African American Children and Families Conference

The Power of Our People, Strength Through History, Culture, Hope, Experience and Collective Stories

February 21-22, 2019

A Special Thanks To

Mark A. Nook - President, UNI

Mark NookMark A. Nook began serving as the 11th president of the University of Northern Iowa on February 1, 2017. Prior to this appointment, he served as chancellor of Montana State University Billings (MSUB). 

Originally from Holstein, Iowa, Nook has committed his Midwest education and values to higher education for many years and on many levels. He is dedicated to ensuring every member of the university community reaches their individual educational, professional and personal life goals.

Prior to serving as the chancellor at MSUB from 2014-2016, Nook was the senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin System from 2011-2014. He also served as provost (2007-09 and 2010-11) and interim chancellor (2009-10) at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and in a variety of roles at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.

He graduated from Southwest Minnesota State University in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics, a master's degree in astrophysics from Iowa State University in 1983 and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990. 

President Nook and his wife, Cheryl, reside in the UNI President's House. They have three adult children, two granddaughters and two grandsons. The Conference on African American Children and Families welcomes President Nook with much gratitude!

Gwenne Berry - UNI's Chief Diversity Officer

Gwenne BerryGwen Berry received the torch as the first University of Northern Iowa Chief Diversity Officer. She comes to this position from the Office of Compliance and Equity Management, UNI and is in her second year. She serves as a member of the Conference/Read-in Task Force, 2018!








Dr. Gaetane Jean-Marie - Dean, College of Education

Gaetane Jean-MarieDr. Jean-Marie became dean of the College of Education and the Richard O. Jacobson Endowed Chair of Leadership in Education at the University of Northern Iowa, June 2016.

"Jean-Marie will bring a strong background in educational leadership to UNI," said Jim Wohlpart. "She has more than $2 million in funded grants, has co-authored two books and co-edited four others, and has many articles and conference presentations. Her leadership philosophy is inclusive, innovative and data-informed, and she cares first and foremost.”

Dr. Jean-Marie comes to UNI after serving as professor and chair of the Department of Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. She earned her Ph.D. in leadership and cultural studies from the University of North Carolina and an M.A. in criminal justice and B.A. in political science from Rutgers University.

Prior to her serving as department chair, she was the program coordinator for Educational Leadership at the University of Oklahoma. She has also held leadership roles at Florida International University and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

The University of Northern Iowa and the Conference on African American Children and Families and the African American Read-in welcome Dr. Jean-Marie in her second year!

Dr. James Wohlpart - Provost and Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs, UNI

James WohlpartDr. Jim Wohlpart shares, “I am eager to work with faculty and staff to continue that momentum and to elevate the great work we do with preparing students for academic and professional success and for meaningful engagement with their communities."

Wohlpart came to UNI in 2015 from Florida Golf Coast University where he was the dean of Undergraduate Studies and a professor of English. He earned his Ph.D. in English and B.A. in English and philosophy from the University of Tennessee. He earned an M.A. in English from Colorado State University.

During his 21 years at Florida Gulf Coast University, Wohlpart held the positions of chair of the Division of Humanities and Arts and associate dean for planning and assessment in the College of Arts and Sciences. He participated in the development of the Liberal Studies degree and the Interdisciplinary Core, and he was instrumental in developing the First Year and Transition Experience.

At UNI, Wohlpart has focused on three broad areas: organizational structure, strategic planning and community development//engagement. He has enhanced diversity initiatives/experiences for students, faculty and community members. We welcome Dr. Wohlpart as an avid supporter of the Conference on African American Children and Families! He continues to strive at making UNI a more inclusive environment for all!