A Quartet of African Americans Who Have Been Appointed to Diversity Posts in Higher Education

J. Goosby Smith has been named the inaugural vice president for community belonging and chief diversity officer at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. She currently is an associate professor of leadership, associate professor of management, and assistant provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina.

Dr. Smith received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Spelman College in Atlanta. She earned an MBA and Ph.D. in organizational behavior from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Shawna Patterson-Stephens has been hired as the vice president and chief diversity officer at Central Michigan University. She is associate vice chancellor of student affairs and director of the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She will begin her new role on June 1.

Dr. Patterson-Stephens earned a bachelor’s degree at Central Michigan University. She holds a master’s degree in student affairs administration from Michigan State University and a doctorate in higher education from Florida State University.

Omar Brown was named vice president and people & culture officer for the Big 10 Conference. In this role, Brown will direct diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives throughout the conference, which includes 14 member universities. Prior to joining the Big Ten Conference, Brown was an organizational transformation leader in Deloitte’s Human Capital Consulting practice.

Brown is a graduate of Northeastern Illinois Univerity, where he majored in political science. He earned an MBA at Loyola University in Chicago and a master of public administration degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Keesha Burke-Henderson was appointed chief diversity officer and director of the Office of Identity, Culture and Inclusion at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia. Most recently, Burke-Henderson served as the director of diversity and international students for Mount Mercy University in Iowa.

Burke Henderson holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the New York Institute of Technology. She is pursuing a Ph.D. from Kennesaw State University in Georgia.


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