The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Search on hold for OID

Until a new leader for the Office of Inclusion and Diversity is hired, Nixon’s former position will be held by faculty and staff members outside of OID (Photo by Rose Barrett ’20).

One year hiatus on new chief diversity officer

St. Joe’s will not have a top permanent leadership position for the Center for Inclusion and Diversity until at least the fall 2019 semester.

The university will conduct a national search for a new chief diversity officer over the course of this academic year, University Provost Jeanne Brady, Ph.D., said in a statement to The Hawk.

Details about how that search will be conducted have not been decided, said Kim Allen-Stuck, Ph.D., assistant vice president of Student Success and Educational Support.

Until a hire has been made, Allen-Stuck and Janée Burkhalter, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing, will share the position’s responsibilities, along with other faculty, students and staff.

“I do think it is important for this area to be staffed full time by a person who has more professional experience, professional training in this area and [who is] able to lead the university on a permanent basis,” Allen-Stuck said.

The position was previously held by Monica Nixon, Ph.D., who left in July to become assistant vice president for equality, inclusion and social justice at the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

As the program coordinator for the Center of Inclusion and Diversity, Imani Briscoe ’17 is confident with the leadership figures that are currently in place. Briscoe was hired in August.

“I think with her [Allen-Stuck] as the head of that, we are in a good space because she is such a great advocate and resource on this campus,” Briscoe said. “So, if anything, we do have a good person in place at the time until we get that new provost for the role.”

Briscoe herself is a temporary hire and will be in her role until January, when Director for Inclusion and Diversity Natalie Walker Brown, and International Student Advisor Maggie Oliver, both on maternity leave, return to campus.

“If I could continue my time here, that would be awesome and I wouldn’t complain about it,” Briscoe said.

Despite the efforts of others to step in and fill Nixon’s role, students like Alexis Wilson ’19, co-president of Black Student Union, said they feel the loss of permanent leadership in an office at a crucial time when it is needed.

“With Dr. Nixon, she was just very available and super present,” Wilson said. “With a lot of things happening in the office, I knew at any given day I could go into the Center of Inclusion and Diversity and she would be there.”

Being present and available for students was an important quality that Nixon brought to the role, Wilson said.

“Sometimes I think with administrators on campus it’s hard to reach them or to feel like they are actually hearing what you are saying,” Wilson said. “You kind of have to go through a lot of people to get to them.”

Wilson said her position on the Black Student Union and involvement with inclusion and diversity has helped her grow at St. Joe’s. Although the absence of a full-time diversity officer will not have a personal effect on her, it will have a lasting effect on others, she said.

“I worry about them not having that person who’s higher up and really feel like they can go to if something were to happen or they need guidance in some shape or form,” Wilson said.

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