Brief History of DEI

The Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion was created in 2009 under President Lester A. Lefton. The leadership of the University Diversity Action Council, committed individuals like Rev. Ronald Fowler and a growing understanding of the importance of inclusion led the university to make a stronger commitment to diversity in the Strategic Plan, creating a Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Under the leadership of former Vice President Alfreda Brown, the division was built to support diversity initiatives throughout the university and endeavored to infuse a value for equity and inclusion in all decision making. The division continues to lead the university’s efforts to increase diverse representation, create and sustain equity of opportunity, and intentionally foster an inclusive environment.

Beginning in 2012, the division led the creation and implementation of the five-year Equity Action Plan (EAP), which articulated goals and created institutionalized, sustainable efforts to ensure that the university was moving toward truly inclusive excellence. The university also completed an extensive Climate Study process which will continue to guide our work toward enhancing the climate that our students, faculty and staff experience.

Kent State has been honored numerous times, including as a Diversity Champion and with five consecutive HEED awards, for its ongoing work. With the conclusion of the EAP in 2017, the work of advancing diversity at Kent State is far from over. The University Diversity Action Council, the staff of DEI and, indeed, all students, faculty and staff have a role to play in the next steps. The university's 12th President Beverly Warren’s Strategic Roadmap envisions an inclusive environment where diversity is key to the achievement of our goals as a community. 

Dr. Brown retired in May 2020, and Amoaba Gooden, Ph.D., department chair of the Department of Pan-African Studies, was appointed interim vice president. The division was restructured to further align with the goal of decentralizing diversity, equity and inclusion work throughout the university system. DEI launched a second Climate Study focused on race, created a university-wide DEI Strategic Planning Guide for all units to create their own diversity plans, formed the Anti-Racism Task Force and conducted diversity trainings for both internal and external members of the KSU community. Dr. Gooden became vice president of the division in June 2021, and continues to lead DEI through university-wide initiatives to promote equity and inclusion in all that we do at Kent State.