Worthington leaves post of chief diversity officer

He will take a leave of absence fall semester to focus on national positions.
Roger Worthington

Roger Worthington will leave his post as chief diversity officer and assistant deputy chancellor for diversity at the end of the summer in order to focus on his national positions in diversity-related organizations.

Worthington became chief diversity officer in 2006. MU spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken said there are no immediate plans to fill the position. Deputy Chancellor Mike Middleton, who is also supervisor of the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative, will wait until the fall semester to determine whether to hire a replacement.

“Professor Middleton just received word that Dr. Worthington is stepping down, so he will take a little time to assess whether he needs to hire a replacement,” Banken said.

After taking a leave of absence for the fall semester, Worthington will return as a full-time professor in the College of Education in spring 2012.

Worthington was recently appointed editor of the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education and chairman of the Difficult Dialogues National Resource Center.

In 2005, Worthington was chairman of the committee that wrote the Report of the Task Force for Campus Climate and Training, a strategic plan outlining for MU’s diversity initiative. In his resignation letter, he said that he had achieved much of what the report outlined.

“It has become apparent that the vast majority of tasks within the initial charge of my appointment as CDO have been addressed,” he said. “At the same time, there are new and expanding opportunities on the national level to advance my career trajectory.”

Since becoming chief diversity officer, Worthington’s main initiatives have been the campus climate study, which evaluated how students perceived the climate for diversity at MU, and the Difficult Dialogues program, a program fostering open-minded discussion between students of different backgrounds. Worthington will continue to work with these programs throughout the summer and upon his return.

“The deputy chancellor has committed funding for both of those pieces for me to carry out that work,” Worthington said.

In his resignation letter, Worthington said he is willing to continue work on MU’s diversity initiatives.

“I remain committed to the ongoing advancement of institutional goals toward greater diversity and inclusive excellence at MU,” he said. “I invite you to call on me if I can be of service in the work ahead.”

Other faculty members involved in the diversity initiative will work to continue Worthington’s programs.

“There are other staff members that are involved in those efforts,” Banken said. “They will remain in place and will report to Mike Middleton. Diversity remains a top priority for the university.”

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