Emory plans to appoint its first chief diversity officer (CDO) by Fall 2019, according to Vice Provost of Equity and Inclusion Lynell Cadray. The position is expected to address diversity issues by examining policy changes, conducting assessments and developing strategic plans, Cadray said.
“Many of the initiatives around diversity that we’ve had at Emory … [aren’t organized] in a collected way,” Cadray said. “We don’t really have a central place where people can go and learn what’s going on around the University.”
Cadray said the CDO will serve on Provost Dwight A. McBride’s leadership team and report directly to the provost. The CDO will also work with divisional schools’ diversity chairs, Cadray said. Laney Graduate School and Goizueta Business School already have similar diversity-related positions, and more schools might add similar positions, according to Cadray.
“Our hope is that every school will have someone designated and a committee designated to work on these things [improving diversity],” Cadray said. “This will be … an opportunity to have someone at the senior level at the University that can collaborate with all of our partners within the University to put together a stronger strategic plan and strategic initiative around these issues.”
Cadray said the University first identified the need for a new diversity position when Emory conducted a University-wide diversity engagement survey in 2016. A committee reviewed the survey results and made several recommendations to the provost, including the new position, Cadray said.
Cadray noted that the Emory student population is diverse, but the faculty does not mirror student demographics.
“Our student diversity is much more robust than our faculty diversity,” Cadray said.
The University has faced calls for improving faculty diversity in the past. In Fall 2015, student group Black Students at Emory issued 13 demands to administrators, including an increase in the amount of black and Latino full time, tenured professors. In addition, the Class and Labor 2 Committee found “significant[ly]” low levels of faculty diversity at Emory compared to peer institutions.
McBride will begin the search process this fall by hiring an executive search firm and launching a search committee, according to Cadray.
University staff, administrators and student-facing personnel formed a committee that met in Spring 2018 and early Summer 2018 to identify qualities that would be important for the position, including leadership and prior experience, according to Cadray.
Cadray said the selected candidate may determine that additional support staff is needed to effectively complete their goals.
John Priddy (19C), executive vice president of the Student Government Association and member of the Committee on Racial and Social Justice, said he thinks the position will greatly benefit the University.
“I think it sounds like a great idea,” Priddy said. “Definitely something that would be really important for Emory.”