Search for chief diversity officers continue as forums are held on campus

Emily Craig, Assistant News Editor

As the campus launches forward several new initiatives, it also officially begins its search for a chief diversity officer. The need for a chief diversity officer was proposed five years ago by the college, but only now is the process fully underway.

“We have partnered with R.H. Perry & Associates to assist us in our search for the chief diversity officer,” says President DiSalvo in his school-wide-sent email. Additionally, in this email President DiSalvo promoted the forums lead by R.H.P. representatives Dorothy Poole and Matthew Kilcoyne on Friday, Sept. 9.

These three forums were open to Saint Anselm staff, students, and faculty, encouraging others on campus besides the search committee to become active in the search.

This search committee includes: Dr. Maria McKenna – Committee Chair, Dr. Harry Dumay, Aliesha Grandison ’17, Dr. Karlea Joiner, Dr. Jonathan Lupo, Marilu McCambly, Fr. Benet Phillips, and Donald Stokes ’17. Both Grandison and Stokes were present for the student forum led by Poole and Kilcoyne on Friday morning.

Dorothy Poole at the Diversity Officer forum.
Crier\Tim Mannila
Dorothy Poole at the Diversity Officer forum.

During this forum Poole made a note to explain what exactly it is that a chief diversity officer does. The definite role of the position is “still a work in progress,” says Poole.

The Crier learned that the chief diversity officer will report to the President of the college and have his or her own budget and support staff. As of now, the position does not have a clear organizational structure beneath it, but whoever holds the title will sit as a member of the college’s Cabinet.

As a critical partner in this search, the R.H.P. representatives have met with the search committee, President DiSalvo, Student Affairs, professional staff and faculty. When given the opportunity to speak with students, Poole and Kilcoyne asked those present to share what they believed to be the strengths and weaknesses of the college and to offer some qualifications that they believe the chief diversity officer should possess.

Some of these qualifications included: conflict resolution (Aliesha Grandison ’17); knowledge and experience of social media (Ginger Gates ’17); and mobilizing a large group of people who are un-engaged (Luke Testa ’19).

The student forum was a way through which the representatives could gauge how the student body feels about the role of the Chief Diversity Officer on campus and what they believe is important for the future CDO to know as a member of the Saint Anselm community.

Later on in the forum, R.H.P. representative Kilcoyne outlined the process of searching for the appropriate candidates to fill such a role at the college. Once a Search Committee has been made, the members begin the process with advertisements via the websites used for this specific type of search.

Matt Kilcoyne at the Diversity Officer forum.
Crier/Tim Mannila
Matt Kilcoyne at the Diversity Officer forum.

The Higher Education Directory is then consulted as it contains 20,000 to 25,000 possible candidates listed by functional area that the Search Committee could interview.

Eventually the Search Committee composes a broad-based email to the list of candidates they have narrowed down from the Directory. Not all of those approached for the position by this email will apply, but sometimes the Committee will receive third party nominations.

Every applicant is screened by the Search Committee; and, out of respect for the applicants, the Committee closes out with each and every one of them.

After the application deadline, the Search Committee will narrow down the list of candidates. Of these semifinalists, which can be anywhere from 5 to 8, interviews are held and the pool is narrowed even further.

The 2 to 4 finalists chosen are then invited to campus to explore the college and host similar forums with staff, students, and faculty. By this time, it will either be the end of fall semester or the beginning of the spring semester. The new Chief Diversity Officer will then be chosen out of those finalists.

In one week or so, the draft for the recruiting email will have been reviewed and finalized and the search can continue.