Following a semester without leadership in the Center for Diversity & Community, a new director was hired with the help of a search committee and students.
Laura Renee Chandler, an assistant professor of history at South Dakota State University, was hired as director following a three-part student panel April 2, 3 and 5. When Chandler officially starts her position on June 22, she will be in charge of hiring a new coordinator for the CDC.
Lamont Sellers, associate vice president for diversity and part of the search committee, said the panels helped students really get to know their potential leaders.
“The fact that we had student forums was a positive,” he said. “This particular position addresses a lot of student issues and concerns, as well as is student-focused. It really wouldn’t make sense for us as a committee to not include that as an aspect of the interview process.”
Sellers said Chandler has many qualifications to lead the CDC.
“The fact that her faculty service as a U.S. history professor, as well as her experience and research with African-American females and African-American studies in general was one of the high points,” he said. “Something else she brings to the table is experience with having difficult conversations.”
Sellers said Chandler meets many of his expectations for a director.
“I’ve been looking for that colleague on campus that will be able to continue to move things forward for inclusive excellence from the student perspective,” he said. “I’m really excited for her to be able to come in and chart a course for the CDC to continue to be innovated, to continue to address student needs, to address our campus needs and be an exemplar to what a center of this type can be in the region and in the country.”
The Volante will have an in-depth feature with Chandler’s commentary in the Summer Issue.