University of North Carolina Wilmington Taps Academic Search to Find Chief Diversity Officer  

July 14, 2021 – Education-focused executive recruiter Academic Search has been enlisted to find a chief diversity officer for the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). Leading the assignment are senior consultants Shirley Robinson Pippins and Carlos Medina.

“Recognizing the unique history of the university and the City of Wilmington, as it relates to race, equity and social justice, the CDO will serve as a thought leader, trusted advisor and effective communicator in helping to create an inclusive environment across the university, said Academic Search. “Being mindful that the responsibility of one person or a single office alone is not enough to mobilize an entire community around the ever challenging and complex landscape of diversity, equity and inclusion, the CDO will work in a collaborative manner.”

The CDO must develop and execute a cohesive vision and implement a diversity, equity and inclusion plan across UNCW, said the search firm. The individual will also serve as a resource to staff and organizational leaders, including vice chancellors, cultural center coordinators, faculty, staff and other stakeholders responsible for specific members of the campus community. He or she will be expected to provide and infuse frameworks, best practices, networks, and common language and definitions to ensure collective and cohesive understanding of the work across campus and beyond.

Among other responsibilities, the CDO will be charged with co-creating, implementing and assessing DEI programming and initiatives. With a range of DEI-related initiatives already underway across the campus, the CDO will create and oversee the necessary infrastructure and systems to coordinate across units to ensure a consistent and clear DEI strategy that can be implemented and assessed campus wide. As such, the new leader will have the opportunity to re-imagine the office’s structure and build a staff that supports the work.

“UNCW seeks a candidate who integrates diversity, equity and inclusion in all that they do,” said Academic Search. Candidates are required to have an earned doctorate or terminal degree in the social sciences, humanities, education or in any discipline tenurable/offered at UNCW. They must also have a track record of accomplishment in building healthy and inclusive organizational communities and of being an innovative, progressive leader who can engage in strategic level thinking and action to effect positive change and continuous improvement. A demonstrated record of effective leadership and collegial relationships with co-workers, direct reports, and internal and external constituents is essential.

Preferred qualifications for the role include having the utmost professional integrity, including ability to maintain confidentiality and strict adherence to ethical principles; a highly transparent and team-oriented leadership style; and superior interpersonal skills, including ability to build consensus and shared commitments to effect change, establish strong, collegial relationships and support everyone’s efforts to succeed.

Candidates should also have excellent writing and oral communication skills, including the ability to inspire and persuade to lead culture change. A sense of humor would also be ideal. It is also preferred that prospects have: a strong desire to be highly engaged with both the university and local community; a strong work ethic and willingness to take on other duties to assist the institution; problem-solving and critical thinking skills; organizational, management and administrative skills; and the ability to manage multiple projects.

Higher Education Recruiters

For over three decades, Academic Search has been a leader in designing and implementing search processes for leaders of colleges and universities across the country. The firm has completed hundreds of executive searches for higher education institutions and related organizations, for roles ranging from presidents to provosts to deans. Academic Search is the only search firm in the nation with a formal relationship to a premier leadership development program. As the subsidiary of the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), the firm provides substantial financial support to a number of leadership identification, development and support programs across all sectors of public and private higher education. The firm is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

2021 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! 

Dr. Pippins, who is also a senior executive coach, joined Academic Search in 2016 as a senior consultant. Prior to this, she served as president of two community colleges (Thomas Nelson in Hampton, VA, and Suffolk County Community College in Long Island, NY), as a senior vice president of programs and services at the American Council on Education (ACE) and as president of Victory University in Memphis, TN.

Dr. Medina is the former vice chancellor and founding chief diversity officer of the State University of New York (SUNY) System, the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the nation. He has more than 30 years of progressive responsibility in state government and higher education with proven experience in leadership, management, and staff development.

Related: Why Universities Have Stepped Up Efforts to Involve Search Firms

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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