Brown chosen for new VP position

Kelly Petryszyn

Vice president’s job to focus on building diversity, inclusion

President Lester Lefton named Dr. Alfreda Brown the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the university’s Board of Trustees meeting yesterday. Brown will be the first person to hold this position at Kent State. She was named with a unanimous endorsement from the vice president’s search committee.

“This is a great moment for Kent State University,” said the Rev. Ronald Fowler, a member of the search committee and a chairman of Lefton’s Commission on Inclusion, a group that examines diversity at Kent State. “(Brown) brings a wealth of experiences both as an administrator and one who is deeply involved in the community. She will make a wonderful contribution to the university’s pursuit of inclusive excellence.”

Lefton described Brown as “charming” and “smart.”

“We are very lucky to have her at Kent State,” Lefton said. He added she had never lived anywhere else than Rochester, N.Y.

Brown held positions at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester since 1987. She served as interim chief diversity officer for three years and is currently the assistant dean of the College of Applied Arts and Science. She has also served as a chair at Rochester for the Commission for Promoting Pluralism that implemented and coordinated efforts contributing to a multi-cultural campus.

Fowler said Brown has several attributes that helped her stand out among the three other final candidates. He listed these qualities as her administrative experience, commitment to fulfilling diversity, scope of community engagement and knowledge of issues of student, success and retention.

She will start Oct. 1. Details of her contract are still being worked out. Fowler said her main areas of concern are the implementation of the diversity plan and submitting recommendations to the Commission on Inclusion.

Brown will take executive leadership and management of the university’s diversity and inclusion programs, according to a Kent State news release. This includes the Office of Diversity, Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, Student Multi-Cultural Center, Women’s Resource Center and pre-college programs.

Lefton created the position last year at the recommendation of the Commission on Inclusion. Fowler said appointing Brown as the first ever vice president for diversity at Kent State is a stride for the university.

“This means that Kent State has a first class administrator capable of taking the university to the next level of inclusive excellence,” Fowler said.

Contact diversity reporter Kelly Petryszyn at [email protected].