Michigan State President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. announced that MSU will resume the search for a vice president and chief diversity officer, or CDO, at the Board of Trustees meeting Friday.
“The search committee anticipates being able to identify finalists to participate in the campus engagement process early in the fall semester,” Stanley said during the meeting. “This position is critical to Michigan State University and our need for fundamental improvements in (diversity, equity, and inclusion) across the institution.”
The search formally began in January after it was announced former Senior Advisor to the President for Diversity Paulette Granberry Russell would shift into a new position as a special adviser to the president. However, the search was paused when MSU transitioned to online instruction.
The CDO position will be at the level of vice president for the first time in the university’s history and will serve in place of the previous senior advisor to the president for diversity position and all the responsibilities that fell under Russell will now fall under the CDO.
“They will be tasked with coordinating all these activities around the campus to make sure that we’re putting (diversity, equity, and inclusion) on top of the line when we consider some of our major initiatives,” Stanley said. “They will be at the cabinet at the VP level with a direct input to me.”
Stanley said those who were previously interested in the position were notified of the resumed process and that he hopes to add more candidates as well.
During the pause, co-chairs of the search committee, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters Christopher Long and Senior Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Melissa Woo, were able to connect with potential candidates but not conduct interviews.
Stanley said the hope is to bring candidates to campus in the fall, either virtually or in person, for interviews, then the selection process will move quickly.
The CDO will report directly to the president and work with other university senior executives, deans, faculty, staff and students to create and implement a diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, plan for the university, along with the DEI steering committee.
Additionally, they will work with the vice president for civil rights and Title IX education and compliance as well as many other offices across MSU.
“The CDO ... will have the opportunity to work with our DEI strategic planning committee to implement a comprehensive plan for DEI that harnesses the great work going on within different units across the university on issues like eliminating gaps in student success, recruitment of underrepresented students, faculty and staff and creating a more welcoming campus,” Stanley said.