June 7, 2019 – The role of chief diversity officer is expanding at universities across the country. It has, in fact, become one of the most important positions for shaping the vision, culture and very face of institutions of higher learning from coast to coast.
It is also increasingly becoming a cabinet-level job, with a broad range of responsibilities beyond that of most administrators. So it is that executive search firms have become valuable partners to colleges in finding the right talent for the role.
Executive recruitment firm Witt/Kieffer, for one, has placed Carol E. Henderson as vice provost for diversity and inclusion, chief diversity officer and advisor to the president at Emory University. Consultants Oliver B. Tomlin and Jennifer G. Bauer led the search.
“Carol Henderson is a widely recognized leader in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in academia, and in communicating a deeper understanding of what it means to embrace these values,” said Emory University president Claire E. Sterk. “Her insight, inspiration and vision will reinforce our history and strong foundation in these areas and provide a springboard for our future.”
Culture Valuing Diversity and Inclusion
“I can’t think of anyone better prepared than Carol Henderson to help lead our community as we work toward the goals of inclusive excellence,” said Dwight McBride, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Academic eminence is rooted in a culture that values diversity and inclusion, and her leadership will signify Emory’s commitment to celebrating our differences while fostering understanding.”
Ms. Henderson will join Emory from the University of Delaware, where she has served as vice provost for diversity since 2014. In this role, she oversees and promotes diversity efforts across the university and provides strategic leadership in advancing diversity as an institutional value and an academic priority in all facets of the academic community.
As Emory’s first chief diversity officer, Ms. Henderson is expected to help lead the realization of Emory’s vision for diversity, equity and inclusion by working with campus leaders and representatives to define community goals, establishing guiding principles, and creating a strategy for moving forward and communicating progress. She will partner with Emory’s leadership, students, faculty and staff to re-imagine and strengthen comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at the university and create mechanisms for communicating the institution’s commitment to these principles and practices. She will also serve as the school’s public voice on these issues, helping to shape the discussion in the Atlanta metro area, nationally and internationally.
Founded in 1836, Emory University is a research university in metropolitan Atlanta. It is the second oldest private institution of higher education in Georgia and among the 50 oldest private universities in the U.S. It is 18th among colleges and universities in the U.S. ranked by endowment, 21st among universities in the world ranked by endowment, and 21st in U.S. News & World Report’s national universities rankings.
Witt/ Kieffer, based in Oak Brook, IL, assists hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, medical schools and physician groups; biotech, pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical device companies; colleges and universities and not-for-profit community service and cultural organizations with senior administrative recruiting assignments. With more than 100 search professionals nationwide, its consultants recruit CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CNOs, physician executives and other leaders.
Witt/ Kieffer’s education recruitment team identifies higher education and college preparatory school leaders who understand complex issues facing both public and private institutions: resource constraints, shifting national policy and increased scrutiny by boards, faculty, students and families. The education roles it recruits include presidents, provosts, deans, and officers for business and finance, advancement and development, student affairs, enrollment, IT and more.
Mr. Tomlin is a senior partner in Witt/Kieffer’s education and healthcare practices. His executive search practice is focused on recruiting senior leaders for hospitals and health systems, colleges and universities, professional associations, cultural institutions and community service and civic organizations. Mr. Tomlin focuses on recruiting for high-level positions, including presidents, vice presidents, provosts and deans for colleges and universities as well as CEOs, COOs, CFOs and executive directors for healthcare and other not-for-profit organizations.
Ms. Bauer brings strong experience and industry understanding to her assignments for healthcare, senior living, higher education and not-for-profit clients at acute care hospitals and health systems, colleges, universities and academic medical centers, and not-for-profit organizations. Based in the firm’s Bethesda, MD, office, she has identified leaders in such fields as operations, development, finance, human resources, business development, nursing, institutional advancement and technology.
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