ODEI Hires DU's First Black Community Experience Coordinator
Andriette Jordan-Fields, PhD will start in the position in January 20, 2021
The 2020-2021 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Action Plan committed DU to specifically support the Black community. Part of that commitment was to hire a Black Community Experience Coordinator to work in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) to facilitate the University’s response to the systemic and institutional exclusion of Black people at DU. Today, ODEI would like to announce the hire of Dr. Andriette Jordan-Fields to fill this role.
The Black Community Experience Coordinator will immediately establish a Black Community Advisory (BCAB) Board comprised of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members to help set both accountability measures and priorities for DU. Along with the BCAB, the Black Community Experience Coordinator will come up with specific recommendations to:
- Address the lack of inclusive physical and social spaces for Black faculty, staff, and students
- Identify institutional and systematic remedies to address racial battle fatigue experienced by DU’s Black community in the classrooms, offices, and communal spaces
- Center Black Studies in DU curricular offerings and research and support for Black faculty
- Create a protocol for reflection, learning, and action programming around Black History Month and the Juneteenth Holiday
Dr. Jordan-Fields is a Womanist Ethicist and a graduate of the University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology joint PhD program. She earned her PhD in Religion and Theological Studies concentrating in Social Ethics. Her dissertation title is, “Why Does the Caged Bird Sing? A Phenomenological Analysis of the African American Clergywomen and Her Plight in Black Churches: An Ethical Dilemma”. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of ethics, womanist/feminist studies, Black Church, critical race theory, and postcolonial studies with an overall approach to the study of social ethics that engages wide-ranging issues of moral agency, cultural memory, ethical accountability, and social justice.
Dr. Jordan-Fields earned a Bachelors of Science in Political Science from Tuskegee University (Tuskegee, Ala.), a Masters of Public Administration from Northeastern University (Boston, MA), and Masters of Arts in Social Change from Iliff School of Theology (Denver, CO). In addition, she is a Denver 2019 HERS Institute graduate where she received transformational leadership development specifically for women in higher education.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail, April 16th, 1963
Reflecting on Dr. King's words and in response to what inspires her to this work, Dr. Jordan-Fields states, "I believe that we cannot allow the atrocities of injustices and murders of African American youth, women, and men such as Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tamir Rice, Elijah McClain, Nina Pop, Tony McDade and so many more to continue to go unchallenged. The systemic racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and hatred will continue to flourish if we silently standby. I believe it is our responsibility to stand for justice and equality for all because until we are all free from the 'isms' of the world, none of us are free. As Audre Lorde posited 'Our silence will not protect us…' "
One of Dr. Jordan-Fields's favorite pieces of artwork is by Leroy Campbell (right). This piece is in honor of her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. In the background, there are several photos of some of their powerful and prominent members.
Her favorite DEI book is by Carol Anderson, professor of African American studies at Emory University. In White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide (2016), Anderson provides a historical perspective from the post-Civil War Black codes to expressions of white rage after the election of America’s first black president. The author describes how every time African Americans advance toward full participation in our democracy, there’s has been a counter-response of relentless rage.