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Update on Search for Chief Officer of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

To the Clark Community,

As we near the end of the academic year, I am writing to let you know that Clark’s search for a chief officer of diversity, equity, and inclusion (CODEI) will continue into the summer. We did recently have the opportunity to offer the position to a very strong candidate who was enthusiastic about Clark and this role but the candidate was given an enhanced role at their current institution and chose to stay. A second strong candidate made a similar decision. I am confident that our search will result in the recruitment of an exceptional new leader in this role.

While we continue our search, I am delighted to announce the appointment of full-time interim leadership to support Clark’s DEI initiatives and to engage with our students, faculty, and staff. Starting July 15, 2021, Dr. Judy (“JJ”) Jackson, will serve as Acting Chief Officer of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through at least the fall 2021 semester. Dr. Jackson brings to Clark an impressive portfolio of experience. She led DEI programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 2016-2019 and at the University of Kentucky from 2008-2015. Before that, she served from 2004-2008 as Dean of the College at Vassar. Most recently, following her retirement from MIT, Dr. Jackson was Interim Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Colby College. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, a master’s degree from Bucknell, and a doctorate from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Jackson will oversee the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, serve on the University’s Leadership Team, and be responsible for programming and support for all members of the Clark community. I am very excited to be working with her and know that she is going to contribute greatly to helping us move forward in these important efforts.

I want to thank Michael Vidal, our Director for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence, and Professor Jie Park, Associate Dean and Director of CGRAS, for providing essential leadership this year as we searched for a CODEI, and also Dean Esther Jones and all of the members of the search committee for their tireless and thoughtful work to date and their willingness to continue with the search. Dean of the College Betsy Huang and many of her staff have also been a tremendous resource for students this year, as have Donna Curry, Alan Acosta, Becca Kitchell, Danielle Morgan Acosta, Hayley Haywood, Lamara Burgess, and Peyton Wu from the Office of the Dean of Students. I’m grateful for all of their individual and collective efforts over the course of an especially consequential year. I also want to express my deep thanks to Maria-Elisa Gallant and Melissa Lynch for their own important contributions as co-chairs of Staff Assembly to Clark’s DEI work this year. No doubt, they will continue to play a very important role in our DEI efforts.

I will soon announce opportunities this summer—both virtual and in person—for members of our community to meet Dr. Jackson. In the meantime, please join me in welcoming her to our community.


David Fithian ’87