U-M expanding search for vice provost, chief diversity officer

September 14, 2021

Provost Susan M. Collins has named a 17-member search advisory committee to conduct a national search for the university’s next vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer.

The committee, which includes faculty, staff and students, is advising the search for a successor to Robert Sellers, who announced earlier this year he will step down from the role at the end of the year.

The search advisory committee will be chaired by Ketra Armstrong, University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor, professor of sports management and director of diversity equity and inclusion, School of Kinesiology; and professor of women’s and gender studies, LSA.

“We committed to a national search for the hiring of our next vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer because we listened to feedback from those within our community,” Collins said.

“This position is a crucial part of ensuring our campus community is engaged in efforts that ensure everyone — students, staff and faculty — has the opportunity to thrive. A national search will help us find the very best candidate for this key leadership role.”

The position was initially posted April 30 and was only open to tenured U-M faculty on the Ann Arbor campus.

Following feedback from U-M’s DEI community, President Mark Schlissel and Collins decided that, in addition to the U-M faculty who have applied, they will also consider faculty from around the country who would be eligible for appointment as a tenured faculty member at U-M.

The idea behind this expanded approach is to ensure a robust search for this critical leadership position, with a broader search that will lead to a more diverse applicant pool. The intent is to identify a new VPEI-CDO who would begin serving in summer 2022.

Candidates must have a proven track record driving diversity, equity and inclusion and a deep understanding of strategies that support cultural transformation in university contexts.

The selection of the next VPEI-CDO comes at a pivotal time as this fall the university will begin engaging in the evaluation process at both the unit and university level of DEI 1.0 — the university’s initial diversity, equity and inclusion five-year strategic plan. The process will be followed by a yearlong cross-campus engagement period for the university’s next DEI strategic plan, DEI 2.0.

“This is a great time to transition to new leadership with new ideas, new energy and new perspectives to lead us into the next phase of the university’s diversity, equity and inclusion journey,” Sellers said.

Collins said the person who fills the position will serve as a thought leader, trusted adviser and effective communicator in helping to create an inclusive environment across the university.

“The VPEI-CDO will meet regularly with the president and will serve as the principal adviser to the president on DEI issues, and provide overall leadership of these efforts,” she said. “They will be part of the executive leadership team of the university and attend the regular meetings of that team.”

The VPEI-CDO is a senior leadership role that serves at the helm of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which includes the Office of Academic Multicultural Affairs, Center for Educational Outreach, Wolverine Pathways, ODEI business support team, DEI development team, and the evaluation and assessment team.

The position reports directly to the provost, serves as a member of the provost’s leadership team, and is involved in areas of academic affairs including faculty recruitment and retention, tenure and promotion, and faculty development.

The person who fills the position will also lead the implementation, general oversight and ongoing evaluation of U-M’s DEI Strategic Plan and will maintain new and existing programs in the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs that support DEI efforts involving faculty, students and staff.

Besides Armstrong, committee members are:

  • David J. Brown, associate vice president and associate dean for health, equity and inclusion, and associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, Medical School.
  • Sydney Carr, graduate student in political science, LSA; and in public policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
  • Yan Chen, Daniel Kahneman Collegiate Professor of Information and professor of information, School of Information; and research professor, Research Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social Research.
  • Elizabeth Cole, associate chair of the Department of Psychology, and professor of ​​women’s and gender studies, Afroamerican and African studies, and psychology, LSA.
  • Dilip Das, associate vice provost, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  • Lauren Davis, director of diversity, equity and community, School for Environment and Sustainability.
  • John Gonzalez, director of Rackham Institutional Research.
  • Irene Hwang, assistant chair of architecture, lecturer III in architecture and urban planning, A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.
  • Chris Kolb, vice president for government relations, Office of the Vice President for Government Relations.
  • Jennifer Linderman, Pamela Raymond Collegiate Professor of Engineering, professor of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering, College of Engineering.
  • Damani Partridge, professor of anthropology, and Afroamerican and African studies, LSA.
  • Stephanie Rosen, accessibility strategist and librarian for disability studies, University Library.
  • Will Sherry, project lead manager, Spectrum Center.
  • Tamiko Strickman, special adviser to the president and executive director of the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office.
  • Marie Ting, associate director, National Center for Institutional Diversity.
  • Rebeca Yanes, undergraduate student, psychology, LSA.

To nominate prospective candidates or ask questions of the committee, send an email to VPEICDO-sac-chair@umich.edu.


This article originally appeared in the September 14, 2021 edition of The University Record