Allegheny Appoints Awadi, Adkins, Promotes Epps

Allegheny College has appointed Ali G. Awadi, Ph.D, as director of public safety and Justin Adkins as associate dean and director of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access & Social Justice (IDEAS) Center.

Darnell Epps, most recently the senior assistant director of admissions and coordinator of multicultural recruitment at Allegheny, has been promoted to associate director of the IDEAS Center.

“We are embarking on an exciting new journey with individuals who are passionate about students and their work at Allegheny College,” Vice President and Dean of Students Kimberly M. Ferguson said. “Justin Adkins, Ali Awadi and Darnell Epps are all well respected leaders in their fields who are known as advocates for students and the student experience. Each one has a vibrant spirit, fresh and diverse perspectives, and wonderful new ideas that will contribute to a welcoming and caring learning community.”

Awadi is a highly skilled higher education administrator with more than 24 years of experience in college-wide security and safety. Prior to Allegheny, he served as assistant director for campus safety and Title IX administrator at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Mich.

At Henry Ford, Awadi established a robust pre-employment requirement for safety and security personnel, campus law enforcement policies and procedures, report writing and record keeping procedures, and provided educational programs on safety and crime prevention. He also has an extensive knowledge of law and higher education policy.

Public safety plays a crucial role in making Allegheny the welcoming campus that it is, Awadi said. He said he will take a “customer service-focused” approach, promoting an environment in which campus police officers are seen as a ready, visible and helpful resource for students.

“I want students to know the officers on a first-name basis,” Awadi said.

Adkins comes to Allegheny from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., where he served as assistant director of The Davis Center, the college’s identity and social justice center. There he created an environment, programs and services focused on supporting historically underrepresented students. He understands race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and social justice from a legal and historical context.

Adkins is a respected student advisor who has extensive experience building diverse student coalitions. At Williams he helped develop the ROOT orientation experience for first-year students focusing on identity and sustainability. More importantly, he has experience working with faculty to build supportive classroom climates across various disciplines. He worked with faculty to develop programming for Teaching Millennials, a discussion series that explored traditional and non-traditional approaches to teaching and student learning.

Epps worked as senior assistant director of admissions and coordinator of multicultural recruitment at Allegheny since 2012. He has led multicultural recruitment efforts that resulted in the most ethnically and racially diverse class in Allegheny’s history, among other accomplishments.

The IDEAS Center at Allegheny creates and supports co-curricular programs and initiatives that encourage community engagement and link diversity, inclusion and social equity with student academic and personal success.

It’s a safe space for all students that celebrates individuality and diversity but also helps support Allegheny as one community of students, faculty and staff, Adkins said.

“What diversity really means is we all bring our unique selves to this institution,” he said. “We bring this diversity of our own identities, of our ideas, of our experiences, the traditions from our families – all the different things that make each one of us unique,” he said.

Epps said he’s excited about the vision of the IDEAS Center. Part of the mission will be reaching out to students who haven’t thought of the center as a place for them, in addition to the continued support of underrepresented students.

“I want (the IDEAS Center) to educate. I want it to support. I want it to connect students,” Epps said. “We live in a globally diverse world and we all need to navigate difference and celebrate and appreciate our commonalities. That doesn’t mean that we have to agree with it, but it does mean we have to learn how to engage with people who are different than us.”

PHOTOS: From left, clockwise: Awadi, Adkins, and Epps