Vice president for diversity role outlined

VP would help coordinate efforts to recruit, retain diverse faculty, staff, students

The CU Board of Regents at its Nov. 10 meeting reviewed a draft of the job description for the new system-level vice president for diversity, inclusion and retention, a position the board approved at its September meeting.

The draft outlines the vice president’s role to ensure that diversity, inclusion and retention are values embraced throughout the University of Colorado, and also be responsible for implementing and coordinating systemwide policies, programs and initiatives related to diversity and inclusion.

Michael Lightner, vice president for academic affairs, said the description had already gone through several iterations led by Kathy Nesbitt, vice president for employee and information services.

“The description really emphasizes the fact that it’s important to advance the effort to recruit and retain faculty and staff and students,” Lightner said.

Regent John Carson, R-Highlands Ranch, stressed the need to clearly indicate the responsibilities will include fostering greater intellectual diversity across the university.

“This isn’t just a racial issue or a sex issue, it’s also about intellectual diversity as a priority of this board,” Carson said. “I want to make sure the person we hire for this position is someone who realizes that’s a big priority for this university, and how we’re really going to get that discussion going about recruiting more diverse faculty.”

Lightner noted that the vice president for diversity will be a system-level position, yet hiring of faculty and staff takes place at the campus level.

“The things that this individual would want to be able to do is add the option of identifying best practices in other settings and be able to support the campus hiring processes by letting them know best practices that they may not have looked at at this point,” he said.

The position was introduced by Regent Michael Carrigan, D-Denver, and he stressed all forms of diversity should be emphasized.

“I specifically included in the resolution that part of the task would include political and philosophical diversity,” Carrigan said. “So as the primary author, that is something I sincerely hope the position will encompass.”

The board asked that the description be further vetted through faculty, staff and student government groups and that a more thorough overview – including the cost and salary associated with the position – be presented at its next meeting. 

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