The University tapped a current Ivy League administrator to assume the role of vice provost for diversity and inclusion, a position created last year to spearhead GW’s attempt to attract students and employees from more diverse backgrounds.
Dr. Terri Harris Reed – who currently serves as vice provost for institutional equity and diversity at Princeton University – said?she will implement a strategy in line with the University’s aspirations for diversity.
Reed’s appointment comes in the midst of a major push for more diversity on campus, including last year’s formation of a Council on Diversity and Inclusion.
A study released last semester showed that GW is less diverse than its market basket schools. Fifty-six percent of the student body is white, compared with 43 and 45 percent white student bodies at New York University and Boston University, respectively. University data from the Office of Institutional Research and Planning last year showed that the number of GW’s minority faculty members was 2 percent higher than the national average.
University Provost Steven Lerman said Reed will be involved in “recruitment and retention” of diverse faculty, staff and students, and will coordinate with his office, department chairs, deans and vice presidents to do so.
“The idea for creating this new vice provost position came about to reinforce GW’s ongoing efforts to be a leading institution in the areas of diversity and inclusion,” Lerman said. “Our goal is to make GW the university of choice for everyone.”
Reed said she views “a diverse and inclusive university” as one with individuals from different backgrounds and different experiences who can have meaningful interactions with one another to thrive and learn from each other.
In terms of what GW is specifically lacking in diversity and inclusion, Reed said she needs to wait until she arrives in May “to get a sense from the key constituents and what they think is lacking.” She officially begins at GW May 23.
“By creating the position obviously the [University] president and the provost think there is some room for growth,” Reed said. “I would imagine that it’s in all the areas… in terms of representation and in terms of climate.”
She said the first thing she will do when she arrives at GW will be to seek out those who champion diversity on campus and equip them with the tools they need to make an impact.
Lianne Sullivan-Crowley, vice president for human resources at Princeton, said Reed will be “a wonderful colleague for the folks at GW.”
“Terri is smart, innovative, practical, proactive, centered and funny,” Crowley said. “Personally, I will miss her sense of humor,?her willingness and capacity to always have an open door, and her practical problem-solving approach to all that came through that open door.”
This article appeared in the February 28, 2011 issue of the Hatchet.