The Opportunity

Brown University seeks a strategic and collaborative leader to serve as the Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity (VPIED). The VPIED is responsible for oversight and coordination of the University’s effort to create a diverse and inclusive campus in which all if its community members—students, faculty, and staff—are treated with respect and provided with equal access to the full array of employment and educational resources the University provides.

Founded in 1764, Brown University is a leading Ivy League research university home to world-renowned faculty, and also an innovative educational institution where the curiosity, creativity and intellectual joy of students drives academic excellence. Brown is the seventh-oldest college in the United States and an independent, coeducational institution comprising undergraduate and graduate programs, plus the Warren Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Engineering, and School of Professional Studies.

The spirit of the undergraduate Open Curriculum infuses every aspect of the University. Brown is a place where rigorous scholarship, complex problem-solving and service to the public good are defined by intense collaboration, intellectual discovery and working in ways that transcend traditional boundaries. Providence, Rhode Island—Brown’s home for more than two and a half centuries—is a vibrant place to live, work and study, a stimulating hub for innovation, and a city rich in cultural diversity.

Brown’s campus community consists of about 4,500 staff and faculty, 7,000 undergraduates, 2,500 graduate students, 550 medical school students, more than 6,000 summer, visiting, and online students, and over 800 faculty members. Brown students come from all 50 states and more than 115 countries.

The Position

Role of the Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity

Reporting to President Christina H. Paxson, the Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity is a key leader in Brown’s work to make all areas of University life more fully diverse and inclusive. The VPIED leads the campus-wide implementation of Brown’s Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP), which outlines a set of concrete, achievable actions to create a more diverse and inclusive academic community.

The VPIED also leads the campus-wide implementation of Phase II of the DIAP expected to launch later this spring. This extension of the original 2016 plan will assess progress toward the original plan’s goals and outline new courses of action for further advancing this work. In addition, the VPIED provides strategic direction for a wide range of programs and initiatives, coordinates education and training efforts, measures and reports on progress toward DIAP goals, manages non-discrimination and other forms of compliance related to protected classes through the implementation of the Corporation Statement on Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination, and Affirmative Action, which includes oversight of the investigation of complaints in these areas.

The VPIED leads all aspects of the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) and serves on the President’s Cabinet and Executive Committee. The individual works closely with members of the Brown University Corporation, the university’s governing body, on issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion, and represents Brown with alumni and external stakeholders.

History of the Position

Dr. Shontay Delalue, who has served as Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity since 2017, recently announced that she will step down from her role in July 2021 to become the inaugural senior vice president and senior diversity officer at Dartmouth College. She leaves a legacy of continued momentum toward creating a fully diverse and inclusive academic community at Brown.

With assistance from Spelman Johnson, Brown is conducting an aggressive nationwide search for this key leadership position. The successful candidate will be expected to take office in the summer of 2021.

Opportunities and Expectations for Leadership

The Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity will collaborate with campus partners to achieve the following objectives:

  • Provide leadership, coordination and strategic direction for Brown’s numerous academic, co-curricular, and professional development programs and initiatives that, collectively, build and sustain the diverse and inclusive environment that is essential to the University’s mission. The VPIED will be the University’s senior leader in the area of diversity and inclusion, providing strategic direction, coordination and expert guidance to fellow vice presidents and deans and their staff members responsible for the implementation of programs and priorities in pursuit of the goals set forth in the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan. With the support of an immediate office currently comprised of nine full-time positions, the VPIED will be a critically important thought leader with University-wide purview and authority.
  • Coordinate educational and training efforts on equity, diversity and inclusion across campus to ensure that all members are educated about the community standards and understandings that characterize Brown; understand their responsibilities with respect to discrimination, harassment and sexual and gender-based assault; and know how to access resources related to equity, diversity and inclusion. This includes supporting and advising academic and non-academic units across campus on the conduct of searches and the development of professional development programs that promote the University’s diversity efforts.
  • Monitor, measure and report on progress on University initiatives related to equity, diversity and inclusion, including the 2015 Sexual Assault Task Force Report and the 2016 Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan. Oversee diversity-related reporting for the university to a variety of constituents, including to alumni and external agencies.
  • Oversee Brown’s full compliance with all federal and state laws related to equity, including those that protect equal opportunity in employment and access to educational resources, and prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, veteran status and other legally protected characteristics. Oversees a compliance staff responsible for the University’s Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action efforts (e.g., Affirmative Action Plan for Individuals with Disabilities and Veterans and Affirmative Action Plan for Women and Minorities). The University’s Office of Title IX and Gender Equity, which handles compliance with Title IX, VAWA and the Clery Act, is a sub-unit of the OIED, and the Title IX Program Officer reports to the VPIED.
  • Oversee the investigation and resolution of complaints related to equity, including complaints made by students, faculty and staff about discrimination or harassment based on the legally protected characteristics noted above as well as concerns and complaints by faculty or staff alleging disability discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). Supervise the work of the Title IX Program Officer in the resolution of complaints of sexual and gender-based assault or violence that are handled by the Office of Title IX and Gender Equity. Work with collaborative partners across the institution to help them address pattern data as it emerges.

In addition, the VPIED will be a strategic and inspiring leader who oversees the development of University-wide policies and programs related to equity, diversity, and inclusion. The VPIED will:

  • Chair the Diversity Advisory Board that is comprised of Brown administrators who work on diversity issues, including representatives from all major academic and non-academic offices, in order to align policies and programs on diversity and inclusion.
  • Serve as the key administrative contact for the University’s Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Board, a body comprised of students, faculty and staff.
  • Staff the President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, comprised of Brown University alumni, and the President’s Advisory Council on Relations with Tougaloo College, comprised of Brown University and Tougaloo College alumni.
  • Staff the Brown University Corporation Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, which is responsible for oversight and governance of the strategies Brown employs to maintain an equitable working and teaching environment, and to increase diversity and inclusion, consistent with the goal of improving Brown’s strength in education and research.
  • Serve on the President’s Cabinet and Executive Committee.

Measures of Success

The Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity will work directly with President Christina H. Paxson to identify specific quantitative and qualitative measures of success and their timetables soon after joining Brown University.

In the short term, the vice president’s success will be measured by the degree to which they have learned the workings of the institution, become a valued and contributing member of the University’s senior leadership team, built relationships with key stakeholders and constituents, provided strong leadership to the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, and become broadly recognized as the University’s chief strategist for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In the longer term, success will be measured by progress towards achieving DIAP and OIED goals and fostering sustainable change.

Qualifications and Characteristics

Brown seeks candidates whose professional, educational, and lived experiences have prepared them to serve as an effective and collaborative leader of the University’s efforts to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus community.

The ideal candidate will be a nationally recognized diversity practitioner with a track record of advancing, promoting, and building capacity for diversity, equity, and inclusion in a complex, decentralized environment. This individual will demonstrate ability to work collaboratively with internal and external partners and stakeholders; expertise in the areas of strategic planning, assessment, and evidence-based decision making; knowledge of best practices in diversity education and training; subject matter expertise in federal and state laws and regulations related to equal opportunity and affirmative action; strengths in coaching, mentoring, and conflict resolution; and exceptional communication and interpersonal skills. An advanced degree (PhD, EdD, or JD preferred) and at least eight years of relevant experience are required.

The successful candidate will bring many of the following experiences, skills, and attributes:

  • A sophisticated understanding of the national conversation around diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education and a keen sense of best practices and emerging issues;
  • Experience leading institutional initiatives, building programs, and promoting diversity and inclusion in a complex and decentralized institution;
  • Ability to guide the development and implementation of an overarching plan and unit-level plans for diversity and inclusion, establishing metrics, measuring progress, promoting accountability, and ensuring continuous improvement;
  • Experience with legal and regulatory frameworks related to equity, including Title VI, Title VII and Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Acts; Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972; and the Americans with Disabilities Act;
  • Ability to work collaboratively and interact effectively with multiple campus partners, including faculty, staff, and students, with diverse experiences and perspectives;
  • Excellent interpersonal and public communication skills, including effective messaging to multiple and diverse audiences, through multiple media formats;
  • A strong sense of optimism, entrepreneurship, and the willingness to explore innovative ways of creating change;
  • Ability to anticipate and address challenges proactively, with systems-level thinking and working toward institutional change;
  • Key leadership attributes, including but not limited to considerable emotional maturity, unimpeachable integrity, intelligence, exceptional judgment, creativity, diplomacy, humility, the ability to inspire, and gravitas necessary to achieve ambitious goals;
  • Qualifications that meet the standards of professional practice for chief diversity officers as outlined by the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity


The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) serves as a critical leader, resource, and support in sponsoring programs and events related to diversity and inclusion at Brown University. OIED helps lead inclusion efforts across campus through:

  • Accountability: OIED monitors and measures progress of Brown University’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) and the Departmental DIAPs, produces an Annual Report for the DIAP, and supports the activities of the Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Board and the President’s Advisory Council on Diversity.
  • Compliance: OIED oversees compliance with University policies and procedures, as well as and with federal, state and local laws related to discrimination and harassment, sexual and gender-based harassment and violence (Title IX), equal employment opportunity and affirmative action (EEO/AA), and disabilities resources and accommodations (ADA/504).
  • Fostering Academic Diversity: OIED supports academic and administrative units with their efforts to recruit a diverse faculty and staff by providing training and assistance to search committees as they develop diverse pools of candidates. OIED also supports the development, implementation, and assessment of professional development and mentoring initiatives for faculty, staff and students from historically underrepresented groups.
  • Promoting Diversity and Inclusion:OIED collaborates with offices across Brown to design, implement and promote programs and events related to diversity and inclusion.

Institutional Partners

Institutional diversity and inclusion at Brown is led by the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. Several councils and boards work in partnership with OIED to ensure Brown commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Organizational Chart

Institution & Location

About Brown University

Brown is a leading research university distinct for its student-centered learning and deep sense of purpose. Our students, faculty and staff are driven by the idea that their work will have an impact in the world.

Founded in 1764, Brown is a leading research university home to world-renowned faculty, and also an innovative educational institution where the curiosity, creativity and intellectual joy of students drives academic excellence.

The spirit of the undergraduate Open Curriculum infuses every aspect of the University. Brown is a place where rigorous scholarship, complex problem-solving and service to the public good are defined by intense collaboration, intellectual discovery and working in ways that transcend traditional boundaries.

Providence, RI

Brown’s home for more than two and a half centuries, Providence is a vibrant place to live, work and study, a stimulating hub for innovation, and a city rich in cultural diversity.

With undergraduate education centered in the historic College Hill neighborhood and a growing presence in the Jewelry District—a flourishing hub for science, technology, health, medicine and entrepreneurship—Brown is deeply committed to meaningful community engagement. Brown fosters innovative community partnerships and facilitates strong relationships with neighbors, nonprofit organizations, schools, civic organizations and businesses.


The mission of Brown University is to serve the community, the nation and the world by discovering, communicating and preserving knowledge and understanding in a spirit of free inquiry, and by educating and preparing students to discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation. We do this through a partnership of students and teachers in a unified community known as a university-college.

Strategic Plan

Building on Distinction: A New Plan for Brown

In 2014, Brown launched an ambitious 10-year plan to build on the University’s excellence.

Several years after launching the strategic plan, Brown is achieving a higher level of excellence as a university that brings together innovative education and outstanding research and scholarship.

Support for faculty through endowed chairs and other resources has enabled us to recruit and retain exceptional scholars who are engaged in research across the disciplines, and who promote greater excellence in our academic departments and educational programs. The inspiring generosity of our donors has enabled the expansion, renovation and modernization of critical infrastructure, transforming campus in ways that strengthen teaching, research and our very sense of community.

Increased financial aid, early success with The Brown Promise and support for diversity and inclusion efforts ensure that we can continue to compete for the most talented and promising students and provide a vibrant campus environment needed to prepare highly competent and innovative leaders.


Christina H. Paxson, PhD, President

Christina Hull Paxson has served as Brown University’s 19th president and professor of economics and public policy since July 1, 2012.

Under Paxson’s leadership, Brown has fortified its standing as a leading research university known for its excellence and innovation in undergraduate education, its transformational vision in fueling economic development through community and government partnerships, and its commitment to inclusion and access.

Paxson’s ambitious strategic plan for Brown establishes the University at the forefront of higher education in all these areas. She has led the creation and growth of centers and institutes that connect top researchers and scholars to confront critical 21st-century issues in areas spanning neuroscience, environmental and climate studies, economics, international and public policy, humanistic studies, and translating science and technology to find treatments and cures for disease. At the same time, Brown continues to lead in undergraduate education, with Brown students and graduates earning more Fulbright Scholarships than any other university in the U.S. for three consecutive years.

Led by Paxson, Brown’s public-private partnerships with government, businesses and industry have anchored the ongoing economic transformation of the formerly depressed Jewelry District in downtown Providence. This includes fueling the development of South Street Landing by moving 400 Brown employees into a former power plant; becoming the lead anchor tenant to enable the opening of the Wexford Innovation Center developed by Wexford Science and Technology; and Brown’s partnership with the University of Rhode Island and two global startup accelerators to create one of the state’s new innovation campuses.

Paxson is a passionate advocate on issues of access to higher education, and Brown has gained international attention for its campus-wide effort to develop and implement its comprehensive Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion action plan, which the University launched in 2016. In addition, Brown became a national model in working with its students to create one of the first student centers for undocumented, low-income and first-generation college students. Her leadership in creating The Brown Promise financial aid initiative has eliminated loans from the financial aid packages awarded by the University, decreasing financial barriers to access to a Brown education.

In addition, Paxson has overseen consecutive record-setting years in philanthropic support for Brown. Growth in fundraising and investment has strengthened the University’s teaching and research with support for state-of-the-art facilities that include the Friedman Hall undergraduate teaching and learning building, the Engineering Research Center, expansion of the Watson Institute for Public and International Affairs, and spaces for research and study for data sciences, brain science, education, entrepreneurship, public health and other growing fields at Brown.

Prior to her appointment at Brown, Paxson was dean of the Princeton School of International and Public Affairs and the Hughes Rogers Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University. She founded and directed both the Center for the Economics and Demography of Aging and the Center for Health and Wellbeing at the Princeton School of International and Public Affairs.

A noted economist and public health expert, Paxson became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017. Paxson has been the principal investigator on several research projects supported by the National Institutes of Health and authored or co-authored numerous journal articles. Her principal research explored the relationship of economic factors to health and welfare over the life course, particularly on the lives of children. While at Princeton, Paxson served as investigator for the Fragile Families Study and as co-editor of the journal, The Future of Children.

Paxson served as vice president of the American Economic Association and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2020, Paxson was appointed chair of the board of directors for the Association of American Universities, which helps to shape national policy for higher education, science and innovation. In 2021, she will become chair of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, of which she has been a board member since 2016.

Paxson is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Swarthmore College, and earned her PhD in economics at Columbia University.

Academic Programs and Faculty

Brown is a leading research university and the seventh-oldest college in the U.S. At the heart of the University’s teaching, research and scholarship is a commitment to academic excellence, intellectual freedom and making an impact to better serve people, communities and society.

The University is renowned for its distinctive undergraduate experience rooted in its flexible yet rigorous Open Curriculum. Its campus in vibrant Providence, Rhode Island, is home to a wide array of graduate programs, plus the Warren Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Engineering and School of Professional Studies.


Brown has earned a global reputation for its innovative undergraduate educational experience, rooted in its flexible yet academically rigorous Open Curriculum.

Probe theoretical physics with a Nobel Prize winner. Invent a new musical instrument. Design a medical device to prevent strokes during cardiac surgery.

At Brown, undergraduates are creators, leaders and doers who are not satisfied with merely raising questions — they learn to confront, address and solve problems facing society, the nation and the world.

Students are the drivers of their own academic experiences, surrounded by a community of world-class scholars invested in their success. They are actively engaged in teaching and learning, empowered to advance their intellectual growth, and transformed to lead lives of action and purpose.

Student Body

Undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in more than 75 concentrations, ranging from Egyptology to cognitive neuroscience. Anything is possible at Brown—the university’s commitment to undergraduate freedom means students must take responsibility as architects of their courses of study.

Graduate students study in more than 70 programs. The broad scope of options vary from interdisciplinary opportunities in molecular pharmacology and physiology to a master’s program in acting and directing through the Brown/Trinity Repertory Consortium. Additional programs include the Undergraduate Summer Session and Pre-College Programs for high school students—on campus, online, and abroad.

Brown is frequently recognized for its global reach, many cultural events, numerous campus groups and activities, active community service programs, highly competitive athletics, and beautiful facilities located in a richly historic urban setting. Members of the Brown community are committed to the university’s mission of education and scholarship in the service of society.

Benefits Overview

Compensation for this position is open and competitive. Brown takes pride in offering an array of benefits from which employees can select the plans that best meets their needs. Click here for more information.

Application & Nomination

Brown University has retained Spelman Johnson to assist with this search. Review of applications will begin immediately and will 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. Confidential inquiries and nominations should be directed to Jim Norfleet, Practice Leader and Senior Consultant, at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Brown University website at

Brown University is an E-Verify Employer.

Brown University is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive academic global community; as an EEO/AA employer, Brown considers applicants for employment without regard to, and does not discriminate on the basis of, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, race, protected veteran status, disability, or any other legally protected status.