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Dean of Diversity description finalized

Administration has recently finalized a job description for the Dean for Faculty Diversity and Development (DFDD), a new position created to “enhance diversity within the faculty and across the curriculum,” according to the information posted on the Provost’s website. The position is being filled through an external search, although faculty at Macalester may also apply.

“The idea was to create a position that would combine the work with affirmative action and hiring and mentoring and retention that Jane [Rhodes] was doing … with faculty development,” Provost Karine Moe said in an interview on Monday.

The position was created in part to replace Jane Rhodes, former Dean for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and chair of the American Studies department. Last fall, Rhodes left Macalester after a nearly ten-year appointment to head the Department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. According to Moe, Rhodes was in charge of affirmative action-related issues at the College, and worked with Mellon Mays scholars of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program.

Former provost Kathy Murray, Moe’s predecessor, met with a team of faculty and staff last spring to “reimagine” Rhodes’s position, and devised the DFDD, but they “were unsuccessful in making a hire,” according to Moe. President Rosenberg subsequently decided to allocate money towards the hire of a search consulting firm, Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, which visited campus for two days in the first week of October. The firm has also been hired by Student Affairs in the search process for the new Dean of the Career Development Center.

The online description of the DFDD identifies diversity and multiculturalism at Macalester as objectives for the person who occupies the position. A section of the document on Scope and Responsibility reads: “Sitting at the nexus of affirmative action policies, curricular innovation and faculty development initiatives in matters of diversity and multiculturalism, the Dean will work collaboratively and in partnership with the Dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship, the Director for the Jan Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching, the Dean of Multicultural Life and the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Equity.”

While teaching one to two courses per year, the Dean will also manage affirmative action support for faculty hiring, oversee grants relating to issues of diversity and “direct one administrative support position.”

Unlike Rhodes, the new DFDD will not have to teach in the American Studies department, although they will have teaching responsibilities. The position is open to people from all academic disciplines. In terms of those whose research is in American Studies, Moe said that the administration is “encouraging that, but we’re not limiting it.”

Moe described the position as being part of “a very unusual model” for most colleges. “Most schools have one person who deals with everything related to diversity,” Moe said, “and at Macalester we’ve developed this trifecta.” Moe was referring to Dean of Multicultural Life Chris MacDonald-Dennis, Title IX Coordinator and Director of Equity Karla Benson Rutten and the future DFDD.

Moe also said that the administration has placed ads in “a variety of publications,” and is hoping to have a “relatively short list of candidates” for the position by January.

November 20, 2015

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