ArtCenter College of Design Taps Witt/Kieffer for Chief Diversity Officer

September 18, 2018 – Chief diversity officers are now considered part of every competitive organization’s senior management team, and institutions of all types are lining up to bring these highly sought-after leaders on board.

Search firms are well equipped for their role with extensive networks throughout the space.

Witt/Kieffer was recently retained by the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, CA to find their next diversity chief. Consultant Charlene Aguilar is leading the search along with associate Christine Pendleton.

Reporting to president Lorne Buchman, the chief diversity officer will be a member of the school’s executive cabinet. The individual is expected to be a strategic partner with the president, college administrators, campus community, trustees and external partners to understand, foster and enhance the college’s vision, strategic goals and integrated goals related to diversity, equity and inclusion, said Witt/Kieffer. This executive will lead the school’s Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Art and Design, the purpose of which is to advance diversity, equity and inclusion at ArtCenter.

Ideal Candidate

“This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced diversity professional who appreciates and has knowledge of the fields of art and design,” said Witt/Kieffer. “The ideal candidate will have a successful track record of integrating and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion into the fabric of an institution or organization.”


Here’s the Single Biggest Challenge Facing Diversity Leaders
Those who step into a new job as chief diversity officer tend to carry a heavy load. Theirs is an increasingly vital role. The challenges they face are complex and the demands of the position are many, with pressure coming from all sides.


The right candidate will have eight or more years of relevant experience working in diversity-related positions, preferably in an institution of higher education and/or in an art and design environment, said the search firm. Knowledge of human resources functions such as recruitment and selection, professional development, training, employee relations and policy administration is essential.

Candidates should also have a knowledge of contemporary discourses, issues, pedagogical practices, curricular development, fund-raising practices and principles, research methods, student development theory and practice, survey development and best practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, initiatives, practices and policies, Witt/Kieffer said.

Founded in 1930, ArtCenter College of Design is a professional, degree-granting institution. Its visionary approach to art and design education is based on the college’s conservatory-like approach to teaching and learning; a desire for rich, intercultural and transdisciplinary dialogue; and a mandate to provide students with spaces for innovative learning and making.

The Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Art and Design was developed to involve students, alumni, faculty, staff and trustees, as well as the communities with which ArtCenter engages externally, in robust research, exhibitions, symposia, lectures and curricular expansion on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in art and design. The college expects it to create and support collaborative and transformative activities in the service of the college’s values that are designed to break new ground through practice, scholarship and pedagogy.

Seasoned Search Consultants

Witt/Kieffer has been an advisor to hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, physician groups and other healthcare enterprises for more than 45 years. With over 100 expert search professionals nationwide, its consultants recruit CEOs, CFOs, COOs, physician executives and many other leaders.


Bridge Partners Finds Chief Diversity Officer for Gallaudet University
Bridge Partners helped to place the new chief diversity officer at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Elavie Ndura comes to the renowned institution for the deaf and hard of hearing from George Mason University, where she led implementation of the school’s diversity and inclusion strategic goals.


Based in South Bend, IN, Ms. Aguilar works within Witt/Kieffer’s education practice. With over 30 years of experience, she conducts leadership searches for college and university presidents, chancellors, provosts and deans, in addition to key positions in advancement, academic and student affairs, enrollment and admissions. She also has knowledge and experience on diversity and inclusion initiatives across the spectrum of independent secondary schools along with public and non-profit enterprises.

Ms. Pendleton, who works out of Witt/Kieffer’s Oak Brook, IL office, joined the firm in 2014. She works to identify presidents, chancellors, provosts, vice presidents, deans and chief diversity officers on behalf of public and private universities and colleges and other senior leaders in non-profit organizations. She is a member of the firm’s diversity council and the director of its community fund.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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