Commonwealth University Honors 3 with Keepers of the Flame Awards


Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) has named a faculty member at three Commonwealth University locations as a recipient of the second Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Keepers of the Flame Award.

Award recipients are Dr. Carroll J. Redfern, faculty emeritus at CU-Bloomsburg; Dr. Fredrick "Rick" Schulze, professor of health sciences, at CU-Lock Haven; and Kim Shelton, faculty and director of TRIO Student Support Services at CU-Mansfield.

The award recognizes an individual from each of the 14 State System university campuses for their contributions to creating and promoting diverse, equitable and inclusive environments that cultivate a sense of belonging. The award recipients were announced during PASSHE's annual DEI Summit held at Shippensburg University.

"Congratulations to each of the award recipients. Dr. Carroll Redfern, Dr. Rick Schulze and Kim Shelton demonstrate the best of Commonwealth University through their commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion across our campuses," said Bashar W. Hanna, CU president. "Through their example we will continue to champion initiatives that support and foster a welcoming and inclusive environment where every student has the ability to succeed and thrive. Thank you to the award recipients for all they have done in support of our students. Their efforts and tireless dedication are to be commended."

Redfern devoted his career to ensuring that individuals with special needs are valued, accepted and fairly treated. In 1969, Redfern received a master's degree in special education from Bloomsburg University and was hired as the university's first African American faculty member. He rose to full-time student teacher supervisor, a position held for 19 years before becoming chair of the department for special education for 10 years. As chair, he advocated for a range of student issues.

Before retiring from Bloomsburg in 2001, Redfern served on several university and community committees, taught undergraduate and graduate courses and assisted other university departments with recruiting faculty of color.

Schulze is a dedicated leader in supporting LGBTQ rights and is a tireless advocate for people. He began his career at Lock Haven in 2002 as an assistant professor of health science. Using diversity grants from PASSHE, Schulze conducted the first Safe Zone training at the university for faculty and staff and he launched an LGBTQ student conference, which was a precursor to the Mid-Atlantic LGBTQ Conference.

An advisor to the university's Gender and Sexuality Alliance for many years, Schulze provides trainings and LGBTQ workshops for student mentors, resident assistants, student leaders and the Lock Haven community, including local teachers and social and human service personnel.

Through his distinguished leadership on campus, Schulze helped form the President's Commission on LGBTQ Affairs in 2010 and the PASSHE LGBTQ Consortium. Additionally, he led the university's membership into the LGBTQ Consortium of Higher Education Professionals and the Campus Pride Index.

Shelton is a dedicated leader of the university's TRIO programs which provides no cost academic assistance to up to 200 low-income and first-generation college students and students with disabilities to succeed and earn their bachelor's degree. Respected for always giving her time and energy to supporting students, Shelton strives to include diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging into her work.

Shelton arrived at Mansfield in a faculty/advisor position in the Department of Academic and Human Development from 2008 to 2010 and returned as faculty and director of TRIO Programs in January 2016. Believing that each student has a unique learning style, Shelton encourages instruction using a variety of teaching techniques and actively engaging students in the learning process.

Shelton's many contributions to the university include serving on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Title IX Committee and Foster Care Youth Work Group as well as previously serving as a president of the Pennsylvania Association of TRIO Programs.

"Each recipient of the Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education Keepers of the Flame award embodies the best in humanity - demonstrating a commitment to raising awareness about important issues and advocating for 'doing the right thing,'" said Dr. Denise Pearson, vice chancellor and chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) officer at the Office of the Chancellor. "PASSHE university communities have long understood the intersection between academic excellence, DEI and student success. This year, we are truly pleased to celebrate the contributions of Dr. Carroll Redfern, Dr. Rick Schulze and Kim Shelton and the other recipients, and we lift them up as role models to emulate. It is a privilege to honor them."