Last Wednesday, University of Connecticut President Thomas Katsouleas officially announced the members of the search committee which will be tasked with finding a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) for the University.
In the announcement, the president cited the CDO search committee’s main objective as finding a candidate who can successfully fulfill the position of Chief Diversity Officer, which will be someone who will continue to advance diversity and inclusion at UConn through cultivating an environment that will support these values.
Members include 19 representatives, all experts in their respective occupations and fields. Many are professors and associate professors from several academic departments. The committee also includes a doctorate student, multiple vice presidents of different departments, the USG president and the lieutenant of the UConn Police Department.
The committee is chaired by Dr. Mark Overmyer-Velazquez, a professor of history and Latino and Latin American studies as well as the campus director of UConn Hartford.
Overmyer-Velazquez believes that the most successful CDO will be “someone who has a lot of experience in higher education, ideally someone who understands us as a research university and someone who has the experience to communicate across differences, with a really diverse staff and student body.”
Overmyer-Velazquez said he is motivated to find a CDO because the university needs a leader who understands the importance of diversity at UConn, as well as someone who will continue to support student programs and curricula which uphold the university’s values of diversity.
“My motivation is really for the entire community, for our students, staff and faculty, to have someone who can help us be a successful university in terms of understanding and supporting what diversity means for us as an institution,” Overmyer-Velazquez said. “From student support and programming, to retaining and attracting the best and diverse body of students, staff and faculty, to being a leader not only in Connecticut, but nationwide.”
Overmyer-Velazquez said he believes the university will attract a high volume of well-qualified candidates, as long as the committee, faculty and staff at UConn stay committed to spreading the word about the position.
“That’s the main thing, to make sure our search committee and our network of staff and faculty are able to get the word out, and the search firm we work with, which is yet to be identified, helps us to get qualified candidates,” Overmyer-Velazquez said. “I think the University of Connecticut and Connecticut in general are really attractive institutions and locations, so I think that we are going to get a really great pool of people to join us.”
Overmyer-Velazquez predicts that the search for a Chief Diversity Officer will begin this semester, and is hoping that the search will be finalized by the end of the academic year.
Amanda Kilyk is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.