start program in Detroit Michigan (6 years), Board of Directors for the National Entrepreneur Association, Association of Leadership Educators, Matrix Human Services (Detroit), Southfield Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and 2019 Chair ILA Leadership Development Community. Cardwell has a PhD in Education and an MBA in Global Management. She is a dissertation coach and mentor for two universities and her personal doctoral clients.

Dr. Lisa Langford

Lisa Langford presently resides in Vero Beach, Florida. She is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana and a graduate of St. Augustine’s College (Raleigh, North Carolina) where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Organizational Management. Lisa attended Pfeiffer University (Charlotte, North Carolina) where she earned a Masters of Science in Leadership Studies. She earned a Doctorate in Management from the University of Phoenix. Lisa is currently employed in the Office of Research and Development with the Environmental Protection Agency and she retired from the Naval Reserves after 21 years of service. She is very passionate about volunteering and mentoring young adults. Lisa is an active member of the Junior League of Indian River and the Ft. Pierce Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.