The Opportunity

Founded in 1826, Furman University is the oldest private university in South Carolina. It is one of the nation’s premier national liberal arts and sciences universities, offering rigorous academics, broad research opportunities, a robust visual and performing arts program, and NCAA Division I athletics. Furman provides students a distinctive education in fine arts, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, the sciences, and select professional disciplines. Furman’s strategic vision, The Furman Advantage, promises students an individualized four-year pathway facilitated by a team of mentors and infused with a rich and varied set of high impact experiences outside the classroom that include undergraduate research, study away, internships, community-focused learning, and opportunities to engage across differences. Furman has 2600 students and over 70 degrees of study. The average class size is 14, it is ranked 9th by Princeton Review for the “Best Schools for Making an Impact,” 92 percent of students participate in internships and undergraduate research, and it has 155 clubs and organizations. Continually recognized as one of the most beautiful college campuses, Furman offers 750 acres of classic building design and park-like greenspace for all to enjoy.

The Position

Role of the Associate Dean and Director of Inclusive Communities for Furman University

Reporting to the Vice President for Student Life, the Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Inclusive Communities (CIC) leads and supports a dynamic team in designing, implementing, and assessing programming and support services that foster the student success and sense of belonging for historically underrepresented students. The Center for Inclusive Communities enhances student flourishing by supporting the immediate and long-term success of Furman’s historically underrepresented students, partnering to develop global leaders by engaging students to consider critically issues of diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), and social justice, and growing co-curricular community engagement as a means for strengthening the student experience.

The Associate Dean and Director leads the Center for Inclusive Communities to holistically advise and assist underrepresented and international students with their academic, cultural, and social transition to Furman. The Associate Dean and Director collaborates with a variety of campus stakeholders to further strategic initiatives related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Associate Dean and Director also engages Furman students, faculty, and staff on equity and justice topics to foster meaningful dialogue and developmental opportunities to strengthen a sense of belonging at Furman.

The Associate Dean and Director will provide leadership and strategic oversight for two assistant directors to deliver international student support, experiential learning opportunities, workshop development, student organization advisement, and campus programming. This position works alongside Student Life partners on initiatives related to diversity and inclusion, new student orientation, programming, student center operations, and student organizations. In so doing, the Associate Dean and Director supports the vision, mission, and values of Furman University to create a vibrant campus in which students enjoy a broad experience within a close-knit community.

The Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Inclusive Communities:

  1. Is responsible for the management of the Center for Inclusive Communities and hires, trains, supervises, and evaluates two full-time professional staff, the Assistant Director of the CIC for International Student Engagement and the Assistant Director of the CIC for Social Justice Education.
  2. Identifies and develops clear, research-based outcomes for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) educational programming, including workshops and trainings, to move from awareness to behavioral and cultural transformation.
  3. Provides leadership and strategic oversight for international student support, experiential learning opportunities, workshop development, student organization advisement, and campus programming.
  4. Serves as a liaison to and works collaboratively with the Office of Admissions and the Office of Alumni & Parent Engagement in serving historically underrepresented student and alumni populations and collaborates and provides leadership for the University’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic planning and implementation efforts.
  5. Advises the Student Diversity Council (SDC), the umbrella organization for identity-based organizations on Furman’s campus, which strives to affirm the diversity of the campus community by embracing a broad definition of culture that includes, but is not limited to, world views formed by race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, abilities, sexual orientation, and religion.
  6. Collaborates with campus partners and serves on corresponding committees in the planning and implementation of Furman’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, Joseph Vaughn Day, and other campus-wide diversity and inclusiveness programming.


  1. Collaborates with Heller Service Corps, Shucker Center of Leadership Development, Rinker Center for International Education, Athletics, and other campus partners to engage historically underrepresented student populations and supports campus partners in the execution of programming aimed at engaging the university community in topics related to diversity.
  2. Initiates new and supports on-going programming which elevates the needs and experiences of BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and First-Gen students, while strengthening educational opportunities that demonstrate the importance of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging among all Furman students.
  3. Provides direct advocacy and support to individual students, including general counseling/mentoring and referral to other established support services on campus and develops the appropriate information channels to inform historically underrepresented student populations of scholarships, internships, extra-curricular activities, employment opportunities, and other events as appropriate.
  4. Serves as the fiscal officer for the CIC budgets, ensuring that all fiduciary commitments and budgetary obligations are met.
  5. Provides administrative leadership for the CIC, including risk management oversight, website maintenance, creating marketing materials, and managing the office/lounge spaces/related facilities.

History of the Position

Over the course of the past seven years, the position evolved from an Associate Director of Student Involvement to the current iteration as Associate Dean and Director reporting to the Vice President of Student Life. In the fall of 2023, there will be an exciting move to a new and expansive space in the south housing first year residential village in the core of the campus community.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

The Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Inclusive Communities provides strategic vision and collaborates with an extensive group of campus partners to foster a sense of belonging, advance student success and outcomes, and revitalize student engagement for historically underrepresented students at Furman University. The Associate Dean and Director must be a champion and advocate for underrepresented students and possess expertise in and authentic care for their education, wellbeing, and development. Central to that work will be addressing how the CIC enables and engages the four-year pathway of The Furman Advantage and creates a maturing sense of belongingness among underrepresented students. An ability to authentically and confidently interact with various diverse students, campus and community partners, and alumni will be critical to understanding and navigating the opportunities and challenges of the position and the CIC.

Interdependence, collaboration, partnership, and an integrated approach to learning are Furman University’s hallmarks. The Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Inclusive Communities has a tremendous opportunity to collaborate and leverage a variety of academic and non-academic departments, student organizations, alumni, and community members to shape the future and have a profound impact on belonging and community. The successful candidate will:

  • Holistically advise and assist underrepresented and international students with their academic, cultural, and social transition to Furman.
  • Leverage the Center’s new location and determine how to attract and create sustained engagement with students throughout their lifecycle by creating a safe, lively, and energizing space.
  • Plug into and mobilize an engaged community of staff, faculty, alumni, and students who want to support, encourage, and unify the community.
  • Expand visible support for and build trusting relationships with the entire universe of students who identify as underrepresented, including but not limited to BIPOC, neurodiverse, LGBTQ+, international, and individuals requiring accessibility resources.
  • Re-establish a climate of connection, relieve the cognitive load of the pandemic to strengthen civility, and reclaim previous ground.
  • Provide support for students to help them frame their identity, neutralize imposter syndrome, and navigate the culture.

The Center for Inclusive Communities and Furman University are at a pivotal moment in the trajectory of creating a learning environment that encourages flourishing for historically underrepresented students. The Associate Dean and Director will be deeply involved in the next phase of development and transition into the brand new and expansive space and have the opportunity to define, align, communicate, and hold firm, the mission and vision of the CIC by:

  • Working closely with various departments and leaders across campus to establish the strategic vision, advocate for and influence others to endorse the strategic vision, create brand awareness, and effectively communicate a clear identity and vision for the CIC.
  • Setting and reinforcing clear boundaries to ensure the CIC’s priorities remain the focal point.
  • Recognizing and being able to navigate this role as part of a larger DEI ecosystem at Furman University and, in the short term, providing structure and clarity, working to align student-focused campus DEI efforts.
  • Identifying innovative pathways to reaffirm and energize the future of the student experience.
  • Creating an environment where the CIC can be nimble and take some risks while learning and innovating.
  • Discerning strategies to “call in” the majority, leveraging student groups to amplify messaging, and encouraging the spirit of thoughtful and respectful discourse to support learning.

The Associate Dean and Director must be a student-centered educator who is prepared and effective in advancing learning for a variety of students throughout their lifecycle. This accomplished leader must advocate on behalf of and amplify the voice of underrepresented students, be responsive and swiftly work to address issues, and empower students to self-advocate. The Associate Dean and Director will:

  • Build and educate a sustainable network of mentors and support systems for this student population.
  • Collaborate to engage Furman students, faculty, and staff on equity and justice topics to foster meaningful dialogue and developmental opportunities to enrich belonging at Furman.
  • Champion efforts to further integrate DEI into the curriculum to introduce, reinforce, and sustain DEI education to all students.
  • Develop education to encourage a healthy and productive climate for conversation.
  • Enable and empower influential student leaders to create sustained, coordinated, and ongoing student-led programming.
  • Invest in building relationships and trust with students.
  • Be a relatable and accessible advocate who is willing to speak up for and empower students and effectively navigate campus dynamics.
  • Create pathways for feedback regarding student experience for underrepresented students.

Measures of Success

At an appropriate interval after joining the Furman community, the following items will initially define TFA experiences for every student and for the new Associate Dean and Director.

  • The Associate Dean and Director has established a reputation for being a visionary and strategic leader while remaining flexible to the opportunities presented.
  • The Associate Dean and Director will be seen as a trusted champion for all underrepresented students and an effective leader able to enhance the community by building a shared vision and reasonable implementation plan evidenced by community investment and engagement in the vision for the future.
  • The CIC will have increased identity and visibility and enhanced recognition of underrepresented students to all students, critical institutional colleagues, faculty, pertinent community members, and alumni.
  • A culture of collaboration and shared responsibility and accountability for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging among staff, students, and alumni are supported.
  • A vibrant new physical space will have been established and recognized as a safe, lively hub of student engagement that draws people in from around campus.
  • CIC staff feel supported, empowered, and engaged in opportunities to grow and continually improve as trusted team members working to advance the student experience for underrepresented students.
  • The community will have recovered from the disruptions and challenges resulting from COVID (i.e., mental health, leadership transition/development, student engagement in clubs and organizations, revitalization of student-led programming, improved community, etc.). Student organizations are flourishing, experiencing increases in membership and engagement
  • All underrepresented identities perceive that their specific opportunities, challenges, and communities receive equitable support and attention.
  • There is cohesion, unity, and interdependence amongst under-represented students. They collectively feel they matter, are protected, valued, and can create change.


Qualifications and Characteristics

A master’s degree in student affairs, higher education administration, counseling, or related field, and five years of professional experience with progressive responsibility and management in a higher education setting are required. Candidates must demonstrate an understanding of student development, identity development theories, social justice frameworks, and practical applications. Excellent organizational skills, strong communication skills, ability to prioritize and handle multiple tasks, customer-service orientation, and ability to interact with a diverse population and maintain a positive attitude in a time of crisis are essential. Ideal candidates will understand the importance of student learning outcomes and assessment.

Preferred qualifications include experience developing and providing strategic oversight of DEI programs and working with and advising students of diverse populations and demonstrated ability to supports students and scholars from abroad to achieve their academic goals and enrich the campus community with opportunities for growth through cross-cultural interaction.

Additionally, Furman University stakeholders consistently identified the following attributes to be essential characteristics of the ideal candidate:

  • Understands and values building connections, wants to partner with campus groups to bring constructive feedback, and collaborate on change
  • Exhibits subject matter expertise in social justice issues at predominantly white institutions
  • Demonstrates exceptional skills in relationship development — builds trust, and is tactful, diplomatic, and visible; conveys transparency; and develops positive rapport with a wide variety of stakeholders throughout the university
  • Applies strategic and critical thinking, exercise flexibility, establish priorities, and works calmly and efficiently under pressure
  • Demonstrates intentionality in aligning with academic/curricular experience and creating buy-in from faculty — faculty perceive genuine care about academics and desire to strengthen The Furman Advantage
  • Possesses excellent interpersonal and conflict resolution skills
  • Exhibits innovation and strategic vision — is future-focused while being grounded in an appreciation for the context of the current environment
  • Shows a strong aptitude for verbal and written communication, presentation, and programming/training/education
  • Fosters teamwork and a collaborative approach to achieving goals, organization, administration, and problem-solving
  • Is a humble mentor and advisor coupled with confidence and an ability to be decisive
  • Listens actively, practices patience, is inviting and approachable, exudes competence and understands the position as part of a larger DEI ecosystem
  • Navigates many different voices and opinions to foster community within students, faculty, staff, and alumni
  • Is enthusiastic, energetic, and accepting, able to reach out and get students to engage in creative problem solving as student leaders

Institution & Location

Overview of the Associate Dean and Director of Inclusive Communities

Furman is a close-knit community that values the distinctive contributions of individuals, encouraging empathetic discussion, and bold intellectual inquiry.

The Center for Inclusive Communities (CIC) fosters belonging for historically underrepresented students and stimulates all students to thoughtfully reflect on diversity and inclusion in the liberal arts tradition of engaged citizenship. Staff collaborate with a variety of offices on campus to design a comprehensive, university-wide approach to diversity; facilitate equity, access, social justice and inclusion; and empower students to build a diverse and inclusive campus community.

Leadership of the Division of Student Life

Connie Carson, Vice President of Student Life

Connie L. Carson is the Vice President for Student Life at Furman University. She has oversight for the Student Affairs Division and reports directly to the President.  Specifically, she has primary oversight for all strategic and capital planning within Student Life, as well as working in partnership with University Development on divisional and student experience fundraising.  She serves on the President’s cabinet, and staffs with the Provost, the Board of Trustees’ Student Experiences and Outcomes Committee.   She co-led with the Provost the strategic plan currently implemented called “The Furman Advantage,” as well as having been honored by the trustees to serve on two University Presidential search committees. Lastly, she has led and participated on all of the vice-presidential searches conducted under the current President’s tenure.

Academically, Connie is a First-Generation alumnus holding B.S. degrees in Biological Sciences and Science Education from NC State University, as well as a Master’s in Counselor Education from NC State. She also holds an MBA from Wake Forest University.

Currently she serves on the North Carolina State University Division of Academic and Student Affairs Student Success Board. Previously, she has served as ACUHO-I President (2006-07) and ACUHO-I Foundation Chair (2004-2006) as well as SEAHO President (1996).  Connie has served on the faculty at RELI, and NHTI.  During her ACUHO-I Presidency the association established the South African chapter and kicked off the first South African Housing Training Institute. She has also conducted external reviews for Housing and Student Affairs departments.

Prior to her current senior leadership position at Furman, which she has been in since 2008, she held numerous administrative positions at Wake Forest University including:  Assistant Vice President for Campus Planning and Services (overseeing multiple campus business operations, as well as space and master campus planning for the institution) ;  Executive Director of Residential Services, Director of Residence Life/Housing and Dining, Associate Director of Residence Life and Housing, Area Coordinator and Director of Camps and Conferences.

Institutional Overview

Institutional background/history

Founded in 1826, Furman University is the oldest private university in South Carolina and among the 75 oldest institutions of higher education in operation nationally today. The university is named for Richard Furman, among the most important Baptist clergyman during the early decades of the new nation and an influential advocate of educational institutions throughout the country. He maintained lifelong ties to Rhode Island College (now Brown University), and helped lead efforts to establish Columbian College (now George Washington University), South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina), Furman, and Mercer University.

At the heart of Furman’s vision was the Baptist ideal of democratically governed civic and religious institutions, a model that required the cultivation of broadly educated citizens from all walks of life who would be capable of creating a moral and productive society. Like many elite men of this era, however, Furman was also a slaveholder. In reaction to the foiled Denmark Vesey slave rebellion (1822), he authored a public letter that urged the literacy and education of enslaved persons while supporting slaveholding as a Christian practice and minimizing its inhumanity. The university continues to reckon with these legacies.

In the 1850s, James C. Furman, a son of Richard Furman, became the university’s first president. James C. Furman vehemently and publicly defended slaveholding and served as one of the signers of the state’s Ordinance of Secession, which severed ties between South Carolina and the United States, eventually leading to the Civil War. During the war, the university closed, as most of its white male student body served on behalf of the Confederacy. For this, the university paid dearly and barely survived. Throughout the late 1860s and 1870s, James C. Furman fought passionately to save the institution in the economically devastated post-war climate.

In the pre-industrialized South, saving Furman and other similar private institutions depended upon sacrificial, small gifts from churches and individuals. The college almost closed more than once. Over the next century, however, still guided by the vision of an educated and enlightened public and led by dedicated trustees, administrators, and faculty, the college prospered, taking the best of its founding heritage and formulating the foundation of the values it holds today.


Based on those efforts, the university was first accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1924, the same year The Duke Endowment recognized the university’s strengths and began giving annual grants that continue to support the university today. In 1938, in response to the firing of a religion professor who challenged doctrinal assumptions, Furman faculty formed a chapter of the American Association for University Professors (AAUP). Two years later, Furman trustees approved the AAUP’s Statement of Principles of Academic Freedom and Tenure.

In the second half of the 20th century, new and narrow understandings of what it means to be Baptist forcefully emerged across the country with grave implications for Furman and the South Carolina Baptist Convention (SCBC), its parent institution since the university’s founding. By the late 1980s, the relationship between Furman and the SCBC had become increasingly fraught and threatened the university’s academic freedom and values. In 1992, messengers to the SCBC voted to sever all legal and financial ties to the university, a move that was embraced by most of the university community. This watershed moment has allowed Furman the freedom to self-govern and independently continue along its progressive path.

After 1992, Furman became the beneficiary of several sizable bequests, in addition to continued support from The Duke Endowment. Notably, the Daniel Estate (1992), and the estate of John D. Hollingworth (2000), along with grants from major foundations like Andrew W. Mellon, have allowed Furman to develop into a nationally competitive liberal arts and sciences university, with funds used to support academic programs and scholarships, the building and renovation of campus structures, and innovative campus initiatives.

The university’s first female president, Elizabeth Davis, began her tenure in 2014, and under her guidance there have been many achievements, including the launch of The Furman Advantage.  Furman’s success through many challenges, including the recent COVID-19 pandemic, reminds us that the university has always been more than the individuals who founded it or the trustees and administrators who have led the university’s operations, important as they are. Faculty, students, graduates, and friends of the institution have identified with and supported the founding vision of a quality education for all.

Vision, Mission, and Values of Furman University


Inspiring purposeful living and fostering thriving communities through learning, creativity, and innovation.


Furman University challenges and supports lifelong learners through rigorous inquiry, transformative experiences, and deep reflection to lead lives of meaning and consequence.


In championing the liberal arts and sciences, Furman University cultivates a community of learners engaged in an effort to understand themselves, the world, and their place in it.

To support this quest for knowledge and meaning, we steadfastly protect freedom of inquiry and hold ourselves to high standards of excellence and integrity. We foster a passion for lifelong learning by nurturing the growth of each individual as a whole person: intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

As we draw lessons from thoughtful consideration of our university’s past, we advocate respect for all people and actively welcome perspectives from a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs.

We aspire to advance thriving communities that honor inquiry, promote diversity, strive for equity, appreciate beauty, and act as responsible stewards of our planet.

These aspirations inspire our vision and shape our mission, calling us to meet the challenges and responsibilities of a complex, diverse, and rapidly changing world with courage, moderation, justice, wisdom, and humility.



Elizabeth Davis, President

Elizabeth Davis became Furman University’s 12th President on July 1, 2014. Under her leadership, the university has instituted The Furman Advantage, a distinctive vision for higher education that combines learning with immersive experiences outside the classroom, creating a personalized pathway that prepares students for lives of purpose, successful careers and community benefit. The groundbreaking effort, which has received more than $52.5 million in support from The Duke Endowment, was launched in October 2016.

In September 2018, the National Society of Experiential Education recognized President Davis’ efforts to launch The Furman Advantage by selecting her as the recipient of the William M. Burke Presidential Award for Excellence in Experiential Education. The annual award recognizes a sitting college president who has made “significant contributions to experiential education.”

President Davis is a member of the Council of Presidents, an advisory group of college and university chief executives who provide guidance to the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges on issues of governance in higher education. She is also a member of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Board of Directors.

Dr. Davis serves on the Board of Directors of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and is an honorary member of the Board of Governors of the Commerce Club. She is a member of the Greenville Rotary Club, American Council on Education’s Women’s Network Executive Committee, and the South Carolina Higher Education Tuition Grants Commission. She has been recognized by Greenville Business Magazine as one of Greenville’s “50 Most Influential People.”

Dr. Davis has addressed numerous organizations in the Upstate since arriving at Furman, and she has also spoken throughout the U.S. on issues involving higher education, university leadership and financial management. She has been quoted in national media, written op-eds for The Greenville News, University Business and other publications, and done many interviews on radio and television on the subject of higher education.

Before coming to Furman, Dr. Davis spent 22 years at Baylor University in Texas, where she most recently held the position of Executive Vice President and Provost. In addition to being a member of the accounting faculty at Baylor, she also served as Vice Provost for Financial and Academic Administration, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Business Programs, and Acting Chair of the Department of Accounting and Business Law. Before beginning her higher education career, she spent three years at Arthur Andersen & Co. in New Orleans.

Dr. Davis received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Baylor in 1984 and earned her Ph.D. from Duke University in 1992. She and her husband, Charles, have two children, Chad and Claire.

Furman University

Administrative Organizational Chart

Academic Programs and Faculty

Nationally recognized as a top liberal arts and sciences university, Furman offers more than 70 majors, minors and programs, all designed to help further your passions and achieve your professional goals. A team of mentors – faculty, staff and alumni – will work alongside you to match your interests with courses, engaged learning experiences, such as internships, research and study away, and career paths.

The Student Body

For the Fall 2019

Total undergraduate enrollment was 2,629–60 percent women and 40 percent men. Six percent were African-American, four percent were Asian, five percent were Hispanic, 80 percent were white, and three percent were multiracial or other. International student representation was two percent. The entering freshman class for 2019 was composed of 390 women and 262 men, of whom four and one-third percent were African-American, two and nine-tenths percent were Asian, and four and three-fifths percent were Hispanic. International representation was two and two-thirds percent. The student body was represented by 48 states and more than 22 countries.

Benefits Overview

  • Medical Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Care Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Health Savings Account
  • Life Insurance
  • Disability Plans
  • Retirement Plans
  • Wellness Program
  • Education Benefits

For more information:


An award-winning city, Greenville and the surrounding area is the third-largest urban area in South Carolina and the fastest growing. Nationally recognized for our urban development, sustainability, beauty, food and campus, Greenville continues to top lists of destinations to visit. Our city has the highest foreign manufacturing investment per capita in America, with Fortune 500 companies like BMW, General Electric and Michelin leading the way. With several hundred restaurants, music and theater and arts venues, Greenville has gained recognition in various national publications such as CNN Money, which ranked Greenville as one of the “Top 10 Fastest Growing Cities in the U.S.” Conveniently located in the Southeast, Greenville’s bustling downtown is minutes from the Blue Ridge Mountains, beaches, other small towns and big cities.


Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until 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. Email nominations for this position to Kara Kravetz Cupoli at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email

Visit the Furman University website at

Furman University is an equal opportunity employer strongly committed to diversity within its community.