Search for Diversity and Inclusion Head Reopened After Candidate Withdraws

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is still operating under an interim head after new appointee Ame Lambert-Aikhionbare, Ph.D, unexpectedly withdrew from taking the role a few days into the spring semester.

“There were circumstances that made it necessary for her to indicate that she was not going to be able to keep her commitment,” said Chestnut Hill College President Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D. “Circumstances beyond her control, really.”

Vale notified the college community of the news on Jan. 19 and indicated a new search would commence “as quickly as possible.”

The office was created in Jan. 2016 and is currently headed by Cecilia J. Cavanaugh, SSJ, Ph.D., who is also dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies. According to the office’s college page, the office was created to reflect and support the developing conversation on race in the country.

Cavanaugh and the search committee spent the past year receiving applications and vetting potential candidates for the chief officer position, with the help of students, faculty and staff. The office interviewed three candidates in November and hired Lambert-Aikhionbare on Dec. 12.

The original search committee has reassembled and will be in charge of vetting and hiring a new chief officer. The office projects to have the position filled by July 1.

The college officer will be a member of the President’s Cabinet, ensure a diverse student body and workforce, and promote an inclusive and welcoming environment for the college community. The position will be posted by the end of February.

The office will adhere to the mission and guidelines set forth in “A Path Forward,” which was finalized and approved by the Board of Directors last year on Dec. 12. According to Cavanaugh, the six-page document incorporated comments and suggestions the office received from the students, faculty and staff.

As the search committee continues to look for a college officer, Cavanaugh and other members of the advisory committee plan to remain active and involved on campus.

“We are going to sponsor programs this semester so that we keep the work going and we keep the energy going,” said Cavanaugh. “And we let people know that the good work is a commitment.”

The Diversity and Inclusion Office will be formally opening its new office space this semester in room 331, St. Joseph Hall and will begin holding office hours.

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