LAWRENCE — Veteran educator Fred Rodriguez has been named the University of Kansas’ first-ever vice provost for diversity and equity.
Rodriquez has served as interim associate vice provost for diversity and equity since April 2009. The position has been elevated from associate vice provost to vice provost in recognition of the importance of the university’s mission of creating a diverse community of scholars.
“In visiting with members of the KU community over the past year, many suggested the creation of a vice provost for diversity and equity position,” said KU Provost Jeffrey Vitter. “We’re excited to elevate the status of this position, and we couldn’t ask for a better person to assume the role than Fred. We look forward to Fred’s continued leadership and expertise in making KU a more diverse and inclusive community.”
Rodriguez’ new role will largely resemble his previous role as interim associate vice provost, with some additional duties. As vice provost, Rodriguez will report directly to the Provost’s Office and focus on the recruitment, retention and development of under-represented faculty, staff and students, as well as on the overall climate of diversity and equity at the Lawrence and Edwards campuses.
KU has increased multicultural student enrollment each year since 2002. The 2009 and 2010 incoming freshman classes both set all-time high marks for diversity. And in 2010, the university had the most diverse student body in KU history, with 14.4 percent of students identifying as American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian, African-American, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander or multiple ethnicities. That was up from 12.8 percent in 2009.
Rodriguez’ specific responsibilities will include: university leadership and planning oversight for diversity and equity; fostering a supportive university climate for faculty, staff and students that values and supports inclusiveness and diversity; development of active links with the community and alumni groups in support of campus diversity and equity; coordination of the efforts of diversity and multicultural initiatives; and development of evaluation methods and implementation of systems of accountability to promote diversity programs and plans.
Under his leadership as interim associate vice provost for diversity and equity, the university adopted a formal policy statement on diversity and inclusion in fall 2010; launched a Spanish-language version of the KU website; elevated the status of the Langston Hughes Visiting Professorship; established the first-ever Spring Symposium on the Scholarship of Diversity; and established two monthly e-newsletters – Diversity Outlook and La Visión.
An associate professor in the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Teaching, Rodriguez also serves as director of both the Multicultural Scholars Program and the Professional Development Schools Alliance.
Rodriguez has held a number of administrative positions in the School of Education, including interim dean from 2004 to 2005. He was director of the Center for Teaching Excellence from 1997 to 2001.
Rodriguez earned his bachelor’s degree from Chadron State College before going on to earn his master’s and doctorate from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.
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