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Diversity Officer Role Focuses on Strategy and Collaboration

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Photo courtesy VMI Communications & Marketing.

The search is underway for VMI’s first chief diversity officer.

At the end of October, in response to continuing national media coverage, the Board of Visitors authorized the hiring of such an officer, who would be charged with ensuring equitable recruitment and treatment of all members of the VMI community.

In addition, a permanent Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee has been established on the Board of Visitors. That eight-member committee, chaired by BOV member Mike Hamlar, met for the first time in late November and approved a charter, which calls for it to review the Institute’s inclusivity performance, commonality of purpose, and compliance with the Institute’s statement on equity and maintenance of a welcoming and affirming environment.

In addition, the committee will review reports on gender and ethnicity data related to recruitment, admissions, and composition of the Corps of Cadets, faculty, and staff.

The job opening for a chief diversity officer was officially posted on the Institute’s website in mid-January. The job description states that the officer “champions the importance and value of a diverse and inclusive environment and leads the development of a vision and effective strategy to create a culture for diversity, equity, and inclusion through collaboration and training initiatives that actively engage faculty, staff, and cadets while supporting the unique VMI educational system.”

The officer, who will report to the superintendent, will liaison with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, as well as with the Commonwealth’s chief diversity officer and associated offices within the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Even before the job opening was posted, the Institute’s senior leadership had had several recommendations of individuals who might be well suited to the position. “There’s a lot of interest in it,” said Brig. Gen. Dallas Clark ’99, deputy superintendent for finance, administration, and support.

Clark said that a search committee is now being developed to evaluate applicants for the position, but the timeline for hiring the chief diversity officer is somewhat dependent on the search for a new superintendent.

“The final selection of the position will be coordinated with the superintendent’s office,” he stated.

The diversity officer will likely be on board in time for the start of the 2021-22 academic year, if not before.

In other personnel areas, Col. Jeffrey Boobar ’86 is the interim chief of staff. Boobar was formerly the Title IX investigator. Col. James Inman ’86, the former chief of staff, has changed positions and is now the special assistant to the superintendent. Susan Lemert is filling the position of Title IX investigator.

  • Mary Price

    Mary Price Development Writer/Communications Specialist

    The development writer plays a key role in producing advancement communications. This role imagines, creates, and produces a variety of written communication to inspire donors to make gifts benefiting VMI. Utilizing journalistic features and storytelling, the development writer will produce content for areas such as Annual Giving, stewardship, and gift planning.