Chuck Henson announced as interim vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity

Henson is currently the associate dean for academic affairs and trial practice in the MU School of Law.
Portrait of Chuck Henson. Photo courtesy MU News Bureau

Chuck Henson was appointed as the interim vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity by MU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Garnett Stokes on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

Henson is currently the associate dean for academic affairs and trial practice in the School of Law. His appointment is effective immediately, according to an email sent to students Tuesday.

Henson's appointment comes a day after the UM System Board of Curators announced several diversity initiatives for both the UM System and MU. However, the position was created Oct. 8. The curators announced the initiatives after Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigned, effective Jan. 1. Earlier that day, UM System President Tim Wolfe also resigned.

Henson acknowledged that these tensions will not be easily resolved, nor will the amount of progress on the issue following the creation of the curators’ diversity initiatives be easily measured.

“I hope that a measurement for progress will be that people continue to talk to each other, that they’re happy and willing to talk to me,” Henson said.

Part of Henson’s role will be to assist in increasing the percentage of diverse faculty and staff at MU.

"The reality is that to be focused on the percentage at the end of a set period of time is super difficult,” Henson said. “Even if our processes are fantastic, people may well decide not to come to University of Missouri. So we can take responsibility for improving processes and hope that ultimately, 10 or 20 years from now...people accept those offers and come to the University of Missouri.”

In his new position, Henson will report directly to Stokes.

“We’re pleased that Professor Henson has agreed to serve in this very important and crucial role at our university,” Stokes said in a news release. “We’re looking forward to working with him as we continue to make Mizzou an inclusive and welcoming community for everyone who teaches, works and studies here.”

Henson, who has worked at MU since 2009, has served as an adjunct professor, visiting professor of law and trial practice professor of law, according to Stokes’ email. He was an honoree at the 27th Annual Lloyd Gaines Scholarship Banquet, and he also received the Graduate Professional Council’s 2014 Gold Chalk Award and the Division of Student Affairs Excellence in Education Award.

Henson currently teaches Pretrial Litigation, Trial Practice and Advanced Trial Practice in the School of Law. Previously, he has taught Client Interviewing and Counseling, Lawyering, Employment Discrimination and Professional Responsibility.

According to the email, Henson’s studies focuses on Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

Before working at MU, Henson served as an assistant attorney general and the assistant general counsel for human resources in the Missouri Attorney General’s office. He was a vice president at Adelphia Communications, and he also worked in a private law practice in Colorado. He is a licensed lawyer in both Missouri and Colorado.

Henson received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University in economics and political science and his law degree from Georgetown University.

“This isn’t something that can be automatically fixed,” he said. “It took time for it to get this way. So we’re auditing our resources on campus, we’re reviewing current programs, and we’re working on having relationships, which will require a lot of listening.”

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