The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Search for Vice President for Inclusion continues

The final decision regarding the new position will be made in the coming weeks. (Photo courtesy of Lafayette Communications)

A new administrative position, Vice President for Inclusion, has been designed to make the structure of the school more equitable, diverse and inclusive. Candidates for the position are currently being vetted.

The ideal candidate, according to the posting on WittiKeffer, an executive career search site, will have “a strong background in equity and inclusion work … and a proven track record of program development and implementation.” 

Christopher Phillips, head of the English department and a member of the search committee for the new position, said that this will be someone who is “an excellent listener” and “a proven bridge-builder.”

“Ensuring that the policies and practices of the College promote access and inclusion will … be a big part of their role,” Nicole Eramo, college President Nicole Hurd’s chief of staff and another member of the committee, wrote in an email. 

The identities of the candidates have been withheld for confidentiality, but Phillips said that he and the committee were most impressed by those who “have asked the hardest questions.”

The committee is an “all-star team,” according to Phillips, who, with Eramo, is joined by director of religious and spiritual life Alex Hendrickson, director of art galleries Rico Reyes and professor of religious studies Robin Rinehart. The co-chairs of the committee are Jorge Torres, professor of music, and Forrest Stuart, vice president of enrollment. Torres declined to comment until the position has been filled.

Additionally, student leaders were asked to join the committee during a series of meetings to ask questions to the candidates.

The ultimate selection decision is given to Hurd and the Board of Trustees. The Vice President for Inclusion will be working directly with Hurd, as well as the other members of the administration.

Phillips has high hopes for the accomplishments of the future administrator. He said that the work will be that of coordination with many working groups, both internal and external.

“There’s a lot of effort on campus to make things more equitable, more inclusive,” Phillips said. “There’s a lot of will, desire, to make things better in that area … if you just have individuals or small groups making these efforts without something coordinated across campus, it’s really hard to change the whole culture.”

Hurd also stressed that whoever steps into the role will be working with people in every corner of campus. “I’m always concerned when diversity equity inclusion work feels like we’re checking boxes, or that it only belongs to one person,” she said. “So this VP is not going to be doing the work on their own. This is a person that’s going to help us create systems and help us find ways to see and hear and value each other.”

The vice president will have their own staff, according to Phillips, as well as a great amount of resources at their disposal with which to begin structural changes.

Phillips said he is thrilled to be a part of the process.

“It is just super cool to see this happening right now and that I’m getting a front-row seat to it,” Phillips said.

The last question and answer session with the final candidates for the position is to be held today at 4:15 p.m. It is open to all who sign up

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