Keynotes

Tricia Rose

Monday, April 9 | 8:30-10:00 a.m. 

Born and raised in Harlem and the Bronx in New York City, Tricia Rose graduated from Yale University where she received a bachelor’s degree in sociology and then received her doctorate American Studies from Brown University. She has taught at New York University, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is currently chancellor’s professor of Africana Studies and the director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. Rose also serves as associate dean of the faculty for special initiatives. In addition to her duties at Brown, professor Rose sits on the boards of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Color of Change and Black Girls Rock, Inc.

Rose is an internationally respected scholar of post civil rights era black U.S. culture, popular music, social issues, gender and sexuality. She has been awarded for her teaching and has received several scholarly fellowships including ones from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the American Association of University Women.

She is most well known for her groundbreaking book on the emergence of hip hop culture, Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America. Her book is considered foundational text for the study of hip hop, one that has defined what is now an entire field of study. Black Noise won an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation in 1995, was voted among the top 25 books of 1995 by the Village Voice, and in 1999 was listed by Black Issues in Higher Education as one of its “Top Books of the Twentieth Century.”

In 2003 Rose published a rare and powerful oral narrative history of black women’s sexual life stories, called Longing To Tell: Black Women Talk About Sexuality and Intimacy. In 2008, Rose returned to hip hop to challenge the field she helped found with her essay, The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop-And Why It Matters. Her essays can be found in a range of scholarly journals and public venues. She is currently working on a project called How Structural Racism Works.

Rose lectures, engages in conversations and presents seminars and workshops to scholarly and general audiences on a wide range of issues relating to race in America, mass media, structural inequality, popular culture, gender and sexuality and art and social justice. Rose has been featured on PBS, MSNBC, CNN, NPR and other national and local media outlets. More of her work can be found in scholarly journals and more popular outlets. She encourages you to connect with her through her website , TwitterFacebook and YouTube.


Barbara Decker

Tuesday, April 10 | 9:00-10:15 a.m.


Dr. Barbara Quijano Decker is president of Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines, Iowa. Mercy College specializes in health science education with bachelor, associate, and certificate degrees in nursing, allied health programs and liberal arts and sciences. Dr. Decker began her employment with Mercy College in 2005. Prior to joining Mercy College, she served as administrator of human resources at Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines from 2001 to 2005. Her background includes employment as vice provost of human resources at Drake University from 1988 to 2001 and Syntex, Inc., an international pharmaceutical organization, from 1978 to 2001. Throughout her career, she has had varied experiences in human resources, higher education and health care. Dr. Decker was an instructor and presenter for Drake University and numerous business organizations in the area of management, compliance and related topics.

Dr. Decker is a graduate of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa receiving a Juris Doctor degree, a master’s degree in public administration, and a bachelor’s degree in history and sociology. She was admitted to the Iowa State Bar upon her graduation from the Drake Law School in July 2000. She has received scholastic honors as a member of Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society in liberal arts and sciences, and Pi Alpha Alpha National Honor Society in public affairs and administration.

She is a recipient of the 2007 Distinguished Master of Public Administration Alumnus Award from Drake’s College of Business & Public Administration and received the Robert D. Ray Ambassador Award from the Iowa Commission on Latino Affairs in 2006. Dr. Decker is a recipient of the Central Iowa Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) Award for Excellence in Human Resources which she received in 1998.

Dr. Decker is a member of various community boards and professional organizations including the Association of Catholic Colleges & Universities (ACCU); the Executive Committee, Membership Committee and Task Chair of the ACCU Hispanic Initiative; Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (IAICU); Community Advisory of Bankers Trust; Greater Des Moines Partnership Talent Recruitment Committee; Iowa Catholic Collegiate Association; Iowa Catholic Conference; Iowa Campus Compact; and related associations. She is the past president of the Drake Law School Board of Counselors and board member of The Homestead.

Dr. Decker is a member of the Vision Council at St. Ambrose Cathedral. She is actively involved in the coordination of health and ministry activities at the cathedral, supporting a large refugee parishioner population. Dr. Decker also serves as a member of Catholic Council for Social Concern, Inc., providing oversight and guidance to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Des Moines and the Diocese’s Hispanic Lay Ministry Formation Committee.