WittKieffer Seeks Chief Diversity Officer for Colgate University

November 10, 2020 – Colgate University has retained the services of WittKieffer to lead its search for a new chief diversity officer. Charlene Aguilar and Christine Pendleton are spearheading the assignment.

The CDO will oversee the continued development of Colgate’s long-term plan for diversity, equity and inclusion, a part of the university’s Third-Century Plan, which identifies a diverse, inclusive and equitable community as foundational for the strength and success of the university, said WittKieffer. Additional priorities for the CDO include assisting with recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff and students, said the search firm. The leader must also provide support to diversity, equity and inclusion practitioners already on the campus, working with a number of offices to coordinate DEI efforts across campus, and deepening connections to diversity, equity and inclusion work across the campus and with the Village of Hamilton.

The new CDO will be expected to engage the campus in the project of inclusion and equity and identify opportunities for university wide participation and collaboration in this shared work, said WittKieffer. The individual must also direct efforts in these areas to develop and augment existing tools for monitoring progress, maintaining accountability, ensuring compliance with policies and setting goals.

The Ideal Candidate

He or she will also engage with the key committees of faculty governance to partner with the faculty in shaping their contributions to this work. The CDO is further responsible for identifying opportunities for necessary strategic investments and developing plans and a budget for such investments, and partnering with the advancement division to identify fundraising opportunities

“Colgate seeks in its next CDO a courageous, collaborative, strategic and inspiring leader who has a track record of building programs and partnerships in addressing intersecting dimensions of diversity,” said WittKieffer. “Successful candidates will bring emotional intelligence and strong communication and conflict-resolution skills to charged issues in order to move the institution forward in its ambitions.”

Ideal candidates will also have demonstrated skills in collecting and using data to assess programs; familiarity with and support of shared accountability in an academic setting; significant supervisory experience and demonstrated strengths in coaching and mentoring; and the capacity to bring together community resources in support of institutional change and growth. A terminal degree is preferred, but not required.

Best Practices

Colgate wants a leader with knowledge of diversity, equity and inclusion best practices and Title IX, Title II, Title VII and other federal legislation concerning equity, and the capacity to engage with the specific legal requirements of New York State, said the search firm. Candidates should also have experience in policy development and in leading substantive change in culture, practices and policies. Experience in leading institutional initiatives, building programs with impact, working with faculty, staff and students, and promoting diversity and inclusion in a complex campus setting is essential for the role.

Prospects should possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills and an ability to inspire and influence others. They must also have cultural awareness, agility and emotional intelligence, along with the ability to build trust and credibility, collaborate with a wide variety of stakeholders, and provide leadership to a vibrant environment. A thorough knowledge of research and best practices around promoting inclusion in a higher education setting is also required.

Related: WittKieffer Assists Syracuse University in Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Search

Colgate University, which was founded in 1819, is located in Hamilton, NY. The institution has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, 332 full time faculty and about 650 staff members. The university offers 56 majors and several additional minor study options. From Fulbright grants to Watson Fellowships, Colgate students and alumni have been awarded many of the most competitive national and international fellowships and scholarships. Colgate supplements a liberal arts education with guidance in practical, hands-on learning in a variety of industries.

Respected Recruiters

WittKieffer, 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.

WittKieffer Recruits First Chief Diversity Officer for Emory University
WittKieffer 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. Ms. Henderson will join Emory from the University of Delaware, where she has served as vice provost for diversity since 2014.

Based in South Bend, IN, Ms. Aguilar works in WittKieffer’s education practice. With over 30 years of experience, she conducts leadership searches for college and university presidents, chancellors, provosts and deans, in addition to key positions in advancement, academic and student affairs, enrollment and admissions. She also has knowledge and experience on diversity and inclusion initiatives across the spectrum of independent secondary schools along with public and non-profit enterprises.

Ms. Pendleton, who works out of WittKieffer’s Oak Brook office, joined the firm in 2014. She works to identify presidents, chancellors, provosts, vice presidents, deans and chief diversity officers on behalf of public and private universities and colleges and other senior leaders in non-profit organizations. She is a member of the firm’s diversity council and director of its community fund.

Related: WittKieffer Assists UConn in Landing New Chief Diversity Officer

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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