The Search for the DEI Vice President
By: Isabel Acevedo
On February 24th, 25th, and March 1st, 2021, the search for the Vice President of Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion is coming to an end with the process of interviewing the final candidates through zoom meetings. The three finalists will then be decided with input from the students, faculty, and staff that attend the interviews.
University of the Pacific’s Rae R. Masumoto, the Dean of Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy, and the Search Committee Chair, provided updates on the candidate forums through an email to all Pacific recipients. In the email, a SharePoint was shared that detailed all aspects of the search for the next DEI Vice President.
According to the SharePoint page, the search committee has viewed forty-five applications for the position before narrowing the number down to only seven applicants. The three finalists will now be interviewed on three separate dates to determine which finalist is best suited for the Vice-President position at the University of the Pacific. The community at Pacific has slotted times for students, faculty, and staff, to meet each candidate and ask questions of their choice.
Rhonda Bryant, the Associate Vice-President for Student Well-Being, and the Dean of Students, along with Randi Holguin, ASUOP president, introduced the candidates and allowed them to give a brief introduction of themselves. The candidate was then asked questions by the audience, allowing the Pacific community to get a feel for the possible and potential Vice President.
The candidates discussed their backgrounds and previous careers. However, many went further than that to discuss their thoughts on what it meant to be the Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Vice President of Pacific. One candidate talked about aiming her focus on “helping students to become allies for marginalized groups.” Each candidate spoke with passion and vigor, making it a hard decision for the Pacific community to narrow down to one candidate.
According to Pacific’s official website, the inaugural DEI Vice President will report to the President and serve in the President’s cabinet. He or she is required to “bring forward issues of diversity, equity inclusion, and social justice, acting as a change agent for the university.”
Additionally, the candidate will be expected to “bring together individuals by increasing and enhancing dialogue, leading and steering our development of cultural competency, integrating our beliefs and actions to align with the university mission and values, toward our commitment to become an anti-racist institution that can empower people who have been marginalized.”
Some of the requirements for the candidate will be to:
- Advance social justice in Pacific communities
- Facilitate recruitment and development of a diverse workforce
- Support recruitment and retention of students from marginalized populations
- Nurture a culture where everyone feels valued and not bypasses
- Demonstrate awareness that we are one university across three campuses, with different specific needs, challenges, and opportunities
- Help create a welcoming campus climate across the “lifespan,” including support that is responsive to changing needs for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other historically marginalized students, staff, and faculty.
Although the candidates’ names are being kept confidential among those who attend each interview, the Pacific community is able to weigh in on each candidate and help shape the future of the school.