Search for Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Dear Members of the Kent State University Community,
To live up to our core values of respect and kindness for all requires us to do even more to battle racism, anti-Black racism and discrimination in all of its pernicious forms. We have answered that call in many critical ways this year, and I believe the vital next step is to launch and complete a search for permanent leadership of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, effective immediately.
I have appointed a 13-member search committee led by Mark M. Polatajko, Ph.D., senior vice president for finance and administration. The search committee will begin its work this week crafting a position profile, including opportunities, challenges, desired qualifications and characteristics of the vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion position. A search website has been created and can be accessed for updates.
I thank our students, faculty, staff and especially Interim Vice President Amoaba Gooden, Ph.D., for their initiative and commitment in what has been a challenging year on many fronts. We applaud the leadership of Black United Students and Undergraduate Student Government in identifying concerns and working with us to improve the safety and inclusiveness of our campuses for all students. We appreciate all those who are participating in town halls and working groups, as well as those serving on the Anti-Racism Task Force that is examining 15 essential areas of university life. This spring, Interim Vice President Gooden and cross-divisional teams are launching two key initiatives: a university-wide diversity strategic planning process and the administration of a university climate study focusing on race. A dedicated core of faculty and staff developed the proposal for a broad-based Anti-Racism and Equity Institute, which was approved by Faculty Senate on Feb. 8 and will be considered by the university’s Board of Trustees in March.
Through these and many other efforts, we have set a formidable foundation for anti-racism work at Kent State. Moving forward, we must go above and beyond these accomplishments and will find the vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion to be our invaluable partner, advisor, advocate, convener and resource in achieving our vision of institutional equity, diversity and inclusion.
Your engagement in this endeavor as well as this leadership search is essential, and I encourage you to share your thoughts with the search committee and to participate in virtual campus interviews, which are planned for the week of April 19. Please provide your input on priorities, desired competencies and characteristics for the next vice president through the committee’s online survey. The position will be posted on the university’s employment system on March 8. Again, our thanks to Senior Vice President Polatajko and the search committee members for their willingness to serve and their work to complete this search before the end of the semester.
I am confident that the actions we have taken over the past year and those in the days ahead will bring needed change and bring us closer as a welcoming and unified community. I look forward to continuing our journey toward equity and inclusion with you.