Eastern Michigan University Turns to Witt/Kieffer for Chief Diversity Officer

March 30, 2016 – Executive search firm Witt/Kieffer has been retained by Eastern Michigan University (EMU) to lead its search for a chief diversity officer. Oliver Tomlin, a senior partner in Witt/Kieffer’s education and healthcare practices, is leading the search along with senior associate Jennifer Bauer.

The chief diversity officer will serve as advisor to the president, administration, faculty, staff and students on diversity issues and provide key input to, and leadership for, efforts focused on minority and underrepresented students, faculty and staff by developing initiatives and coordinating education, training, and awareness across the University.

This position will work closely with the title IX coordinator, office of diversity and affirmative action, members of the human resources division, as well as academic leadership, faculty members and administrators, to sustain and enhance the University’s approach to increasing intercultural competency of students, faculty, and staff through education, training and professional development.

According to the search specifications, candidates will be considered who meet the following qualifications: a Master’s or Doctorate degree; a minimum of seven to 10 years’ experience in a leadership role directly related to diversity and inclusion; demonstrated  leadership in the creation and delivery of organization-wide cultural competency training programs; demonstrated knowledge of federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and guidelines related to affirmative action and civil rights enforcement; prior experience in strategic planning, and budget management; familiarity with the ‘Standards of Professional Practice for Chief Diversity Officers’ as outlined by the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.


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Located in Ypsilanti, Michigan with satellite campuses across the state, EMU is a public institution currently serving 23,000 students who are pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University’s Colleges of Arts and Science, Business, Education, Health and Human Services, Technology, and its graduate school.

Witt/Kieffer assists hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, medical schools and physician groups; biotech, pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical device companies; colleges and universities and not-for-profit community service and cultural organizations with senior administrative recruiting assignments.

Mr. Tomlin, the Witt/Kieffer recruiting consultant, is currently leading several other diversity-oriented searches, including a vice president of diversity and inclusion for the University of Dayton and the chief diversity officers for Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Yale School of Medicine.

“Chief diversity officers are extremely important across the spectrum,” said Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMconnector and its Million Women Mentors (MWM) Initiative as well as vice chairman of Diversified Search. “Their roles have shifted to insuring diverse talent as a primary role although they oversee outreach with organizations and are also often dotted lined to marketing and to supplier diversity for procurement.”

Diversity officers, she said, are today “considered part of the business team,” said Ms. Fraser. And institutions of higher learning, in particular, are lining up to bring them on board.

In recent weeks, Amherst College selected Isaacson, Miller to lead its search for a chief diversity officer. Bud Moseley, a vice president in the firm’s Boston office, is leading that assignment along with senior associate Donna Cramer. The successful candidate will serve as an advisor, advocate, and institutional resource for matters of diversity, equity, inclusion, workplace, culture, and climate for the New England-based college.

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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