University welcomes first chief diversity officer

Dr.+Sean+Garrick+is+the+University%E2%80%99s+first+chief+diversity+officer%2C+serving+as+the+first+Vice+Chancellor+for+Diversity%2C+Equity+%26+Inclusion.+The+position+was+established+after+an+external+review+of+University+diversity+was+completed+in+2017.
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University welcomes first chief diversity officer

Dr. Sean Garrick is the University’s first chief diversity officer, serving as the first Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. The position was established after an external review of University diversity was completed in 2017.

Dr. Sean Garrick is the University’s first chief diversity officer, serving as the first Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. The position was established after an external review of University diversity was completed in 2017.

Photo Courtesy of UI Public Affairs/L. Brian Stauffer

Dr. Sean Garrick is the University’s first chief diversity officer, serving as the first Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. The position was established after an external review of University diversity was completed in 2017.

Photo Courtesy of UI Public Affairs/L. Brian Stauffer

Photo Courtesy of UI Public Affairs/L. Brian Stauffer

Dr. Sean Garrick is the University’s first chief diversity officer, serving as the first Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. The position was established after an external review of University diversity was completed in 2017.

By Eunice Alpasan, Staff Writer

Sean Garrick was selected this summer to serve as the University’s first chief diversity officer as the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

The role of the VCDEI is to identify and pursue opportunities for education, restoration and cultural transformation relating to bias and discrimination against any group of people, as explained in the University’s job description. This includes developing the University’s affirmative action program and responding to reports of discrimination and harassment.

Garrick will also serve on Chancellor Robert J. Jones’ leadership team, among other University office administrators, to provide insight and advice regarding diversity and social justice issues as they relate to the University.

Garrick’s selection as vice chancellor comes after an extended nationwide search and a recruitment process that started last fall. 

Jones was seeking to hire someone for the VCDEI position by this past spring semester, but the search was extended. Four more candidates, including Garrick, were brought to campus in the spring, according to the News-Gazette

The new Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, previously known as the Office for Access and Equity, was established last summer in response to an external review of diversity at the University initiated by Jones in the spring of 2017. 

The external review team, composed of leaders from other universities, examined diversity projects and initiatives across campus and provided its recommendations for improvement.

The external review team recommended the chancellor to appoint a cabinet level VCDEI to enhance coordination, sustainability and accountability after it noted the decentralized nature of diversity efforts at the University.

“This lack of central structure, organization and clarity are the greatest impediments to efforts to build a more diverse University,” the 2017 report said.

Garrick previously served as an associate vice provost in the Office for Equity and Diversity at the University of Minnesota. He was also the director of the University of Minnesota Institute for Diversity, Equity and Advocacy, where he led efforts to engage faculty whose work focuses on marginalized populations. 

He was also a professor of mechanical engineering with a research focus on chemically reacting flows and particle formation and growth, according to the Illinois News Bureau.

Garrick’s appointment to his position was effective on Aug. 1. Garrick was also unavailable for an interview at time of publication. 

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