Buffkin / Baker Seeking Chief Diversity Officer for University of San Diego

August 11, 2020 – Executive recruitment firm Buffkin / Baker has been called in by the University of San Diego (USD) in California to assist in its search for a chief diversity officer for diversity, equity, inclusion and access. Leading the assignment are managing partner Martin M. Baker and principal Chelsie Whitelock.

“The chief diversity officer for diversity, equity, inclusion and access is an inaugural position responsible to the provost for providing vision, leadership, and counsel in the creation of a welcoming and respectful environment that embraces diversity, equity, inclusion, and access as dimensions of academic excellence,” said Buffkin / Baker. “This is an exciting opportunity to shape a proactive leadership role within academic affairs in accordance with national best practices, institutional needs, and changing demographic realities.”

The CDO will work collaboratively with diversity, equity, inclusion and access leaders in all the academic units and administrative areas to advance USD’s mission and strategic diversity goals, said the search firm. The CDO is also expected to be a thought leader and community convener on issues relating to diversity, equity, inclusion and access.

While this position is envisioned to be full-time within the university administration, should the CDO have academic credentials and scholarly accomplishments that warrant a tenured appointment, the possibility of tenure will be considered at the time of appointment.

Key Qualifications

A doctorate or terminal degree is required for this role. Candidates should have relevant experience working in diversity-related positions in a higher education environment with a demonstrated record of progressively responsible leadership in, and provide strategic direction of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access efforts. A record of teaching and research in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and access is also needed.

Buffkin / Baker said that prospects must have a proven track record of creating and administering diversity, equity, inclusion and access policies, initiative, and training with a strong knowledge of contemporary discourses, issues, pedagogical practices, curricular development, fundraising practices and principles, research methods, student development theory and practice, and survey development.

Demonstrated experience in developing budget proposals, budget management, hiring, staffing, supervising, and evaluating employees is a key requirement for the position. Candidates should also have proven success in recruiting and training a diverse pool of faculty, students, and staff and building an inclusive, professional environment. Outstanding advocacy and diplomatic skills that demonstrate commitment to equity, fairness and transparency are needed as well.

Related: WittKieffer Assists UConn in Landing New Chief Diversity Officer

The University of San Diego, a private Roman Catholic institution, was founded by the Diocese of San Diego and the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1949. Governed by an independent board of trustees since 1972, USD offers 43 bachelor’s degrees with many concentrations and 53 minors. Its graduate programs include 34 master’s degrees, a law degree, five LLM degrees, four doctorates and dual degree programs. The university has an enrollment of 9,181 students (8,415 full-time equivalency) including undergraduate, paralegal, graduate and law students.

A Specialty Boutique Firm

Buffkin / Baker is a specialty boutique search firm composed of industry leaders in their respective fields and each has over a decade of retained search experience. Their focus as search professionals is to recruit leaders in digital marketing/advertising, technology, healthcare, media/entertainment, finance, higher education and non-profit. The firm serves public, private, venture and private equity-backed companies. Its office locations include Nashville, New York, Washington, D.C. and Winston Salem, with affiliate offices in London.

2020 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Recruiting Report:
Building a Balanced and Diverse Workforce

Hunt Scanlon Media’s latest market intelligence recruiting report – this time focused on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – will be available later this fall! The nation’s top executive recruiters are resetting expectations and looking for new ways forward to build balanced and diverse workforce teams for their clients.

According to executive recruiters, DE&I should not just be a priority, but an integrated part of every company’s leadership goals. Some companies have even tied DE&I metrics to executive compensation. But it’s more than that.

Part of building strong, diverse hiring teams means asking yourself: “Who is my company culture going to attract – and how will it engage people who are here?” This question can be very difficult to answer if you assume everyone feels welcome already just because you do. Fostering diversity, equity and inclusion within organizations is more than just the right ethical decision. “It is one of the best business decisions a company can make,” said Keri Gavin, a partner with Hanold Associates and leader of the search firm’s Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion practice. Hanold Associates is a proud sponsor of this year’s report. This report will help organizations prioritize DE&I as a business imperative that drives greater competitiveness, innovation and business results. Get it now! 

Buffkin / Baker is a member of Panorama Search, an international federation of retained firms with 18 firms and over 30 offices globally. Buffkin / Baker formed in 2017 with the merger of the Buffkin Group and Baker and Associates LLC.

Based in Winston Salem, NC, Mr. Baker has been in executive search for 19 years. In addition to his role as managing partner, he is also head of the firm’s higher education practice. He previously worked in the Atlanta office of Korn Ferry, where he developed search strategy and executed searches for numerous senior-level appointments.  He began his career as a research associate with Saxton Bampfylde, an executive search and management assessment firm in London. He has conducted searches for the positions of CEO, CFO, CIO, provost, dean, director and professor, having worked on over 350 searches throughout his career.

Ms. Whitelock is a key member of the firm’s higher education practice. She joined the firm from Vanderbilt University where she had a number of roles, including overseeing the Chancellor’s Faculty Fellows Program, managing the administrative staff of the Faculty Senate Office and leading the recruitment of staff within academic affairs. Prior to Vanderbilt, Ms. Whitelock was faculty recruitment manager in the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley.

Related: Harvard University Lands First Diversity & Inclusion Officer with Assistance from Search Firm

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

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