Sharon Perry-Fantini, Ph.D.
Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Perry-Fantini is an experienced administrator with over 20 years of service in the industry of higher education. Having worked in a variety of areas within higher education, she has developed an expertise in Title IX, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Following a faculty appointment in the School of Business, Perry-Fantini became the first Chief Diversity Officer at Tiffin University. She served as the Vice Provost for Equity, Access, and Opportunity/Title IX and 504 Coordinator, her primary responsibility included overseeing compliance related to Title IX, Title VI, VAWA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the Office for Disability Services. In this role, she oversaw several Deputy Title IX Coordinators, a team of Civil Rights investigators, the Civil Rights Advisory Council, and the Diversity Celebrations & Prevention Education Committee.
Her progressive leadership experience and strategic planning for diversity, equity, and inclusion has aided her in the ability to create campus-wide programs for prevention, awareness, bystander intervention, investigation, and response to discrimination, harassment, bias, and sexual misconduct. Additionally, she has worked on initiatives related to Section 504 and ADA compliance and policy development.
Perry-Fantini has experience speaking, training, and consulting with local, regional, and national organizations at conferences, invited speaking engagements, training, and consulting regarding diversity and inclusion, implicit bias, gender-based violence, and best practices in Title IX. She has facilitated and co-facilitated participant education and training in areas related to training Title IX coordinators, Civil Rights investigators, best practices for educators teaching in multicultural classrooms, and cultural awareness.
She assisted in earning several grants which aided in the ability to foster a welcoming and safe environment including a grant for assistive technology to help students with disabilities in the amount of $37,800; a grant in the amount of $116,500 to provide trauma-informed counseling, advocacy, and support services to student victims of sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking; and a grant in the amount of $300,000 to aid with strategic programming regarding sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
She has worked with colleagues to enhance existing policies and procedures as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This includes gender non-binary language in institutional policies and procedures; developed and implemented a preferred name policy; the creation of diversity and inclusion online informational resources for faculty, staff, and students including campus locations of gender-neutral and/or universal restrooms, Safe Zone locations and training, and coming out tips.
Her dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion served as the focus in earning an honorable mention during the 2021 Award for Diversity and Inclusion from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA) for Creating a Culture of Shared Responsibility with Bringing in the Bystander training; student forums; revising the Peer-to-Peer Ambassador training and programming including Implicit Bias and Understanding Cultural Differences and for Creating a Culture of Shared Respect with Awareness Campaigns including These Hands Don’t Hurt, Spread the Word to End the Word, Black Lives Matter, Safe Zone training, Critical Conversations and Unheard Voices for a Cause Silent March.
Perry-Fantini assisted in launching Campus Critical Conversations, a series of conversations beginning in Spring of 2020. Critical Conversations is defined as one where high emotion, differing opinions, and high stakes are involved between one or more people.
She continues to stay current in the field about national trends through scholarship, publication, and professional membership. Her research has awarded her the opportunity to present on diversity commitment in the field of higher education for Noel Levitz, serves as a Peer Reviewer for SAGE Publications, and Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). She is a peer reviewer for American Psychological Association’s (APA) Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, a multidisciplinary periodical that offers research findings, theory, and promising practices, which assist institutions of higher education in the pursuit of inclusive excellence. She previously served as a Title IX Expert for College and University Professional Association in Higher Education (CUPA). In this role, higher education professionals can seek advice related to Title IX compliance and the impact on their respective campuses. She is also a member of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD).
She has earned certification in Global Mindset, CQ – Cultural Intelligence Trainer-the-Trainer Certification, ACUE/ACE Effective Teaching, Bias and Cultural Competencies, Title IX Administrator, and Civil Rights Investigations.
Perry-Fantini serves on the Advisory Board for the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA). She was selected to serve on the ATIXA Legislative Policy Committee. The purpose of the committee is to identify major issues and/or conflicts in regulations. She was selected as one of the ten Title IX Coordinators in North America to present to the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights and their legal team regarding 2020 federal regulations.
She was selected by the Ohio Department of Higher Education to serve on the Chancellor's Special Committee to review RFP proposals as it relates to services around the annual campus climate survey for colleges and universities in the State of Ohio to have the opportunity for campuses to focus in on underrepresented or marginalized communities on their campus.
As a former member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), which is an affiliation of the American Council of Education (ACE). She served on the public policy committee and submitted a briefing to the U.S. Congress via NADOHE for Fisher vs. University of Texas.
Perry-Fantini earned a Ph.D. in Organizational Management from Capella University. She also holds a Master of Business Administration Degree from Tiffin University and a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Human Resource Management and Organizational Management. The British Standards Institution granted her certification as a Quality Lead Auditor for ISO 9000 in 2001. In 2000, she completed certification in Professional Human Resource Management from University of Toledo and Society of Human Resource Management.
She continues to give back to the community by serving on Seneca County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. planning committee, Seneca County Juneteenth committee, and volunteering at Cedar Creek. Previously, she was an executive board member of Lorain County Urban League, a member of Terra State Community College Advisory Board, a board member for Community Hospice Care, and as a member of the Ohio Transfer Council.
Program Director for Gender and Sexual Diversity Initiatives
port directs the Inclusion Initiatives Grant Program, University Award for Inclusive Excellence, Martin Luther King, Jr. Advancing One Community Awards, Inclusion@IowaState, and serves as the point person for Faculty and Staff Associations. Additionally, she is the primary contact for work around gender and sexual diversity (GSD) and topics that are important to the LGBTQ+ community.
GSD initiatives port is currently advancing are the expansion of gender-inclusive housing in the Department of Residence; administration of the Big 12 Violence and Discrimination Awareness and Prevention fund at ISU; advancement of healthcare in Ames for people who are transgender; connections to and between LGBTQ-affirming groups on campus; relationships with LGBTQ-affirming organizations in Iowa; and outreach to/committee service for efforts that center the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community. Next on her list is the launching of GSD@ISU - reimagining safe zone training on campus and continued work with anyone interested in the mantra:
Find Your Motivation | Decide to Act | Collaborate | Focus on Positive Change | Assume Goodwill
port joined the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office after 15 years at Iowa State and is known as a creative and connective problem-solver who brings people together to address matters that are important to the Iowa State community. Prior to her current role, port was active in inclusion initiatives through founding, chairing, and/or advising numerous LGBTQ-affirming groups, co-founding ISU’s Faculty and Staff Association Council, and organizing the participation of underrepresented faculty, staff and students in campus-wide initiatives such as ISU’s reaccreditation process, the creation and selection of ISU’s first Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, and the authoring of our university’s 2017-22 strategic plan.
port earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Northern Iowa and attended Minnesota State University, Mankato, where she studied Counseling and Student Personnel - College Student Affairs. She was born and raised in Iowa and is a fan of movies, live music, her scooter and Iowa State athletics.