On Sept. 24, Meredith College listed a job for the Coordinator and Special Assistant to the President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). The description for this position is listed as “support[ing] people from a rich diversity of backgrounds—including but not limited to diverse academic experiences, socioeconomic levels, cultures, abilities, sexual orientations, genders, races and ethnicities.” Once the application period ends, on-campus or Zoom interviews will be held depending on pandemic conditions according to an email from President Jo Allen on Sept. 28. More information about the interview phase will be released to students in the beginning of November.
To gain more insight on the college’s search and how they see this position enhancing the college’s journey to racial equity, The Meredith Herald interviewed Dean of the Library Laura Davidson and Assistant Dean of Arts and Humanities Dr. Alisa Johnson. Dean Davidson and Dr. Johnson are both on the selection committee and were eager to provide more information to the student body.
“In the academic division, we have been talking about a position like this since pre-pandemic,” Dean Davidson said when asked about what events caused the college to create the DEI position. “It’s been an area of concern [for us]. This is not a new topic, it’s just [that] the Black Lives Matter movement gave us some additional [motivation] to finally create it.”
Dr. Johnson shared her hopes for what this new specialist will contribute to Meredith. “It’s really hard to anticipate what we should be doing when we are really looking at bringing somebody new into our community with a completely fresh vision of what our future could be like,” she said. “On the other hand, I will say, I know there are a lot of groups that are working on DEI issues within their own circles, and I think that is very, very exciting. I want to see that continue, and I’m fairly sure that when we get our DEI specialist, that person is going to encourage groups to keep working.”
Both Dean Davidson and Dr. Johnson expressed excitement for this specialist to begin their work on campus, but the search is still ongoing. Dr. Johnson would like to include that any students who are concerned about the search or have any questions about the process are more than welcome to email her or any member of the search committee.
By Anna Prince, Staff Writer