Overview of the Position
Binghamton University, a public research institution widely known for its Nobel Prize-winning faculty and high-achieving student body, invites nominations and applications for its inaugural Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Reporting directly to President Harvey Stenger, the Vice President will provide both high-level strategic vision and pragmatic expert counsel with the goal of ensuring that the University is an inclusive community in which all can thrive, regardless of race; culture; ethnicity; religion; gender, gender identity, and gender expression; sexual orientation; immigration status; or ability. The elevation of the former Chief Diversity Officer role to Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is yet another milestone at Binghamton, which has long been one of the institutions at the forefront of DEI initiatives within the State University of New York (SUNY) system.
The new Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will be the chief architect of the University’s strategy for ensuring that the campus climate reflects its deepest values. Binghamton University can point to a long and proud history of DEI-related programs and initiatives which have developed ad hoc and across a variety of offices and divisions. The Vice President will provide leadership for developing a conceptual framework which will magnify the impact of existing programs and initiatives while simultaneously outlining a clear direction for future growth. In working to bring together a constellation of DEI efforts into a cogent whole, the Vice President will find the campus community eager to move forward and the university leadership fully prepared to align its resources with its mission.
Binghamton University is a world-class institution that unites more than 130 broadly interdisciplinary educational programs with some of the most vibrant research in the nation. In doing so, the University engages faculty, staff, and students from over 100 countries. Binghamton’s unique character – shaped by outstanding academics, facilities, and community life – promotes extraordinary student success.
Binghamton engages and challenges its more than 18,000 students with rigorous academics, distinguished faculty, and state-of-the-art facilities. The high-achieving Binghamton student body represents a rich diversity of life experiences, from first-generation college attendees to international students. Beyond their talent, Binghamton students share a desire to shape the future through intellectual inquiry and exploration, technology, and community service. Binghamton University is dedicated to the goal of building a diverse and inclusive teaching, research, and working environment.
Binghamton offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in its six schools: Harpur College of Arts and Sciences, College of Community and Public Affairs, Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences, School of Management, Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The University is consistently ranked among the top 40 public universities in the nation and ranks 15th on the Forbes Magazine list of best value colleges and universities. Binghamton has received national recognition for its special programs and success in comprehensive internationalization. Binghamton has garnered acclaim for its residential communities, led by collegiate professors who help to create the feel of a small college with the resources of a major university.
Role of Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Reporting directly to President Harvey Stenger, the Vice President will oversee the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which currently includes the Multicultural Resource Center, the Q Center, and the University Educational Institute. As a core member of the President’s cabinet, the Vice President will regularly engage with university leadership on a wide range of issues. In addition, the Vice President will serve in several other highly visible, critical leadership roles across campus. As co-chair of the strategic planning implementation working group focused on inclusive community, the Vice President will join campus-wide efforts already under way toward specific goals and metrics related to campus climate. The Vice President will collaboratively develop and lead the implementation of the University’s first comprehensive, university-wide strategic plan for DEI. In addition to these formal responsibilities, the Vice President will be expected to serve as an insightful, diplomatic, and highly collaborative subject matter expert in a variety of informal ad-hoc interactions with faculty, students, staff, administrators, and the local community.
The Vice President will provide leadership and support to the Divisional Diversity Officers (DDOs), all of whom are full-time faculty or staff who have welcomed the additional responsibility of serving as facilitators and resources to their colleagues on matters related to DEI within their divisions: Academic Affairs, Administration, Advancement, Athletics, Student Affairs, and Research. While the DDOs do not report to the Vice President, they are important colleagues and allies who share a common mission.
In all of the above contexts, the new Vice President must build trust, create connections, and forge new relationships. To do so effectively, they will need to be able to quickly establish rapport and credibility as a leader, resource, facilitator, and trusted partner for faculty, students, staff, and administrators. In exchange, the new Vice President will find allies and colleagues university-wide who are eager to collaborate, share experiences, and seek expert advice as they work together toward the common goal of ensuring a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community for all.
Opportunities and Challenges
The Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will have the opportunity to address the following priorities:
- Lead the development of a unifying strategic vision for the future of DEI at the University: The Vice President will advance university-wide progress toward the creation of an ever more diverse and inclusive campus environment by providing high-level strategic vision for continued growth and progress on multiple fronts. As co-chair of the Strategic Priority #3: Inclusive Community Committee, the Vice President will work to increase the number of students, staff, administrators, and faculty from a range of underrepresented groups and ensure that they have the resources and support to thrive in their studies and/or work on campus. In addition, the Vice President will be asked to lead an inclusive and collaborative process for developing a strategic plan focused specifically on diversity, equity, and inclusion. This process must be broadly inclusive and bring together individuals and groups from a wide range of constituencies for candid and productive dialogue on questions of climate, race and ethnicity, gender, ability, identity, and other issues that are currently at the forefront on campuses across the nation.
- Bring together the current array of DEI-related programs and initiatives into a cogent, powerful whole: Binghamton is proud of its reputation as a leader within the SUNY system in terms of DEI. As is typical in a large and complex university setting, however, there are multiple, perhaps overlapping, programs and initiatives in place related to faculty hiring practices, support for students from underrepresented backgrounds, accommodation for individuals with disabilities, resources for individuals who identify as LGBTQIA, etc. The Vice President will be charged with helping to move the initiatives within the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion beyond co- location to collaboration, and to link together the disparate programs across and throughout the University in a manner that allows them to become greater than the sum of their parts.
- Serve the entire University community as an accessible, trusted, and responsive subject matter expert on diversity, equity, and inclusion: The Vice President will bring to their work expert knowledge of and hands-on experience with the many facets of DEI work, including the relevant federal policies and regulations as well as nationally recognized campus best practices. One key area of diversity-related leadership will pertain to the recruitment, hiring, tenure/promotion, and retention of historically underrepresented faculty. The Vice President will build credibility and trust in the community by understanding how to deploy this expertise with tact, diplomacy, and with respect for the varying needs and priorities of the many different offices and departments on campus. The Vice President’s sensitivity to nuance and cultural difference, however, must be thoughtfully balanced by a core commitment to and absolute clarity about the fundamental federal policies that must be equitably enacted across the institution.
- Collaboratively develop strategies for addressing recruitment challenges impacting campus diversity: The Vice President will help to identify policies and practices that support the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, administrators, staff, and students. These efforts might range from working with the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Management on new strategies to recruit and retain students from underrepresented backgrounds, to helping staff supervisors strengthen their skills as mentors and managers, to assisting deans, departments chairs, and members of the faculty with the challenge of developing robust, diverse pools of candidates for their searches. The Vice President has responsibility for ensuring all faculty, staff, and administrative searches are conducted equitably, and to that end, will collaborate energetically and proactively with partners across campus to develop practices and processes that are thoughtfully tailored to each area’s needs while also adhering to federal guidelines and institutional best practices.
- Be an accessible and responsive source of support for both undergraduate and graduate students: As a highly visible campus leader, the Vice President will find that Binghamton’s talented and resourceful students naturally gravitate to them for a variety of reasons. The Vice President should have a high degree of comfort in engaging with students day-to-day as well as in moments of difficulty or crisis. The Vice President will draw upon their interactions with individual students to further inform their broader strategic efforts in support of all students.
- Maintain existing and build new relationships with the communities that surround the University: Binghamton is a major economic and cultural engine within the region and has many important connections to local community. In 2007, for example, the University opened the $29 million University Downtown Center housing the College of Community and Public Affairs. In addition, the Multicultural Resource Center offers a Translation and Interpretation Program (TIP) which connects trained multilingual faculty and staff volunteers with students, their families, or local community members with limited English proficiency. Finally, the University convenes the Town Gown Advisory Board, on which the Vice President will serve. The Vice President will work closely with leaders in local government, community organizations, and local schools to sustain these existing relationships and to seek further opportunities for mutual benefit.
- Establish and maintain a culture of data-driven assessment and evaluation in relation to DEI: The Vice President will create systems for tracking and evaluating the progress made on institutional diversity and inclusion goals university-wide using data-driven metrics. Working in collaboration with University leadership, the Vice President will review DEI efforts on an ongoing basis and ensure that all initiatives are directly and meaningfully aligned with Binghamton’s mission statement, policies, and strategic plan. The Vice President will report their findings to the larger university community and also use this data as a valuable tool for future strategic planning.
Desired Qualities and Characteristics
The inaugural Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will bring high-level strategic thinking, subject matter expertise, and exceptional interpersonal and communication skills to their role on the President’s senior leadership team. The ideal candidate will hold a Ph.D., J.D., or equivalent terminal degree, and will have a well-conceptualized understanding of the faculty experience at a research university. They will bring many of the following complementary skills and experiences to their work:
A sophisticated understanding of the national conversation around diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education and a keen sense of best practices and emerging issues;
Demonstrated subject matter expertise in the state and federal laws, regulations, and policies relevant to the position, particularly in relation to personnel management;
Experience collaboratively developing and implementing a shared strategic vision across a complex institution;
A track record of creativity and innovation in approaching complex and/or difficult conversations;
Demonstrated knowledge, expertise, and experience with the process of the recruitment, hiring, tenure/promotion, and retention of historically underrepresented faculty;
Experience setting and achieving long-term goals and objectives to respond effectively to pressing issues as they arise;
The broad institutional perspective expected of a Vice President, including a collaborative spirit and the ability to contribute to discussion on a wide range of university issues;
The ability to quickly build relationships of trust and shared purpose with faculty, students, staff, and administrators on campus as well as key community partners in the surrounding area;
Exceptionally strong communications skills, including the ability to credibly present data both orally and in writing to a wide range of audiences; and,
A genuine intellectual curiosity about and commitment to the University’s mission of enriching the lives of people in the region, state, nation and world through discovery and education and to, in turn, being enriched by partnerships with those communities.
Please send nominations, applications, and queries in confidence and electronically to:
Sue May, Partner
Steve Leo, Partner
Alyssa Perez, Associate
Matthew Marsallo, Senior Associate
Will Anyu, Junior Associate
Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, LP
State University of New York is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer