Meet the Staff
Dr. Anne M. Edwards
Chia (Anna) Chang
Dr. Anne Marie Edwards serves as the director of the Purdue University Black Cultural Center. Prior to this role, she held various roles in higher education including her most recent role as the director of the Center for Black Studies at Northern Illinois University. She received a B.S. and M.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Purdue University and worked in the hospitality industry for several years until returning to school to obtain an M.B.A. from Valparaiso University. She earned a doctorate in educational psychology in August of 2021 where her emphasis centered Black women and identity development in the higher education environment. Her other research interests include topics around race, motivation, leadership, and career development. Dr. Edwards is interested in ways of making research accessible to the public. Dr. Edwards is an active member of the Association of Black Culture Centers (ABCC), National Council for Black Studies (NCBS), NASPA, and her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She has presented at ABCC, NCBS, MWERA, NASPA, ACPA, Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALAH) and at the International Self-Determination theory conference. Dr. Edwards is one of the co-hosts of the podcast Blkwomynvoices, a biweekly show about Black womyn and higher education.
Senior Associate Director
Bill Caise, a native of Kentucky, is from a small town just outside of Lexington. Caise did his undergraduate work at the University of Kentucky and received his MFA from the University of Iowa. While at the University of Iowa, Caise appeared in the world premiere productions of Karin Coonrod's "Everything that Rises Must Converge" (an adaptation of Flannery O'Connor short stories), Robert Alexander's "The Last Orbit of Billy Mars" as well as the Hansberry award-winning production of Levy "Lee" Simon's "The Bow Wow Club." Some of Caise's favorite roles have been as Cutler in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom", Boy Willie in "The Piano Lesson", Nick Bottom in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as well as Chasuble in "The Importance of Being Earnest". [Read more]
Juanita M. Crider currently works full time as the Program Advisor for the Purdue University Black Cultural Center. She is also a doctoral student in American Studies at Purdue who has completed course work and is preparing for qualifying exams in the summer of 2017. Her research interests are examining representations of aging/elder black females in contemporary black feminist literature, film television and visual culture with special focus on representations of elder sexuality. [Read more]
Artist in Residence
James Dekle is a native of Statesboro, Georgia. Dekle came to the Black Cultural Center from Atlanta, Georgia, where he served as Choral Director for the Dekalb Early College Academy and the Atlanta Music Project, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that provides intense music education for underserved youth. James Dekle received a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, FL, and a Master of Music Education degree from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. [Read more]
Ula Gabrielle Gaha is the Purdue University Black Cultural Center Librarian. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature at Augusta State University (Now Augusta University) in Georgia. She minored in Women's and Gender Studies, which began her on the path of pursuing research through the lenses of feminist thought and thory. Her research interests include African American literature, literature of the American South, Black Feminist Thought, and William Faulkner scholarship.
In 2010, Ula earned both her Master of Arts in English and her Master of Library and Information Science degrees at the University of South Carolina. Her master's thesis, "The Futility of Conformity: The Danger of Gender Constructs in The Sound and the Fury" focuses on William Faulkner's novel The Sound and the Fury and the role that sexuality plays in Quentin Compson's construction of identity.
After earning her MLIS, Ula earned a Specialist degree in Academic Libraries from the University of South Carolina in 2011. She was a faculty member at Mississippi State University from 2011-2013, and a faculty member at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame from 2013-2020, where she earned tenure.