Parker Executive Search Seeks DE&I VP for Kansas State University

June 13, 2022 – Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search has been enlisted to find the new vice president of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. The position was created earlier this spring, elevating the former chief diversity and inclusion officer role. Leading the national search are principal Erin Raines and vice president Porsha Williams. “The vice president of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging role requires an executive leader who catalyzes, fosters and promotes a university-wide culture of inclusive excellence where individuals from all racial and ethnic identities, ages, nationalities, social, and economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, religious, political, and ideological perspectives, veteran status, and physical and mental abilities are able to thrive and be engaged,” said the search firm. “The vice president provides strategic and programmatic leadership for diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and initiatives that advance diversity and inclusion as a critical component of social, academic and intellectual life at K-State.”

Shari Crittendon, general counsel, and Thomas Lane, vice president for student life and dean of students, serve as Kansas State University’s search committee co-chairs.


Key areas of responsibility for the new role include university-wide diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging strategic planning and monitoring; reporting and analysis; university climate surveys and initiatives; policy review with a focus on removing structural barriers to access and success for all; university diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging events and communications; intercultural learning initiatives; and institutional equity.

Duties and responsibilities of the role revolve around strategic leadership; unit oversight, unit management, and development; program development; education, communication, and outreach; advice, reporting, and guidance; and philanthropy, fundraising, and engagement.

Candidates must have a master’s degree in a relevant field from an accredited institution, and five to 10 years of leadership experience, which includes strategic responsibility for activities related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging to include demonstrated success as a collaborator and relationship builder, with strong interpersonal skills and ability to build coalitions and collaborative working relationships with a broad range of diverse individuals and groups, including senior executives, to achieve results.

Other Requirements

Demonstrated administrative skills, including planning and financial and personnel management, are also required. Prospects should also have demonstrated cultural awareness and agility and the ability to build trust and credibility and navigate a complex landscape. Demonstrated success in identifying and implementing best practices of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and an excellent command of modern diversity and inclusion standards, concepts, best practices, and issues in higher education is also needed.

Preferred qualifications include a terminal degree or doctorate; 10 or more years of progressive leadership experience advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and community building in public higher education; and a proven record of success in fund development and external fundraising and related project administration.

Founded in 1863 as the nation’s first operational land-grant university, Kansas State University has grown into a Tier 1 research university with more than 20,000 students, 1,300 faculty members, 2,900 staff members, and four campuses. These include the main campus in Manhattan; K-State Salina, home to aviation and technology programs; K-State Olathe, which serves the industry and workforce needs of Greater Kansas City; and K-State Online, which offers distance education programs to students around the world. K-State has nine colleges and a graduate school and offers more than 400 degrees and options, from bachelor’s to doctoral degrees. K-State Research and Extension also has a presence in every county throughout Kansas and supports research in more than 20 K-State departments. K-State has an annual budget of more than $900 million.

Respected Recruiters

Parker Executive Search conducts executive searches for corporations, colleges and universities and collegiate athletics. The firm has a wide range of client schools, including Notre Dame, Dartmouth, the University of Chicago, Iowa State, Fordham, University of Central Florida, University of Oregon, Clemson University, the University of Tennessee, and Iowa State University, among many others.

Ms. Raines focuses on research, candidate development, client and candidate logistics and is a key force in facilitating client and candidate communication for Parker Executive Search. Prior to joining the firm, she worked at Greenberg Traurig in Atlanta. She earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She also holds law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Ms. Williams leads business, client and candidate development for Parker Executive Search’s higher education practice. Her career with the firm began as chief of staff to the president and quickly advanced through the ranks to her current leadership role. She is responsible for client management, candidate development and recruitment, and successful search execution. Ms. Williams has significant experience recruiting world class leaders among colleges and universities across the country. She has completed over 200 searches. In addition, Ms. Williams has conducted substantial work for Fortune 500 companies in the financial services industry.

Related: Parker Executive Search Seeks New Athletic Director for Princeton University

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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