Ohio University President Duane Nellis announced members of the search committee tasked with assisting in the hiring the university’s first vice president for diversity and inclusion.
The committee, which will be co-chaired by Vice President for Student Affairs and interim Chief Diversity Officer Jason Pina and OU Zanesville Dean Jeremy Webster, includes 20 members from various university constituencies.
During his October inaugural address, Nellis announced that the position of chief diversity officer would be elevated to a vice presidency — a decision that he said was met with “strong support” from students and faculty.
Nellis intends to have the university's new vice president for diversity and inclusion in place by July 1.
“I made this decision because I believe that our ever-evolving world currently demands a heightened focus on matters such as discrimination and bias,” Nellis wrote in a campus-wide email.
Nellis wrote that although OU has “long committed to being an inclusive community,” a recent diversity and inclusion audit shows there is “still room for improvement.”
“The time has come to do more in this area,” Nellis wrote. “We need real leadership so we can realize our true promise of a multicultural community where differences are accepted and celebrated."
The search committee will include three university deans, a representative from the OU Board of Trustees, as well as professors, student government representatives and others.
There will be opportunities for students and faculty to interact with the finalists when they are invited to Athens for campus visits later in the semester.
“I will be updating the University Community on these developments and I urge everyone to participate in this important part of the process.” Nellis wrote.