OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
The new director of diversity, equity, and inclusion must understand best practices while being a thought leader capable of innovative and creative solutions. The emphasis on building a solid presence for the new office will be a priority for the DDEI as they focus on serving students and supporting the DSA. In executing this new endeavor, the DDEI will be a co-leader with all student affairs leadership to develop effective policies, protocols, and practices to ensure the fulfillment of this goal for the Student Affairs Division.
Additional challenges and opportunities for the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion are as follows.
Change management. The director will be courageous in advancing new ideas, thinking outside the box, and pushing the Student Affairs Division to address challenges with creativity, newly designed systems, and futuristic thinking.
Questions around the function of the position. It will be necessary for the successful candidate to help communicate the purpose of the office within the university and build relationships with significant partner offices and committees. It will be essential to highlight the area’s goals to illustrate how their function does not duplicate existing offices.
Collaboration. The director will forge significant partnerships with Student Affairs Diversity Initiatives Committee, Student Affairs Leadership Team, and all division staff through a defined strategic plan, training programs, new programming initiatives, and student engagement.
Amplify and build upon the work of the division. The Division of Student Affairs has contributed significant work in diversity, equity, and inclusion to students in past initiatives. The director will be able to continue that work and build upon it with solid collaborations, programs, and relationships.
Strategic planning. The director must demonstrate a leadership style that is credible and collegial while being highly effective. It is expected that the director will develop the strategic plan and direct the new area focusing on students’ academic and personal success.
Trust and confidence of students. The director will be charged with relationship building with current students who desire a greater sense of belonging and inclusion. The director must promote a culture of accessibility, transparency, and accountability through policy, communication, and practice.
Advocate. The director will be a champion and advocate for students while motivating other staff to understand the purpose of that advocacy. They will promote policies and practices that uphold equality and a greater sense of belonging among the student population.
Training. The director will be expected to be a content expert and coordinate training for the division around topics of diversity, equity, social justice, inclusion, and belonging.
Bias Response. The position will serve as a liaison to the Bias Incident Response Team. Experience in crisis and bias response, specifically with identity-based communities, will be an asset to the director as they will provide incident support to students.