Apps for chief diversity officer to be reviewed Friday


LaVerne Gyant (left), Center for Black Studies director, helps senior engineering major Krystal Wilson at the center. The chief diversity officer, who will be hired in May, will be in charge of promoting diversity in academic and social settings on campus.

By Satta Kendor

Applications for the chief diversity officer, who is expected to make $100,000 to $175,000, will be reviewed Friday, said Provost Lisa Freeman.

Despite NIU’s uncertainty surrounding next year’s state allocation, interviews for a pool of eight to 10 candidates are going to be conducted off-campus on April 17 and 18, Freeman said. The chief diversity officer will have a broad role, Freeman said, but he or she is expected to improve university relations and impose diverse courses infused with multicultural lenses.

Interviews for two or three finalists will be conducted on campus April 27-30, Freeman said, with a chief diversity officer being named in May.

“Critical” positions that relate to NIU President Doug Baker’s vision for career readiness have been allowed to go forward during a “soft freeze” on hiring in the university, such as advising and positions essential for the accreditation of an academic program, Freeman said.

The chief diversity officer’s position is critical because efforts to coordinate diversity on campus will help with student retention, attract the best faculty, help with community relations, make NIU more attractive to students and help with enrollment, Freeman said.

An associate vice provost, vice provost for special projects and deputy provost positions have been eliminated to make room for the chief diversity officer, Freeman said.

“We don’t automatically allow the refill of positions as they come open, but we do take a look at positions and allow important or critical hires to go forward,” Freeman said.

The Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, headed by Athletics Director Sean Frazier and media studies professor Laura Vazquez and made up of about 53 people, made recommendations for the hiring of the position in its April through October 2014 meetings.

The task force was told by Baker to take a look at diversity and inclusion programming, academically and socially, Frazier said.

“We really believe that the diversity of this region and of our students is a great advantage that the university needs to market, to capitalize on more, because it’s so important to the educational experience and the excellence that we can achieve, and so we’re excited about taking full advantage of that,” Freeman said.

Sophomore business major Matthew Quanstrom said he would like for the chief diversity officer to put together a cultural fair in which there will be booths to represent the people who attend NIU.

“I would hope they would implement something, make us all on the same page, make people get along better,” Quanstrom said.