Q: What is a Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion?

The Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion is a new position at Iowa State University. The individual will serve as the University’s Chief Diversity Officer and advise senior leadership about strategic diversity planning efforts that advance Iowa State’s mission and vision. 

A Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) is an individual responsible for comprehensive coordination of an organization’s diversity initiatives. See What is a Chief Diversity Officer by Drs. Damon A. Williams and Katrina C. Wade-Golden for more information.

The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) is the professional association for CDOs. In November 2014, NADOHE released a list of Standards of Professional Practice for Chief Diversity Officers. According to Benjamin Reese, Jr., NADOHE president, the standards are “guidelines meant to clarify and specify the scope, scale, and flexibility of work CDOs perform. Given the growth of the CDO role across the nation, these can be adjusted to individual institutional environments and the needs of each college or university. Though the standards speak to professional practice and qualifications typical of a CDO, they are not meant to serve as a hiring guide. Instead, the standards provide well thought-out and comprehensive guidelines that can assist current (and aspiring) CDOs in providing effective institutional leadership”.

Q:  Why is Iowa State hiring a Chief Diversity Officer?

In 2013, President Leath commissioned The Jackson Consulting Firm to conduct a comprehensive study of Iowa State's diversity programs and initiatives. Among the firm's recommendations was creating a chief diversity officer position. Leath accepted diversity audit final report and convened the CDO search committee in October 2014.  

In addition, the “Status of Women at Iowa State University, 2014” report was completed by a subcommittee of the University Committee on Women. The report included recommendations to President Leath that would improve the environment for women at Iowa State. The full report is available here.

Based on a recommendation from the search committee, President Leath has established the position as Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion. This title change aligns with best practices within chief diversity officer positions in higher education; creates an executive-level position responsible for increasing the university’s diversity efforts while also promoting an inclusive environment; and more clearly delineates the position’s place within the university’s leadership structure.

President Leath has publicly communicated his commitment to increasing diversity at Iowa State University. Hiring a Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion is the first of many steps in support of this institutional priority.

Q: Who are the search committee members?

Please see the search committee page for a list of committee members.

Q: Where can I find the CDO position description?

Click here for a brief overview of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion position.

Click here for the full position announcement, qualifications and application instructions.

Q: Can I give input about the position description?

In an effort to gain opinions about what this new role at Iowa State should accomplish, the search committee chair and/or Spelman & Johnson Group consultant met with several university and external stakeholders and hosted town hall meetings from February – April 2015.  The Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion position description was subsequently developed in consideration of the feedback received from these meetings. The opportunity to give input about the position description has now closed.

Q:   Will the university community be invited to meet candidates?

Yes. Campus interviews with the finalists will include an open forum which anyone can attend. Specific details will be announced at a later date.

Q: When will the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion start?

The anticipated timeframe for the new Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion to start is late Fall 2015 or early Spring 2016.

Q: To whom will the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion report?

The Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion will report to President Leath.

Q:  How do I apply for the CDO position?

The Spelman & Johnson Group (SJG) is conducting the search on behalf of Iowa State University. Application instructions are available here. If you have questions, please contact SJG Senior Associate Mark Hall at mah@spelmanandjohnson.com.

Q: Can I nominate someone for the CDO position?
A:  Yes. Nominations are invited and encouraged. Nominations should be submitted to Mark Hall at mah@spelmanandjohnson.com.


Additional questions may be directed to cdosearch@iastate.edu

Last updated May 6, 2015