UM System announces first-ever chief diversity officer

Dr. Kevin McDonald previously served as vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Kevin McDonald is the UM System’s first chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer and will begin his role June 1, interim UM System President Mike Middleton announced Wednesday.

McDonald’s hiring is part of a series of initiatives the UM System put forth after a historic fall that included the resignations of UM System President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. Other initiatives include taking a review and diversity audit of the system’s policies relating to staff and student conduct and creating a task force to further inclusion and diversity for the system’s almost 78,000 students. The task force initiative is already underway.

“Dr. McDonald’s extensive background and expertise in diversity and inclusion efforts, specifically across the higher education realm, makes him the perfect fit for this crucial role,” Middleton said in a news release. “Inclusion is vital to the success of all our students, staff and faculty. The UM System will benefit immensely from his experience as he plans to foster more inclusive campus environments that embody a true culture of respect.”

According to the release, McDonald will be working with UM System departments including human resources, finance and academic affairs to ensure diversity, inclusion and equity among the entire system. He will also serve as an adviser to Middleton and other officers throughout the UM System, implementing diversity efforts and overseeing collaborative projects to create long lasting institutional changes. McDonald’s starting salary is $235,000.

McDonald previously served as vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion at Rochester Institute of Technology. He also served as vice president for equity and inclusion at Virginia Tech and in compliance roles at John Hopkins University and University of Maryland-College Park, after working for Network Solutions, Inc. and the U.S. Department of Justice early in his career.

When he visited campus in February, McDonald spoke to students at a public forum held in the Old Alumni Center as part of the selection process. He discussed meeting the demands of Concerned Student 1950 with a strategic plan, resources and patience. He also said he would take into consideration the demands issued by the Legion of Black Collegians in 1969.

Edited by Hailey Stolze | hstolze@themaneater.com

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