Position Description

The Assistant Vice President of Diversity and Multicultural Student Services serves as a division and institutional leader, helping to advance Portland State University’s ambitious vision to be a model for what equity and justice can look like at a diverse, urban opportunity institution. Reporting to the Vice President for Global Diversity and Inclusion, the Assistant Vice President serves as a critical partner to the Vice President, bridging vision and strategy with implementation through collaboration, capacity building, execution and leadership of critical institutional initiatives and projects. In partnership with the Vice President and Associate Vice President of Global Diversity and Inclusion, the Assistant Vice President will collaborate with division directors, campus leaders, students, faculty, staff, and external constituencies to embed equity and justice into all campus operations; facilitate cultural change and transformation of the University for students; and provide leadership in improving the institutional climate. This position will lead, supervise, and serve as a mentor and coach to seven directors; supervise the manager of Native American Student and Community Center (NASCC) and assist with collaboration with all campus and community constituencies to create stable infrastructure and operational funding for the NASCC and programs tied its mission; facilitate completion of divisional program goals and objectives; provide leadership of student fee funded areas, education and general funded areas, auxiliaries, and multiple federal and institutional programs to ensure compliance of program operations with institutional policies and federal guidelines and regulations to protect the University and the integrity of the programs that are supported by over $1 million of annual funding for federal programs; and ensure alignment and interdependence among units

Additional duties and responsibilities of the Assistant Vice President of Diversity and Multicultural Student Services as enumerated in the institutional job description include the following:

  • Advocates on behalf of students and staff to facilitate the implementation of programs and policies with senior and other administrative units on campus, including Student Affairs;
  • Serves on campus-wide committees, especially as an advocate for historically under-represented, first-generation, students with disabilities, multicultural, and diverse students;
  • Provides information, advice, and counsel to students, faculty, and administrative staff to facilitate the full integration and participation of multicultural and diverse students in the University community;
  • Promotes and coordinates the integration of departmental programs throughout the university community and provides leadership in facilitating changes that will enhance the academic success of students;
  • Advocates for campus-wide policies and/or policy changes to enhance the academic success of students, including multicultural and ethnic minority students as well as students with disabilities;
  • Develops partnerships with external institutions and organizations (e.g. local and state agencies, schools, nonprofits) to increase opportunities for educational advancement and career preparation for equity and multicultural students;
  • In coordination with other University personnel, serves as a liaison between the University and the community to aid in the integration, participation, and retention of equity and multicultural students;
  • Functions and communicates effectively and respectfully within the context of varying beliefs, behaviors, orientations, identities, and cultural backgrounds;
  • Seeks opportunities to gain experience working and collaborating in diverse, multicultural, and inclusive settings with a willingness to change for continual improvement;
  • Serves as principal investigator/co-investigator for externally funded programs to increase resources and programs for improved retention and graduation of underrepresented, first-generation, and students of color, and for the preparation of students of color for post-baccalaureate study.

The Position


The ideal candidate will have a deep understanding of factors that impact the retention, success, and advancement of minoritized students; demonstrate evidence of successful initiatives that impacted the retention of students; and be adept at fostering dialogue with multiple constituencies across and beyond the campus, building coalitions, and achieving results through influence, empowerment, and competence. The ideal candidate will also possess the energy, enthusiasm, drive, emotional intelligence, and gravitas necessary to achieve strategic goals and divisional and institutional priorities. Requirements include a minimum of a master’s degree and three years of relevant experience.

In addition to the qualifications stated above, key stakeholders identified the following list of additional capabilities and attributes of a successful candidate:

  • The ideal candidate is a strategic thinker, partner, and executor with a deep understanding of factors that impact the retention, success, and advancement of minoritized students;
  • A professional demeanor, good sense of humor, highly organized and disciplined, and able to relate easily to a wide range of groups;
  • A documented capacity to lead, mentor, develop, and inspire a creative, goal-oriented, and resourceful group of staff;
  • A deep understanding of issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and how these impact an entire campus community;
  • A demonstrated commitment to a strong collaborative style and the capacity to build bridges to other departments, faculty, students, and the community;
  • A proven record of implementing change, establishing a vision and direction for a department, motivating staff and students to embrace change, and successfully creating new programs and initiatives to enhance the quality of campus life for a diverse student body;
  • The ability to develop strong, positive, and productive relationships with student leaders who are deeply engaged in activism and social justice change efforts designed to enhance and improve the campus climate for diversity and inclusion;
  • Exceptional listening, interpersonal, and communication skills to clearly articulate vision, direction, purpose, and earn the respect and confidence of the faculty, staff, and students;
  • The ability to anticipate and address challenges proactively, with systems-level thinking and working toward institutional change, rather than simply reacting to them or focusing on individual remedies to issues as they present themselves.

History of the Position

The previous Assistant Vice President of Diversity and Multicultural Student Services separated from Portland State University (PSU) in June 2019. Perla Pinedo, Director of Retention Programs and Coordinator of the Diversity Scholars Program in the Diversity and Multicultural Student Services department at PSU, has been appointed interim Assistant Vice President of Diversity and Multicultural Student Services and will continue to serve on an interim basis while Portland State University conducts a national search for a permanent leader.

Likely Opportunities, Priorities, and Challenges of the Position

Portland State University is deeply committed to advancing diversity and inclusion efforts. Accordingly, the Assistant Vice President has an important voice in this regard in supporting the success of minoritized students and advancing the mission of the Division of Global Diversity and Inclusion and the institution. In transitioning to Portland State University, the Assistant Vice President may encounter the opportunities and challenges listed below, as shared by key stakeholders:

  • The Assistant Vice President will find an engaged environment ready to support diversity, inclusion, and social justice endeavors.
  • The Assistant Vice President will need to build an exemplary team by earning trust through authentic relationship building, enhancing current staff morale, and creating a culture of honest information sharing, solicitation of others’ input, and fair and consistent accountability methods.
  • There is genuine excitement that, with a new Assistant Vice President coming on-board, there will be opportunities for deeper facilitation of a culture of creativity, innovation, and progressive thinking.
  • The Assistant Vice President must be able to successfully balance the administrative demands of a leadership position within a culture that also expects that the position will be a highly visible and accessible advocate for students.
  • The Assistant Vice President must be respectful of the accomplishments of their predecessor while simultaneously moving forward to implement innovative strategies for service delivery, develop staff, and support students. These efforts will be both challenging and rewarding.
  • The Assistant Vice President must assess and analyze program and service outcomes, and determine priorities for change that will enhance the quality of services, optimize available resources, and create a culture of shared vision and purpose among staff.
  • The Assistant Vice President will be expected to work collaboratively with divisional leadership to analyze, contribute to, and define plans that are best practices for the Division of Global Diversity and Inclusion and the campus moving forward.

In addition to the aforementioned opportunities and challenges, campus stakeholders articulated the following priorities. The Assistant Vice President will:

  • analyze, contribute to, and define plans that are best practices for the Division of Global Diversity and Inclusion and the campus moving forward;
  • build strong relationships across the institution on trust and open communication with students, colleagues, staff, faculty, and senior administrators;
  • assess the skills and knowledge of the staff, develop a strong sense of teamwork, and build working relationships that emphasize an engaging and collaborative work environment as well as provide professional development opportunities;
  • maintain a proactive, highly visible, well-respected, and established leadership presence on and off campus that is credible, collegial, and highly effective;
  • provide leadership, vision, and management to the reporting units of the Assistant Vice President that enables them to move forward with a sense of clarity and purpose in supporting the strategic goals of the division and meeting the needs of students;
  • ensure the reporting units to the Assistant Vice President will be defined as a strong, highly functioning, well-regarded, and resilient team that works with synergy and shared purpose, readily collaborating across departmental and division lines with a demonstrated commitment to student success.

Divisional Leadership

Ame Lambert, Vice President of Global Diversity and Inclusion

Vice President Ame Lambert joined Portland State in the summer of 2020. She is a critical organization developer and change leader with almost two decades of experience in justice and equity work. A passionate advocate for the thriving of minoritized students and employees and an interdisciplinary educator on issues related to justice and equity, Lambert has a track record of successfully advancing systems, cultural and programmatic change that have resulted in measurable impact of diversity, retention, and climate.

Divisional Initiatives

Since her arrival in August, Dr. Lambert has been working to identify critical priorities for Portland State University and serve as a partner to the President and executive leadership of the university. Lambert led stakeholders from across campus in the planning of the Time to Act summit on October 30, 2020. The day-long summit attracted more than 500 participants. Five task forces organized according to the Inclusive Excellence framework and Daryl Smith’s framework for fostering diversity and inclusion. These frameworks serve as the brain trust of the summit, grounding in prior diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at Portland State. The task forces are each charged with advancing three recommendations that will have the greatest impact over the next three years, using seed funding from the three-year, $1.5 million racial justice fund established by President Percy in June 2020. These recommendations will be presented to the campus community in February 2021.

Recognizing the unparalleled opportunity the Division of Global Diversity and Inclusion has to lean into intersectional racial justice work, supporting the success of minoritized students and employees and embedding equity into campus operations, Lambert has started the process of creating a common identity for the Division. The Assistant Vice President will have the opportunity to deepen and further this work.

Institution & Location

Institutional Background

Over the last 75 years, Portland State has developed from a temporary extension center to its position today as a nationally recognized urban research university, the largest and most diverse in Oregon. The institution was first established as the Vanport Extension Center in June 1946 to satisfy the demand for higher education in Portland for returning World War II veterans. Following the Vanport Flood of 1948, the college became known as “the college that wouldn’t die” for refusing to close after the flood. In 1952, the School moved to downtown Portland and occupied the vacated building of Lincoln High School on SW Broadway Street. In 1955, the School changed its name to Portland State College to mark its maturation into a four-year degree-granting institution, continuing to grow with graduate programs added in 1961 and doctoral programs added in 1968. The institution was granted university status by the Oregon Legislature in 1969, becoming Portland State University.

In recent years, PSU programs have attracted national attention. When PSU replaced its traditional undergraduate general education distribution system and adopted a new interdisciplinary program, University Studies, in 1994, it received national press, and institutions all over the country visited the PSU campus. For the ninth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report has recognized University Studies and on multiple occasions has listed it as a “Program to Look For.” PSU programs continue to garner national recognition and rankings. The University has been named one of the top ten most innovative universities in the country (U.S. News and World Report 2017-2018) and as a Community Engaged Institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In 2019, Portland State was named as one of the top ten colleges that leads to student success. To see an up-to-date list of the outstanding PSU rankings and references by Princeton Review and other nationally respected organizations, please visit the following link: https://www.pdx.edu/portland-state-university-rankings.

Student diversity and engagement with diverse communities have increased with the expansion and development of academic programs gathered in the School of Gender, Race and Nations, including Black Studies; Indigenous Nations Studies; Chicano/Latino Studies; and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. In addition, students are supported by a number of resource centers, including six cultural resource centers: La Casa Latina Student Center; Multicultural Student Center; Middle Eastern/North African/South Asian (MENASA just opened last year); Native American Student & Community Center; Pacific Islander, Asian, and Asian American Student Center; and Pan-African Commons.

Portland State, with the leadership of the Provost, launched a new Student Success Effort in the fall of 2019. The Provost outlined a strategic framework for organizing and coordinating a campus-wide focus on its shared Student Success Effort. This framework includes executive support from President Percy for the Leadership Council that is responsible for steering, coordinating, and assessing PSU’s commitment to improving student success outcomes. The Student Success Effort is divided into four pillars or focus areas. These include Persistence, Academic Success, Affordability, and Student Experience, all supported by the strategic use of data. The Student Success Effort pays careful attention to the institutional data it uses to define its metrics, set explicit targets, and put powerful data tools in the hands of the people best positioned to act on that data. The effort is committed to using an equity lens throughout all areas of work.

PSU Today

Portland State University enrolls approximately 26,000 students—roughly 21,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students. About 61 percent of students are full time and approximately 78 percent are residents of Oregon. The University employs approximately 6,338 employees, including 1,796 research and instructional faculty, 742 academic professionals and managers, 91 administrators, 680 staff, and 2,954 graduate assistants, student employees, and miscellaneous employees. The faculty and most of the staff including graduate assistants, are represented by various collective bargaining units. Collective bargaining plays a strong role in the university’s governance.

PSU employs adjunct faculty and researchers throughout its academic units who bring diversity and broad experience to their work at PSU. Adjuncts at PSU often teach the same courses as full-time faculty and teach a large share of the total credit hours.

PSU offers over 200 degree programs: 88 bachelor’s, 88 master’s, and 37 doctoral degree programs. Over the past 20 years, PSU has added doctoral programs and grown into the comprehensive urban research university operating today. Doctoral programs include community health, health systems policy, mathematics, biology, chemistry, computer science, applied psychology, engineering and technology management, mechanical engineering, and sociology.

PSU’s research funding has grown steadily from about $5M in 1990 to more than $65.3M in 2019-20. In addition, PSU’s Business Accelerator has fostered the growth of 38 businesses, 35 percent of which work directly with PSU’s faculty experts. Research synergies in areas such as medical devices and instrumentation, computer science, urban design and transportation, automation and artificial intelligence, and sustainability, support private-sector innovation and improve the quality of life of all Oregonians while helping attract members of the “creative class” to Portland. Social work research and evaluation have led to significant changes in national and state policy relative to child welfare, disability services, and youth service integration.

PSU drives its academic agenda in accordance with the following mission statement:

  • We serve and sustain a vibrant urban region through our creativity, collective knowledge, and expertise.
  • We are dedicated to collaborative learning, innovative research, sustainability, and community engagement.
  • We educate a diverse community of lifelong learners.
  • Our research and teaching have global impact.

Entering its 28th year, the University Studies (UNST) general education program is a nationally recognized four-year program designed to provide students a well-balanced educational foundation, which helps them become successful, thoughtful, analytical thinkers. The program provides learning environments and opportunities known to enhance learning, satisfaction, and retention for all students. PSU’s four-year general education program is required of all students, with the exception of those enrolled in Liberal Studies or the Honors Program. University Studies begins with Freshman Inquiry, a year-long course introducing students to different modes of inquiry and providing them with the tools to succeed in advanced studies and their majors. At the sophomore level, students choose three different Sophomore Inquiry courses, each of which leads into a thematically linked, interdisciplinary cluster of courses at the upper-division level. Finally, all students are required to complete a Capstone course which consists of teams of students from different majors working together to complete a project addressing a real problem in the Portland metropolitan community.

Institutional Leadership

Stephen Percy, President

Now in his fourth decade as an educator and leader, PSU President Stephen Percy has dedicated his career to fostering vibrant connections between universities and the communities they serve.

An expert in public policy, administrative ethics, and urban politics, Percy is known for his ability to advance civic engagement and create innovative solutions by linking the skills and capacity of universities to the knowledge and energy of communities.  He believes in using collaborative, interdisciplinary applied research to facilitate university-community partnerships that solve problems and improve the quality of life.

Passionate about promoting educational access for all students, President Percy has worked extensively with diverse, urban-serving universities, including the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Baltimore, where he was founding dean of the College of Public Affairs. He joined PSU to lead the College of Urban & Public Affairs in 2014, was appointed PSU’s interim president in 2019 and named president in 2020.

President Percy has authored two books about disability rights and civil rights and co-authored four books and the textbook “American Government: The Political Game.” At PSU, Percy led several campus-wide initiatives, including the planning process that resulted in priorities and goals for PSU from 2016-2020.

As PSU gets ready to celebrate its 75th anniversary, Percy and his leadership team are throwing the full weight of the institution behind its commitment to racial justice. The university has begun to expand its access mission by building anti-racist practices and policies, and to better understand and advocate for historically underserved populations through scholarship and community engagement. Recent steps include hiring a new cohort of seven scholars for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ School of Gender, Race and Nations. They will begin work in fall 2021.

Benefits Overview

The following benefits are available to Portland State University employees:

  • Health Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Retirement Plans
  • Supplemental Retirement Options
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Leave Options
  • Tuition Benefits
  • Discounts

For additional information regarding benefits, visit: https://www.pdx.edu/hr/benefits

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin immediately, and continue until the position is filled.

To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Quincy Martin III at qm3@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Portland State University website at http://www.pdx.edu

Portland State University supports equal opportunity in admissions, education, employment, housing, and use of facilities by prohibiting discrimination in those areas based on age, color, disability, marital status, national origin, race, religion or creed, sex or gender, gender identity or gender expression, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other basis in law. This policy implements state and federal laws.