Dear Members of the Campus Community,

I am very pleased to announce that Professor Assata Zerai has accepted the position of Associate Chancellor for Diversity pending approval by the Board of Trustees. She will begin this new role in the Office of the Chancellor on August 16. Professor Zerai’s faculty home is the Department of Sociology and she currently serves as associate dean in the Graduate College and as the director of the Center for African Studies.

Professor Zerai is an accomplished scholar whose interdisciplinary research focuses on strategies for promoting the voices of marginalized groups and improving inclusion. Professor Zerai has demonstrated a career-long commitment to diversity initiatives and an ability to foster constructive dialogue, build trust, and establish ongoing communication structures to enhance partnerships.  In 2015, she was recognized for her campus work as a recipient of the Larine Y. Cowan “Make a Difference Award for Leadership in Diversity.”

In her new role, Professor Zerai will work collaboratively with faculty, staff, students, community groups, and the Office of the Provost to develop and lead a comprehensive and actionable campus diversity strategy for the campus. I am confident that Professor Zerai will provide dynamic leadership across and beyond the university community to further our diversity, equity, and inclusion missions. 

I am grateful to the search committee, chaired by Professor Kevin Hamilton, for identifying a very strong pool of candidates.

Please join me in congratulating Assata Zerai on her new role!



Barbara J. Wilson
Interim Chancellor

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