Search for Chief Diversity Officer still ongoing


Camille Studebaker

The search for a new inclusivity leadership position at the University continues. The search firm, the Desir Group, began its work in the Fall 2016, in which the selected 15-member search committee has been meeting and continuing its nationwide search for the position.

“We have witnessed tremendous growth on this campus, including students, faculty and staff from a multitude of cultures, backgrounds, ethnicities, religions and lifestyles,” President Stuart Bell said when the search was announced. “Those differences make our campus richer, and we all benefit. Our goal in creating this leadership position is to enhance the engagement, support and well-being for everyone on campus.”

The committee met again on Feb. 10, in which the members reviewed the pool of applicants and selected a group that they will meet in-person. Within the coming weeks, committee members will meet each of the first round candidates. From there, the committee will narrow the group to around three or four finalists who will be invited to campus. Their names are expected to be released around early march, said Monica Watts, associate vice president for Communications.

The next meeting will consist of analyzing the notes and information taken from the interviews, according to the committee’s student representative Shelby Norman, a senior majoring in political science and SGA’s director of multicultural affairs.

Norman said the the search committee has to use its best judgment in determining what the best qualities and traits are for the individual filling a position that is not yet in existence at the University.

“Not knowing individuals can be difficult when you’re looking for an inaugural position, and how they would fit best with it,” she said.

Ultimately, the position is being sought out to provide a voice for all students, faculty and staff on campus and at the administrative level. She said the administration will examine issues properly and then have the ability to make things happen for those with concerns related to diversity.

“It’s important that UA has a person in this role because we’re falling a little behind, I think, with other colleges and universities and we want to be in the forefront and be preemptive about being able to handle issues that come to diversity, equity and inclusion,” she said.

Emerald Vaughn, a senior majoring in psychology, said she believes it is important that the University finds someone to make the campus more inclusive.

“It’s been a few months and I thought UA would’ve found one by now but it doesn’t seem as important to them as it does to the students, especially ones of color and other races, ethnicities and religions,” she said.