The University of Wyoming hired its first ever chief diversity officer Friday to head up a diversity council, craft a strategic plan for greater diversity at UW and serve as an adviser for the Shepard Symposium on Social Justice, Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Dialogue and related events.
Emily Monago, current director for the office of multicultural affairs at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, will begin her duties as UW chief diversity officer July 17.
“During her interview, the campus responded positively to her knowledge of diversity, her ideas about deepening diversity efforts on our campus and her overall style,” UW President Laurie Nichols said. “I think she will be a great fit for us and will take our diversity planning, education and programming to a new level.”
Former UW President Dick McGinity established the position in November 2015 — despite a hiring freeze in place at the time — saying it was necessary to recruit students, faculty and staff, to be competitive as an institution and produce alumni with strong leadership skills.
“As the only land grant institution in Wyoming, the university must have a strong commitment to diversity,” McGinity wrote in a news release. “It must be embedded in our DNA and supported throughout our institution.”
UW Board of Trustees also approved the promotion of former associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students Sean Blackburn to vice president for student affairs, replacing Sara Axelson, who is retiring.
As vice president, Blackburn said he and his office will focus on growing enrollment, student engagement and student success.
“We want every student who enrolls at UW to have the opportunity to be successful and have access to the right services and assistance along the way,” he said.
Blackburn takes on his new role at a time when money is tight at UW. The Division of Student Affairs had to cut $300,000 from its annual budget for the next fiscal year for its part of the $5.9 million in reductions allocated to specific divisions of the university.
“We find ourselves in tough budget times,” Blackburn said. “We’ll need to be more innovative and manage our resources carefully. We’ll need to grow partnerships across campus and maintain strong working relationships with the enrollment units in Academic Affairs.”
Blackburn began his new duties Tuesday.
A transition plan is in the works, but Blackburn said he anticipates conducting a search for the next dean of students.