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MVNU forum takes on diversity conversation

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — The Office of Intercultural Life at Mount Vernon Nazarene University is sponsoring the Woven Diversity Forum, “Can We Heal the Divide,” to discuss diversity and inclusion on April 15, at 7 p.m.

“We believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion should not just be a part of who we are but woven into the fabric of who we are,” said Tavaris Taylor, director of Intercultural Life at MVNU. “We will focus on strategies for healing the racial and social divide in our educational system, churches, politics, and economics.”

Speakers will include:

J. Burner Crew is the Managing Partner at Nirvana Analytics in Cleveland. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Econometrics from Columbia University and is currently a Registered Investment Advisor and Municipal Advisor. Crew has worked extensively with officials responsible for municipal finance activities in several states, municipalities, colleges, and school districts. He currently serves on the board of directors of the United Black Fund of Cleveland and is a former founding member of the National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP).

Dr. Shantelle K. Jenkins is the Assistant Vice President, School of Graduate and Professional Studies at MVNU. A strong advocate for students and faculty development, particularly the inclusion and success of students and faculty from historically underrepresented groups, Jenkins has over two decades of experience in education. Prior to joining MVNU, she was the director of assessment at Eastern University and most recently, an instructor in the Educational Policy and Leadership department at Cabrini University.

Quentin L. McCorvey Sr., principal at Nirvana Analytics in Cleveland, is an administrator, strategist, and community leader with wide range of experiences in governmental, healthcare, and nonprofit sectors. He has developed a strong record in communications and community affairs, strategic planning, relationship management, budgeting, program and policy development and analysis. McCorvey earned a BA in Political Science from Jackson State University (Jackson, MS) in May 1990. He later earned a master's degree in Public Administration Program from Cleveland State University in June 1997.

Mayor Matthew Starr is in his first term as mayor of the City of Mount Vernon. Originally, from Indiana, he graduated from Manchester University and entered graduate school at Kent State University, where he earned his master’s degree in sport psychology. He is currently in a doctoral program specializing in strategic management. He started a corporate film and video production company where he is the executive producer. Starr has served on many non-profit boards and volunteer agencies in the community.

Taylor who joined MVNU in 2020 and is an experienced business and education professional with a demonstrated history of working in the local government, NGOs, and multinational companies. He is skilled in public speaking and was invited to deliver a TED talk in 2018 and is an alumnus of the National Academy of preachers.

Dr. Doug VanNest is the Dean of MVNU School of Ministry, professor of Pastoral Practics and coordinator of Church Ministries and CMP Programs. He has served as district superintendent of the Southwestern Ohio District Church of the Nazarene and as pastor in several churches in Ohio and Kansas. 

The event, at the R.R. Hodges Chapel/Auditorium, is open to in-person attendance by the MVNU community. COVID-19 protocols including face masks and physical distancing will be enforced. Those outside the university are invited to register here to attend virtually at or view in the “On-Demand” section after April 15.

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education both in-seat and online to more than 2,100 students from 42 states and nine foreign countries.