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Davies named Vice Provost

January 26, 2015 | Faculty

Sharon L. Davies, the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, has been named Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer for the university.  Her appointment is effective on July 1, 2015, subject to approval by the Board of Trustees.

Davies will replace Valerie B. Lee, who currently holds the position and is retiring.

“It is an honor to be able to think about building on the many important accomplishments of Dr. Lee,” Davies said. “Building a richly diverse faculty, staff, and student body is, quite simply, a matter of academic and institutional excellence.   Research shows that diverse and inclusive campus environments promote research and innovation, and enhance the learning and problem solving skills of all students.”

Since 2010, Dr. Lee has led the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) and built on its strong foundation. ODI has increased its efforts to work with academic units, community partners, and national organizations and institutions to focus on initiatives for the recruitment, retention, and success of underrepresented students, faculty, and staff.

Under Dr. Lee’s leadership, the unit’s name and focus changed from the Office of Minority Affairs to the more expansive Office of Diversity and Inclusion. In addition, ODI moved to the newly renovated Hale Hall where all of the ODI sub-units are under one roof, including its three centers: Frank W. Hale Black Cultural Center, the Todd Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male, and the Latino and Latin American Space for Enrichment and Research (LASER).

ODI also inaugurated new initiatives, including: Future Faculty Retreats; Dissertation Boot Camps; leadership initiatives for women of color; gender and LGBT diversity initiatives; diversity research grants; ODI Faculty Fellows; and partnership with Gates Millennium Bridge Builders.

“Colleges and universities like ours don’t exist in a vacuum,” Davies said.  “In a nation of increasing diversity, higher education institutions play a critical role in preparing students to be culturally competent contributors to their future professions and workplaces, and civically engaged members of their communities.”

The Kirwan Institute will move its administrative home to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, where it will serve as the research arm of the department.  Professor Davies will remain on the faculty at Moritz, which she joined in 1995. Her scholarship and teaching focuses on civil rights, criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, and race and law. Her honors include The American Constitution Society’s Robert M. Duncan Award and the Columbus Bar Association’s Liberty Bell Award. In addition, she was presented with the Key to the City of Birmingham, Alabama, for the contributions made by her book, Rising Road, A True Tale of Love, Race and Religion (Oxford University Press). She has also recently been announced as a 2015 YWCA Woman of Achievement.

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