Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer

The University of Connecticut (UConn), the flagship public university of the State of Connecticut, seeks nominations and applications for a new Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer.

Founded in 1881, the University spans 4,109 acres at its main campus and four regional campuses, and an additional 209 acres at the UConn Health Center in Farmington. The main campus, located in Storrs, Connecticut, enrolls over 32,000 students. The State of Connecticut has invested over $4 billion to renew, rebuild and enhance University facilities, and UConn is ranked by U. S. News & World Report as one of the top 25 public universities in the nation. The institution is in the midst of a profound period of growth and development and is firm in its standing as one of the finest public universities in the United States.

This is an opportunity for an experienced diversity leader to join an institution that has been on an impressive trajectory. The VP/CDO will be a strategic leader, thought partner and implementer who will connect the dots between diversity and inclusion efforts across the university. Early in their tenure, the VP/CDO will develop a comprehensive university-wide strategic diversity and inclusion plan; develop training programs for faculty, staff and students; review and assess the impact and effectiveness of diversity and inclusion programs; and 36Tserve as a leader on the campuses, in the media, and throughout the State of Connecticut.

The ideal candidate will have a documented history of successfully developing and advancing diversity and inclusion programs in a matrixed organization coupled with in-depth knowledge of theory and practice. Additional qualifications include experience advancing diversity, equity and inclusion through successful strategies and initiatives and the use of data and research to inform strategic analysis, assessment and measurement of effective diversity and inclusion programs. UConn seeks candidates whose personal and professional experiences reflect a commitment to and knowledge of the higher education landscape. A terminal degree is preferred, but not required.

Additional information about the University of Connecticut may be found at Information about how to nominate a candidate or to apply for this opportunity may be found later in this document in the section titled “Procedure for Candidacy.”

Diversity and Inclusion at UConn

The University of Connecticut strives to be always a community that welcomes, encourages, and supports individuals who desire to contribute to and benefit from the institution’s missions of teaching, research, performance, and community service. The University is committed to a diverse and inclusive environment, where differences are welcomed and valued. As our communities and workplaces become increasingly more diverse, understanding the perspectives of individuals from a variety of backgrounds and experiences is an important requirement for working together in order to take full advantage of an inclusive community.

Diversity encompasses the presence and participation of people who differ by age, color, ethnicity, gender, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation, including those with disabilities and from various socioeconomic backgrounds. It encompasses not only individuals and groups, but also thoughts and attitudes. The fabric of diversity at our University must be woven within a climate in which diverse views are welcomed and respected and in which there is a commonality that comes from working together to effect constructive change. Diversity can only be sustained and supported as an integral part of institutional excellence when it is actively promoted by the entire University community as part of a larger goal of equity, shared power and responsibility.

UConn aims to become stronger and more inclusive as an institution that explicitly promotes respect and understanding, broadens participation among under-represented groups, advances cultural competence, celebrates intellectual openness and multiculturalism, and welcomes varied perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds. These values must infuse all of our programs, operations, and activities in instruction, research, and outreach. We understand that these diverse lenses enhance our mission as a public university to provide higher education with a commitment to excellence, ethical action, and inclusiveness to Connecticut's citizens and beyond.

The Role of the Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer

Reporting to President Thomas C. Katsouleas and a member of the president's cabinet, the Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer will serve as the university's executive level leader for strategic planning and implementation of mission-driven institutional diversity efforts at UConn. The Vice President oversees the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, serves as the leader of the University’s Diversity Council and serves as an integrating partner with campus leaders, faculty, staff, students, various university committees, and external constituencies. The work of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion is far-reaching, encompasses the academic and health sciences campuses and supports a wide range of social identities (e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation), focal groups (e.g., students, faculty and staff), and core areas applicable across focal groups and social identities (e.g., recruitment and retention, campus climate, curriculum and instruction).


  • Serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet that leads the institution and addresses university-wide dimensions.
  • Advise and collaborate with regional campus directors, academic deans and other university leadership groups regarding the development, communication, and implementation of UConn's diversity vision and plan.
  • Advance a campus climate that respects, values, and supports the academic, social, and personal development of all students, faculty, and staff.
  • Provide leadership, strategic planning, and thoughtful contributions to the development of procedures and policies to ensure that institutional processes are in keeping with a goal of equity and access for all, as well as responsive to institutional goals for affirmative action and equal employment opportunities.
  • Provide leadership in fostering an inclusive, discrimination/harassment-free environment for the campus community.
  • Actively solicit and manage new funding to support diversity and inclusion initiatives through grants, fundraising and other third-party funding sources.
  • Provide strategic direction in recruiting, attracting, and retaining diverse students, faculty, and staff.
  • Understand the various laws, regulations, and policies related to equity and diversity in higher education.

Opportunities and Expectations for Leadership

While the needs to advance diversity and equity at the university are many, early in their tenure the VP/CDO will be asked to address the following critical leadership issues, among others:

Develop a comprehensive university-wide strategic diversity and inclusion plan:
Several climate surveys have been done at UConn in recent years, including a civility study and an UCPEA (staff) Workplace Climate Survey. The VP/CDO will be charged with creating, developing, and implementing a university-wide
comprehensive diversity strategic plan using data from these surveys, additional information gathered and in conjunction with the university community.

Develop training programs for faculty, staff and students:
The VP/CDO will work to design, develop, and deliver ongoing training and professional development programs that assist faculty, staff, and students in achieving UConn's diversity and inclusion vision. Key areas for training include conducting inclusive search processes; implicit bias; and addressing microaggressions.

Review and assess the impact and effectiveness of diversity and inclusion programs: An important priority for the new VP/CDO is to use data to assess the impact and effectiveness, quantitatively and qualitatively, and use that data to support informed and collaborative decision- making. It is also expected that there will be consistent reporting of data and of diversity efforts to hold all UConn stakeholders accountable.

Serve as a leader on the campuses, in the media, and throughout the State of Connecticut: As the flagship public University for the State of Connecticut, the VP/CDO will take on a highly visible role. In addition to having a strong, visible presence on the campuses, including the Storrs and regional campuses and UConn Health in Farmington, the VP/CDO must be willing to serve as the public face of UConn on matters of diversity and inclusion, working to encourage and support all to create a welcoming environment at the university. The VP/CDO will have the skill to collaborate with University Communications to provide expert consultation for the president in confronting challenging moments and events. Additionally, it is expected that the VP/CDO have a high level of involvement and visibility in the State of Connecticut.

Professional Qualifications and Personal Qualities

The ideal candidate will have a documented history of successfully developing and advancing diversity and inclusion programs in a matrixed organization coupled with in-depth knowledge of theory and practice. Additional qualifications include experience advancing diversity, equity and inclusion through successful strategies and initiatives and the use of data and research to inform strategic analysis, assessment and measurement of effective diversity and inclusion programs.

UConn seeks candidates whose personal and professional experiences reflect a commitment to and knowledge of the higher education landscape. A terminal degree is preferred, but not required.

Additionally, candidates should have the following professional qualifications and personal characteristics:

  • Extensive experience in the field of diversity and equity and a demonstrated ability to mobilize that expertise into highly effective practical applications and outcomes.
  • Visionary leadership with an entrepreneurial approach to program development and establishing dynamic relationships with students, faculty, university staff, corporations, government officials, foundations, and community leaders.
  • Experience and understanding of the structure, history and dynamics of higher education and the complex resultant challenges.
  • Results oriented with an in-depth understanding of organizational change and transformational leadership.
  • Proven experience in meeting the specific needs of populations that are chronically underrepresented in higher education.
  • Exceptional communication skills and facility in understanding a wide variety of constituent groups for building consensus and support for innovative solutions.
  • Proven results in fostering an inclusive, diverse environment.
  • Experience playing a key role in consequential and meaningful public discussions as well as contending with high-profile opportunities and challenges on an institutional level.
  • Demonstrated success collaborating with colleagues in a decentralized academic environment.
  • Demonstrated record of effective community service and promotion of social justice initiatives.
  • Experience managing staff.
  • Creativity, resourcefulness, resiliency, trustworthiness and a sense of humor.

About the Univeresity of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut (UConn) is among the top 25 public universities in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report and is the State of Connecticut’s flagship higher education institution and sole public research university. Founded in 1881, UConn has 14 Schools and Colleges on multiple campuses. The University consists of its main campus in Storrs, four regional campuses located around the state, a Law School in Hartford, and a hospital and Medical and Dental Schools at UConn Health in Farmington. UConn offers a broad range of academic choices and students learn from outstanding faculty who are widely recognized for their cutting-edge research and expertise.

Investment from the State of Connecticut has been instrumental in the dramatic growth of the University. Over the last two decades, the University has renewed and enhanced its physical campuses through UConn 2000 and 21st Century UConn, a two-phase $2.3 billion 20-year state investment in the University’s future. The landmark program has created more than 9.2 million square feet of new and renovated space for research, teaching, living, and learning.

In 2014, the University and the State of Connecticut launched a groundbreaking effort that is already propelling UConn to the forefront of high-tech research and academics and that will significantly enhance the state’s economic development efforts for decades to come. Next Generation Connecticut is a ten-year plan to greatly expand educational opportunities, research, and innovation in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines at UConn, as well as in the humanities.

The Next Generation Connecticut investments represent one of the most ambitious programs launched at a public research university in recent years. Signed into law in June of 2013, this program combines $1.67 billion from the state in capital and operating investment with over $380 million from UConn. The benefits have been felt throughout the state and region in the form of new jobs, research innovations, and companies. The plan includes an increase in total student enrollment, creation of the nation’s premier STEM honors program and the hiring of new faculty.

In addition, Bioscience Connecticut is an $864 million state investment to revitalize the UConn Health campus, expand the University’s medical and dental classes, build new business incubators, and create centers of excellence with neighboring institutions. Expansion projects already under way or complete include building a new world-class patient tower and an outpatient ambulatory center, renovating existing facilities, updating infrastructure, and modernizing research laboratories and classrooms. As a result of the state’s investment in Bioscience Connecticut, the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine has opened a new facility on the UConn Health campus that will enable Connecticut to assume a position of global leadership in developing new medical treatments tailored to each patient’s unique genetic makeup.

The overall operating budget of the University is approximately $2.3 billion. The total economic impact of UConn is estimated at $3.4 billion annually, although the full impact of these major initiatives is yet to be realized.

Academic Programs
UConn offers an excellent education to highly motivated and talented students. Its Schools and Colleges are increasingly home to prestigious, national academic programs and include the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources; the School of Business; the School of Dental Medicine; the School of Engineering; the School of Fine Arts; the Graduate School; the School of Law; the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the School of Medicine; the Neag School of Education; the School of Nursing; the School of Pharmacy; and the School of Social Work. UConn offers seven undergraduate degrees in 113 majors, 17 graduate degrees for nearly 85 fields of study, and professional degree programs.

UConn has over 1,500 full-time faculty at the Storrs and regional campuses (including Law and Social Work). Fifty-five percent of full-time faculty is tenured, 21 percent are tenure track, and the remaining is non-tenure track faculty. UConn Health has approximately 490 full-time faculty members. Efforts continue to be made to ensure a diverse faculty. Of full-time faculty in fall 2016, women constituted 41 percent of the faculty and this may be compared to 26 percent in 1995.

Minorities (including non-U.S. citizens) constituted 23 percent of full-time faculty as of fall 2016. This compares with 12.7 percent minority faculty in 1995.

UConn expands beyond just the Storrs campus. With four regional campuses around the state, access to UConn is readily available throughout Connecticut. Small classes, access to talented faculty, and exclusive internships and majors allow students unique opportunities while still providing the benefit of an UConn education.

UConn’s main campus in Storrs is located on the edge of the forests of Eastern Connecticut, just outside of Hartford, CT. The bucolic setting provides a peaceful backdrop to a vibrant community of over 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students, who pursue their studies across ten of UConn’s schools and colleges.

In Storrs, 68 percent of undergraduate students reside on campus in university housing, with the balance living in nearby private developments. The area includes a new Storrs Downtown development that has brought numerous restaurants, bookstores, and other services, providing additional social outlets for students, faculty, and staff.

Storrs is just over an hour drive from downtown Boston and 2.5 hours from New York City. UConn students on all campuses have access to a U-Pass CT, providing free access to mass transit across the state and making travel between campuses easy and affordable. It also provides access to train lines which connect to New York City, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and beyond.

Avery Point
UConn’s Avery Point campus in Groton is a center of excellence for marine and maritime studies. Overlooking Long Island Sound, the Avery Point campus is home to the Connecticut Sea Grant College Program, Project Oceanology, the National Undersea Research Center, and the Long Island Sound Resource Center.

In addition to offering a range of introductory and advanced courses, Avery Point provides four-year degrees in American studies, English, General Studies, Marine Sciences, Maritime Studies.

For graduates, UConn Avery Point offers a master’s degree and a doctorate of Oceanography, a master of Engineering degree, the Certificate Entry into Nursing (CEIN/BS) Program, and a master’s degree in Education and Connecticut Teacher Certification through the Teacher Certification Program for College Graduates.

With the move from West Hartford to downtown Hartford in 2017, the faculty and staff at UConn Hartford have built upon the campus’s historical strengths while leveraging exciting new possibilities the new location in the state capital affords. UConn Hartford connects its diverse student body to teaching, research, and service in and about the global city. With a vision of academic excellence focused on community-based, collaborative learning, UConn Hartford plays a critical role in advancing the University’s commitment to innovation, leadership, global engagement, and cultural and intellectual diversity.

UConn Hartford offers undergraduate classes in 36 departments and masters, doctoral and certificate programs in five disciplines. Students can complete majors in English, Human

Development and Family Sciences, Business Administration, Business Data Analytics, Psychological Sciences, Urban and Community Studies, and new majors in Digital Marketing & Analytics, Financial Management, and Social Work. The student U-Pass CT which provides free, direct CT Transit bus service between Hartford and Storrs has new bi-campus curricular, teaching, and research opportunities.

At UConn Stamford, students get all the benefits of a prestigious public research university in a small college setting. Students can easily visit New York City, which is just a quick train ride away — they can take the free campus shuttle to and from the train station. Proximity to New York City offers tremendous access to 750+ internships, field placements, and employment with Fortune 500 companies, investment and banking institutions, and community-based organizations; as well as all of the cultural and entertainment opportunities that the city that never sleeps has to offer. Stamford is UConn’s only regional campus with dedicated student residences.

UConn Stamford offers four-year degrees in American Studies, Business Administration, Business Data Analytics, Digital Media and Design, Economics, English, General Studies, Human Development and Family Studies, Psychology, and Urban and Community Studies.

Over 60 years, UConn’s Waterbury campus has opened doors to educational access and excellence to thousands of Connecticut residents, many of whom have distinguished themselves in community service, business, education, law, and politics.

UConn Waterbury offers undergraduate degrees in American Studies, Business Administration, Business Data Analytics, English, General Studies, Human Development and Family Studies, Psychology, and Urban and Community Studies in partnership with UConn’s Hartford campus.

Procedure for Candidacy

Inquiries, nominations and applications are invited. For full consideration, applicant materials should be received by March 6, 2020. Candidates should provide, as two separate documents, a curriculum vitae and a letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in the Leadership Profile. These materials should be sent via e-mail to UConn’s consultants Charlene Aguilar and Christine Pendleton at The consultants can be reached by telephone via the desk of the executive search coordinator supporting this search, Candice Jones at 630-575-6929.

UConn is committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all its employees and applicants for employment. All applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religious creed, age, sex, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, genetic information, physical or mental disabilities (including learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, past/present history of a mental disorder), prior conviction of a crime (or similar characteristic), workplace hazards to reproductive systems, gender identity or expression, or other factors which cannot lawfully be the basis for employment actions.