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K-State Today

August 31, 2017

From the provost: Office of Diversity transition update

Submitted by Provost and Senior Vice President April Mason

April Mason

Dear faculty and staff,

In June, President Myers announced plans to strengthen the diversity and inclusion structure at K-State after consultation with the university community. Last week the search committees for the positions of chief diversity and inclusion officer and the associate vice president for student life/diversity and multicultural student affairs were announced and we are currently accepting applications for the associate vice president.

As part of this new structure, our current Office of Diversity will be renamed the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and transferred to the Division of Student Life reporting to the new associate vice president. This change will take place with the appointment of the new associate vice president, which is expected by Jan. 1, 2018.

With the searches now underway, Dr. Zelia Wiley has returned to her position of assistant dean in the College of Agriculture. I want to thank her for her service as the interim associate provost for diversity during the past 20 months. Dr. Wiley's long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence at K-State has served our university well and I appreciate her willingness to lead the Office of Diversity during a time of transition. Please join me in thanking her.

The focus this fall will rightly be on the hiring of two new diversity senior leaders. With only three months until the new associate vice president of student life is named, I have decided not to conduct another search for an interim associate provost. Rather than making yet another change within the Office of Diversity as they work through the fall while preparing for the transition to Student Life, I will oversee the activities of the office, working closely with Mirta Chavez, director of multicultural programs and services, and the Office of Diversity team. In that capacity, I also will chair the President's Commission on Multicultural Affairs, or PCMA, until the new chief diversity and inclusion officer is named. I know this situation is not ideal, but with the help of PCMA members, diversity point people, the leaders of the Office of Diversity affinity groups and student organizations, and many others, we will continue to serve our students and advance diversity this fall.

Before closing, I want to remind you that the Multicultural Center Planning Group submitted its report at the end of the spring semester. For the center to move forward, it is imperative that we fill the new leadership positions. They will be key to advancing the vision and philanthropy for the center, particularly the associate vice president of student life, and they should have the opportunity to help shape that vision. Several members of the planning group are included on the search committees as well as KSU Foundation staff. We expect to fully engage the candidates on the planning work done to date as part of the interview processes.

Transition and change is never easy. I know that myself as I look ahead to stepping down as your provost at the end of this academic year. But change also provides opportunity. Working together, we can set the stage for our new leaders and continue to build a university environment where all can thrive and excel.

Thanks for all you do!