February 8, 2022 – Higher education-focused search firm Storbeck Search, part of the Diversified Search Group, has been enlisted to find a vice president for diversity initiatives and chief diversity officer, an inaugural role, for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Leading the assignment are managing director R. Thomas Fitch and senior associate Alyssa Perez Leal.
The vice president for diversity initiatives and chief diversity officer reports directly to university president Keith E. Whitfield and serves on his leadership team. This role has been elevated from the former chief diversity officer position. The leader will be charged with providing both high-level strategic vision and pragmatic expert counsel, in ensuring that the university is an inclusive community in which all can thrive. As an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institution (AANAPISI) and a minority-serving Institution (MSI) since 2012, and a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) since 2015, UNLV has a history of being an affirmative and dynamic academic environment for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds.
The inaugural VP and CDO will be expected to build upon the momentum across campus for the work of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) through his or her leadership of the Division of Diversity Initiatives, guidance of the University Diversity Council and partnership with leaders across the University and in the greater Las Vegas community.
Proactive and Visible
The new vice president will be the senior institutional administrator responsible for shaping, implementing, and promoting UNLV’s strategies to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) within the campus community. The individual must collaborate with faculty, staff, administrators, students, alumni, and external partners to enhance diversity, equity, inclusion and justice across the institution.
“Through continual engagement with stakeholders, the incumbent will build consensus, forge connections and integrate efforts,” said the search firm. “The VP and CDO will be a proactive and visible leader, providing guidance and inspiring change.”
By driving cultural change through active programming, education and communication, the Office of Diversity Initiatives will become known as a hub of institutional resources and services for diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, said Storbeck Search. The unit will produce training for student cultural competency, create programs for faculty and staff professional development, and establish forums for meaningful campus-wide dialogue.
The Ideal Candidate
“The inaugural vice president for diversity initiatives and chief diversity officer will bring high-level strategic thinking, subject matter expertise, and exceptional interpersonal and communication skills to their role on the president’s senior leadership team,” said the search firm. “The ideal candidate will hold a terminal degree and have a well-conceptualized understanding of the faculty experience at a research university.”
Among the complementary skills and experiences that UNLV is seeking include: a sophisticated understanding of the national conversation around diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in higher education and a keen sense of best practices and emerging issues; demonstrated subject matter expertise in the state and federal laws, regulations, and policies relevant to the position; experience collaboratively developing and implementing a shared strategic vision across a complex institution; and a track record of creativity and innovation in approaching complex and/or difficult conversations.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is a public research institution committed to rigorous educational programs and to promoting well-being and achievement through education, research, scholarship, and creative activity. Founded in 1957, UNLV is one of eight institutions in the Nevada System of Higher Education, and one of the system’s two Research I institutions. The university enrolls more than 25,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate and professional students and employs over 4,000 faculty and staff.
Higher Education Recruiting
Ms. Weiss Storbeck launched Storbeck Search in 2007 to focus on executive search in the education and non-profit sectors. Now part of The Diversified Search Group, the firm works on behalf of colleges, universities, schools, and non-profit organizations across the nation, with headquarters in Pennsylvania and local offices in every region. Storbeck Search has conducted searches for some of the country’s top colleges and universities, private schools, and non-profit institutions. Its roster of university clients includes Brown, Columbia, Haverford, Johns Hopkins, Lawrenceville, Michigan State, Northwestern, Pomona, Princeton, Swarthmore, and the University of Wisconsin, among others.
Storbeck Search Leads CHRO Search for University of Rochester
Storbeck Search, part of the Diversified Search Group, has been called on by the University of Rochester to lead its search for a new vice president and chief human resources officer (CHRO). Leading the assignment are Shelly Weiss Storbeck, managing partner and senior associate Carly Rose DiGiovanni, and Amy Sugin, managing director for Koya Partners, also part of Diversified Search Group. The role presents an opportunity to make a significant and lasting positive impact on the university and the Rochester community. “The University of Rochester seeks a transformative vice president and chief human resources officer with a commitment to diversity and equity and a proven track record of collaboration and inclusive engagement to steward a complex, mission-driven workforce of more than 30,000,” said Storbeck Search.
Dr. Fitch has more than 25 years of recruiting and search experience. Prior to joining Storbeck Search, he was vice president and senior consultant at Academic Search Inc., for seven years. Recent placements have included senior-level administrators at institutions ranging broadly from small liberal arts colleges to large private universities, to public institutions small and large.
He has held a variety of positions in both higher education and corporate recruiting. Starting off his career in student affairs, Dr. Fitch held positions including dean of students at large public and small private institutions including the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Mercer University, the Atlanta College of Art and the University of Georgia, where he also served on the faculty.
Ms. Perez Leal has worked in higher education throughout her career. Prior to launching a career in executive search, she began as an admissions fellow at her undergraduate alma mater and worked in admissions offices for institutions private and public, domestic, and international throughout the East Coast.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media