Update on Inclusion and Diversity Search and Initiatives

TO: Faculty, Staff and Students
FROM: Cheryl McConnell, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
RE: Update on Inclusion and Diversity Search and Initiatives


As we begin the semester, I write to update the community on our inclusion and diversity initiatives and to share information on our renewed search for a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) leader. In my first few months on campus, I met and heard from so many people committed to these efforts. I am encouraged by and proud of the earnest work to address and maintain progress on these important initiatives.

Plans and Progress
As a relative newcomer to our community, I was pleased to learn that last year was not just a year of reports and planning; it was also a year of significant action in all areas of the University. Using the Racial Bias Taskforce Action Plan, the Inclusive Excellence Blueprint and the Climate Study Report, we’ve made improvements in our bias activity response protocol; modified reporting and training in our student life division; expanded embedded programs for all incoming students and faculty; and enhanced professional development opportunities for faculty to create more inclusive classrooms and to develop antiracist and intersectional pedagogical practices.

In addition to ongoing initiatives, we continue to seek ways to grow and challenge our understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion through significant events and programming. One such event will be “A Day of Learning on Catholic Social Teaching and Racism – Open Wide our Hearts,” on Sept. 26, hosted by the Faith-Justice Institute, the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, and the Office of Teaching and Learning, featuring Dr. Shawnee Daniels-Sykes, professor of theology and ethics at Mount Mary University.

Additionally, Wadell Ridley, our interim chief diversity and inclusion officer, is now finalizing our Academic Year 19/20 initiatives, and he will be creating a way to keep the community updated on progress, initiatives and events. A full listing of initiatives and action plans will soon be available on the Office of Inclusion and Diversity website.

Search Update
Amidst all of the work being done throughout our campus community, we are also beginning the search for our next DEI leader. Over the summer, we carefully reexamined the University’s needs, paying particular attention to progress made, challenges yet to be met, and reflections regarding the initial search. Based on our reflections and consultations with the University leadership team, the Search Committee, the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, and other Jesuit colleges and universities, we have updated the position description and modified the title to be Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. You will notice that the word equity is now included in the title and responsibilities. Equity is an important term which requires strategies to ensure that everyone has access to the same opportunities and rewards – it is an essential component of inclusion and diversity. The successful candidate will be a key member of the Provost’s Council and the University Leadership Council. The associate provost will be responsible for creating a Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence, including goal setting, outcome metrics, ongoing communication and assessment.

In addition to position modifications, we have made two other important changes. We have formalized the role of faculty liaison for DEI, a position currently held by Dr. Janée Burkhalter, associate professor of marketing. This addition recognizes the need for a key partner who can focus on academic, curricular and faculty support. We have also provided an operating budget increase for the successful candidate to implement new initiatives without reducing existing programs.

As Dr. Reed noted in his University message, the search committee will be co-chaired by Dr. Burkhalter and Dr. Kim Allen-Stuck. All prior search committee members have graciously agreed to continue their work, with the only changes being student membership. We are beginning the search process right away, with the search firm partner Ellen Heffernan from Spelman Johnson. She is scheduled to be on campus on Sept. 20. The full schedule can be found here and requires Nest login. Please mark your calendars for the open meeting with the campus community from 1-2 p.m., in the Presidents’ Lounge of Campion Student Center. During this session, Ellen will be seeking feedback about the challenges and opportunities of the position, the characteristics of the ideal candidate, insights regarding our campus culture and takeaways from last semester’s search.

Similar to the webpage created to keep the community updated on DEI initiatives planned and completed, there will be an additional webpage created to keep the community informed on the search process. Both pages will be linked from the current OID website.

Conclusion
Special recognition and thanks to the professionals in our Office for Inclusion and Diversity, whose ongoing work is central to our mission. Additional thanks to members of the Racial Bias Task Force and the President’s Council on Inclusion and Diversity. Your hard work and commitment has laid the foundation for our current and future plans and actions. I urge our community at large to seek involvement in these initiatives. We all share a responsibility to advance the diversity, equity and inclusion goals that are integral to our Jesuit mission and essential for us all to meet the challenges of the world.

Assistant Provost for Inclusion and Diversity

Saint Joseph's University

TO: University Community

FROM: Jeanne F. Brady, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Cary Anderson, Ed.D., Vice President for Student Life and Associate Provost

RE: Assistant Provost for Inclusion and Diversity

We are pleased to announce that Monica L. Nixon, Ed.D. will be joining the Saint Joseph’s University community on August 29 as the inaugural Assistant Provost for Inclusion and Diversity. Dr. Nixon is currently the Assistant Vice President for Student Development at Seattle University, a fellow Jesuit institution. In this role she oversees numerous departments and projects focusing on leadership and innovation. Prior to her current role, she served eight years as the Director of Multicultural Affairs at Seattle University and held a variety of leadership roles at Colgate University, the University of Puget Sound and the University of Virginia. She earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington and both a B.A. and M.Ed. from the University of Virginia.

As Dr. Reed announced in March, “this senior leader will oversee and lead institutional diversity initiatives and student diversity programs and services, including the Office of Multicultural Life, the Women’s Center, and the Ignatian College Connection and other diversity related pre-college programs.” As part of the reorganization some of the titles and responsibilities have changed, allowing this important work to be more focused.

Dr. Nixon will also coordinate and work closely with the Offices of Human Resources, Admissions, Student Success, Veterans’ Services, Teaching and Learning, and Student Disability Services to promote, support and sustain a diverse and inclusive community. As a core member of the Provost’s Council, she will be well positioned to promote the needs of all underrepresented groups and advance diversity initiatives. Further, the Assistant Provost for Inclusion and Diversity will chair the soon-to-be-appointed President’s Council on Inclusion and Diversity.

We’d like to thank the search committee, co-chaired by Dr. Becki Scola and Dr. Kim Allen-Stuck, for their excellent work in identifying such a qualified candidate. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Nixon when she arrives on Hawk Hill.

Saint Joseph’s University | 5600 City Avenue | Philadelphia, PA 19131
610-660-1000 | sju.edu

Leadership and Support for Inclusion and Diversity

Office of the President Letterhead

DATE:           May 11, 2016

TO:                 University Community

FROM:          Dr. Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., President

RE:                 Leadership and Support for Inclusion and Diversity

As the spring semester comes to a close, I feel it is important to provide the University community an update on the status of leadership and support for Inclusion and Diversity on campus.  You will recall that following spring break, I wrote to the University community and reaffirmed that the commitment to, importance, and value of diversity are central to the mission of our University.  To that end, I announced a reorganization of the Office of Inclusion and Diversity and coordination of efforts across campus and to support students.

I am pleased to share the following updates:

  • The search for the Assistant Provost for Inclusion and Diversity is well underway, progressing right on schedule.  The position attracted many quality applicants, and the search committee (which includes staff, faculty, and students) conducted several interviews and has identified a small number of final candidates who will be coming to campus over the next two weeks.  Please look for an upcoming invitation in Hawk Hill Today to attend an open session to meet the candidates.
  • Following the appointment of the Assistant Provost, the membership, role, and expectations for the (University-wide) President’s Council on Inclusion and Diversity will be determined and in place for the fall semester.  Additionally, an Inclusion and Diversity Leadership Team will be established to coordinate initiatives across campus and ensure reach to students, faculty, and staff.
  • We continue evaluation of options for space additions and enhancements for the Office of Inclusion and Diversity and student groups.  We recognize the challenges associated with identifying space and completing the necessary work but are firmly committed to accomplishing this as soon as possible.

I am grateful to Dr. Cary Anderson, Vice President for Student Life and Associate Provost, and all the members of the search committee for their timely work on this important search.  I thank all of you who embrace diversity at Saint Joseph’s University.  Building a culture that is welcoming and inclusive to individuals from all backgrounds is a responsibility we all share.

Leadership for Inclusion and Diversity

Office of the President Letterhead

DATE:          March 18, 2016

TO:                SJU Community

FROM:         Dr. Mark C. Reed

RE:               Leadership for Inclusion and Diversity

Commitment to inclusion and diversity is central to our institutional mission, which calls us to be active global citizens who think critically and act responsibly. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that Saint Joseph’s is a welcoming and accepting place for students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds to live, learn, and work.

To address this critical area and in response to ongoing, thoughtful campus-wide conversations on this topic, I am announcing the reorganization of formerly separate offices and functions and the creation of the position of Assistant Provost for Inclusion and Diversity, reporting to the Provost through the Vice President for Student Life & Associate Provost. This senior leader will oversee and lead institutional diversity initiatives and student diversity programs and services, including the Office of Multicultural Life, the Women’s Center, and the Ignatian College Connection and other diversity related pre-college programs.

The Assistant Provost will also coordinate and work closely with the offices of Human Resources, Admissions, Student Success, Veterans’ Services, the Office of Teaching and Learning, and Student Disability Services to promote, support, and sustain a diverse and inclusive community.  As a core member of the Provost’s Council, the Assistant Provost will be well-positioned to promote the needs of all underrepresented groups and advance diversity initiatives.  Moreover, we will identify and establish a unified physical space for staff working in these areas and the students they serve. We will begin the recruitment and hiring process for the Assistant Provost position immediately.

The creation of this position makes a clear statement about the value of diversity at Saint Joseph’s, but the work that needs to be done cannot and will not be accomplished by one individual. It is our collective responsibility. Therefore, I am also creating the President’s Council on Inclusion and Diversity, to be chaired by the Assistant Provost for Inclusion and Diversity, but comprised of representatives across our campus. The Council will report to me regularly on the status of efforts to promote, support and expand the culture of diversity on our campus.  I will consult with the senior leadership of the University before finalizing appointments to this new council.

I’m grateful to all those on campus who actively embrace diversity and make a difference in the lives of our students.

Dr. Mark C. Reed
President