Summit Search Solutions in Hunt for Diversity & Inclusion Chief for Southern Oregon University

April 12, 2019 – Executive recruitment firm Summit Search Solutions has been enlisted to find a chief diversity and inclusivity officer for Southern Oregon University in Ashland, OR. Senior consultants Stephanie Fowler and Sona Andrews are leading the assignment for the firm.

The CDIO is charged with leading the development and implementation of diversity, equity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives to support Southern Oregon University’s new strategic plan, said Summit Search Solutions. The individual reports directly to the school’s president and serves as a member of the executive team.

“The new CDIO will lead the implementation of a vision that champions the importance and value of a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment by proactively engaging faculty, staff and students to build a welcoming community and inclusive culture at Southern Oregon University,” said the search firm.

The chief diversity and inclusivity officer will be expected to assess potential barriers and develop strategies focused on recruiting and retaining students, faculty and staff. The role requires higher education acumen to effectively design training initiatives on cultural competency, gender differences, disability, sexual harassment prevention/ training/ response and other topics designed to increase awareness and support of equity and inclusion values while maintaining compliance with applicable laws.

Key Role

The CDIO plays key roles in institutional planning and positioning, forging partnerships and advancing the university’s efforts to create an equitable, diverse, and inclusive campus and community, said Summit Search Solutions. The CDIO also has significant responsibility to work collaboratively with campus partners within academic affairs, enrollment management and student affairs, finance and administration, development, athletics, the faculty senate, the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University, Diversity and Inclusivity Oversight Committee, Bias Response Team, and others throughout campus. The CDIO also serves as the Title IX Coordinator/ Affirmative Action Office.

Candidates for the role must have a master’s degree or equivalent in a field related to the duties performed, said the search firm. Examples include but are not limited to sociology, ethnic studies, education, etc. Other requirements include five years of significant leadership experience leading initiatives, programs, activities and services related to institutional access, equity, diversity, inclusion, multiculturalism and social justice as well as a record of influence and interaction with internal and external communities and deploying effective EDI programs.

Preferred qualifications include a doctorate or other terminal degree in a field related to the duties performed; experience with learners of various ages and life stages; experience working in an affirmative action/ equal employment opportunity compliance function; experience or extensive knowledge related to issues of nondiscrimination, access and equity in higher education; experience developing new funding streams; and active involvement in state and national EDI organizations.

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.

Established in 1872, Southern Oregon University provides career-focused, comprehensive educational experiences to about 6,000 students with numerous degree path options through 36 areas of study in a range of fields. Along with an emphasis on student success and intellectual growth, the university is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion and sustainability. Theoretical and experiential learning programs also provide quality, innovative experiences for learners. Classes are also offered at the school’s Higher Education Center in Medford, OR, where students pursue two-year, four-year, and graduate degrees.

Boutique Firm

Summit Search Solutions is a boutique executive search firm focused on serving the higher education and non-profit sectors. It consultants have partnered with hundreds of institutions and organizations nationwide to identify and recruit top talent. Based in Ashville, NC, the firm also has offices in California, Kansas, New York and Oregon. Its clients include: University of Arizona, University of Utah, Portland State University, University of Wyoming, Oregon Health & Science University, University of Bridgeport, Boise State University, Lewis & Clark College, National Louis University, Boston College, Maryland Institute College of Art, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, among others.

Ms. Fowler has over 20 years of experience in recruiting in the higher education, non-profit and corporate sectors. She fills roles in administration, academic leadership, student affairs, specialized faculty, information systems, finance, enrollment, financial aid and more.  Her clients have included the University of Utah, Idaho State University and Portland State University as well as major foundations like the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Dr. Andrews has 36 years of experience in higher education as a university faculty member and administrator. She has been directly involved in executive level higher education searches (deans, vice presidents and presidents) for 12 years. Her administrative experience as vice-provost for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, provost and vice-president for Boise State University, vice chancellor of the Oregon University System and most recently as provost and vice president for Portland State University gives her a full understanding of shared governance, working with boards and desired candidate characteristics in executive leadership. She has also held faculty positions at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Boise State University and Portland State University. She has served and continues to serve on local, state, regional and national task forces and boards.

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

Share This Article


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments