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Two Appointed to State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

West Liberty University Professor Sheli Bernstein-Goff and Vice President James F. Shaffer were recently appointed to the West Virginia Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

The Sept. 9 announcement was made by Marlene Sallo, staff director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. A total of 14 appointed members from across the state serve without compensation for a two-year term on the committee.

Bernstein-Goff is a professor of social work at West Liberty and the University’s Institutional Representative to FACDIS (Consortium for Faculty and Course Development In International Studies). She joined the faculty in 2003.

Sheli Bernstein-Goff

Sheli Bernstein-Goff

In 2012 she was appointed as a member of the Council on Disability and Persons with Disabilities, which is a part of the Council of Social Work Education, the Social Work Education Accrediting Body.

A resident of Wheeling, she currently serves on the board of directors for the Wheeling Neighborhood Ventures, Wheeling Housing Authority; the Advisory Board for the YWCA Cultural Diversity Community Outreach Program; and the Advisory Board for National Safe Place Vista with Youth Services Systems.

She has previously served on the West Virginia Attorney General Hate Crimes Task Force and the Racial Justice Coalition. She is a volunteer psychotherapist with Give an Hour, which is dedicated to meeting the mental health needs of the troops and their families.

Bernstein-Goff also is a board certified diplomat as a trauma/crisis/disaster specialist and a certified compassion fatigue specialist. She has served on many non-government organizations “firststrike” response teams for interventions with either first responders or traumatized civilians during disasters and/or critical incidents on the local, state, federal and international level, including a deployment to New York City in response to the World Trade Center attack. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice presented her with a Certificate of Appreciation.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in social work at Penn State University and her master’s degree at Florida State University. She is licensed as a clinical social worker in Florida, Georgia and West Virginia.

She is married to Rabbi Ron Bernstein-Goff and is a proud mother and grandmother.

Shaffer leads the WLU Research Corporation and is a life-long resident and native West Virginian.

Originally from Clarksburg, he served six-years in the U.S. Air Force immediately after high school graduation. He then attended West Virginia University, majoring in history, economics and political science. Returning to Clarksburg, he took a position as marketing director, then began his own marketing firm and moved to Martinsburg.

Jim Shaffer

Jim Shaffer

In 1993, Shaffer moved to Morgantown and then entered state government with the Department of Health and Human Resources. By 1995, he was appointed to serve as a member of the state’s Welfare Reform Committee and eventually assumed duties at the state-level, becoming one of West Virginia’s welfare reform spokesmen.

Shaffer has served on numerous study commissions and state non-profit boards, including the Welfare Reform Coalition, Multi-CAP Agency and as advisory member to the Office of Economic Opportunity.

Shaffer left state government in 1999 to assume leadership of West Virginia Family Connections, a non-profit formed to advance early childhood development and parental involvement issues. He also served as the social services initiative chairman for the Morgantown Chamber of Commerce’s Vision 2020, board member for Morgantown’s Christian Help and three-term member of the city’s zoning board (current).

In 2006, he founded the Public Policy Foundation of West Virginia, the state’s first think-tank. The foundation publishes academic books on timely public policy issues, including legal reforms, enhanced open-meeting laws and greater transparency in government. In 2008, the organization was the recipient of the Sir Anthony Fisher International Award for best academic publication in economics.

In January 2010, West Liberty University President Robin Capehart appointed Shaffer leader of the newly formed research corporation. He continues in that role promoting entrepreneurial efforts such as the Emerging Minority Business Leaders program. He also continues in public service by serving as the ballot commissioner for Monongalia County, providing oversight for HAVA compliance and serving on the State Republican Executive Committee, elected for a third consecutive term.

As a result of his experiences in state government and public policy, he has been a frequent guest on radio talk shows and television and he has delivered more than 100 speeches and presentations to local, state and national organizations.

Shaffer is an alumnus of the Leadership West Virginia Class of 2000 and remains actively involved in a number of civic organizations. He and his daughter, Sarah, live in Morgantown.

Congress has directed the Commission on Civil Rights to establish state advisory committees (SACs) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to study issues and forward advisory reports to the Commission on matters within the agency’s jurisdiction that reflect the views of the majority of SAC members producing the report.