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Search Update: VC for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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Jeremy Haefner

News  •

Dear DU Community,

I write to share with you an update on the search for a new Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. I want you to know that despite the current COVID-19 realities, I remain undeterred in my commitment to diversity and inclusion at the University of Denver and to continue moving forward with this strategic priority even while we are physically distancing from one another. 

We welcomed three finalists for this position to campus earlier this year. Each of the finalists we met brought strong credentials, but after receiving robust and insightful feedback from all constituencies across campus—faculty, students and staff alike—we did not receive a clear consensus on which of them could meet the needs of our community. The feedback was illuminating not only in terms of the candidate pool, but perhaps more importantly, in clarifying what we need to be looking for at DU and what our aspirations are for this position. As a result, it became clear to me that we should keep searching for this position until we find a candidate who is a better fit for DU and embodies the qualities and experience that all of our stakeholder groups want and need in this role.

It is in the spirit of listening, honoring and valuing the perspectives of our community members that I have asked the search committee to suspend the search for now. The committee recognizes that we will still be searching for a strong faculty candidate with a strong background in diversity, equity and inclusion work, and we will restart the search early in the fall quarter.

In preparation for a restart this fall, we have several things to accomplish between now and then:

  • Query the current search committee to determine who will be able to continue serving on the search and fill any openings that may occur;
  • Recruit undergraduate and graduate students to serve on the committee;
  • Work with the search firm and search committee to modify the job description to ensure it is more reflective of the feedback received from all of our stakeholders; and
  • Authorize the search firm to begin recruiting with the new guidance in mind.

There is one other important topic that arises because of this decision. Although I made a valiant effort to extend Art Jones’ tenure as Interim Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and to continue as chair of the search committee, I am deeply respectful that Art wishes to resume and enjoy his retirement and his family more fully. I hope you will join me in celebrating Art’s retirement and expressing gratitude for his leadership during this time. 

Consequently, I am seeking nominations for internal candidates to fill the interim vice chancellor position starting July 1, 2020. If you would like to nominate an individual that can work across each of our constituent groups and can advance our diversity, equity and inclusion aspirations, please email me at by April 17, 2020. 

I am very grateful to both Art and Laura Maresca, who co-chaired the search, and to all of the members of the committee* for their superb and patient work. The wisdom and grace they brought to this process has been truly remarkable. I want to emphasize, in no uncertain terms, how important this senior leadership role is for DU’s future. I am very optimistic that when we restart the search in the fall, we will succeed in matching DU’s aspirations and needs to our next chief diversity officer. 

We will not rest until we fill this vital position.

Jeremy Haefner

*Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Search Committee

Art Jones, co-chair, Interim Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Laura Maresca, co-chair, Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Inclusive Community
Ann Ayers, Dean of the Colorado Women’s College
Nashwa Bolling, Associate Dir. for Budget, Research and Analysis, Office of Financial Aid
Paul Chan, Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and General Counsel
Roberto Corrada, Chair in Modern Learning and Professor, Sturm College of Law
Allana Forte, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment
Michele Hanna, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Social Work
Valentina Iturbe-LaGrave, Director of Inclusive Teaching
Lisa Martinez, Professor, Department of Sociology and Criminology
Greg Moore, Trustee
Chris Nelson, Assistant Professor, Morgridge College of Education
Lili Rodriguez, Vice Chancellor for Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence
Robert Willis, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Deputy AD for Community Engagement