The University of Michigan is seeking community feedback on the role of chief diversity officer as the national search moves into full swing. Robert Sellers, who currently holds the position, has agreed to extend his tenure through the search process.

Earlier this year, Sellers announced he would step down at the end of the year to allow for “new leadership, new ideas, new energy and new perspectives” in the next phase of diversity, equity and inclusion planning. He has agreed to remain in his role as vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer through August 2022 to allow for an expanded search.

With the help of the national search firm Spelman Johnson, the committee is soliciting nominations for the VPEI-CDO position and asking the campus community to share thoughts on filling this critical role.

“We are seeking feedback on challenges and opportunities related to diversity, equity and inclusion and on important qualifications and attributes we should seek in a new VPEI-CDO,” said Professor Ketra Armstrong, who chairs the advisory committee appointed by the provost to guide the search process.

Armstrong is a University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor; professor of sport management and director of diversity equity and inclusion in the School of Kinesiology; and professor of women’s and gender studies in LSA.

“We value our community’s perspectives, welcome the feedback, and encourage everyone to share their input no later than Oct. 29,” she said.

Faculty, staff, students and alumni can share perspectives by completing an assessment that will be posted on the search’s website.

Community members also can nominate individuals they would like the committee to consider for the position by providing their names in the respective areas of the assessment tool or by contacting Armstrong directly at no later than Dec. 10.

“Nominations will continue to be considered as much as possible until the position is filled,” she said.

The search for the next VPEI-CDO comes at a pivotal time as this fall the university will begin engaging in the evaluation process at both the unit and university level of DEI 1.0 — the university’s initial diversity, equity and inclusion five-year strategic plan. The process will be followed by a yearlong cross-campus engagement period for the university’s next DEI strategic plan, DEI 2.0.

The VPEI-CDO is a senior leadership role that serves at the helm of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which includes the Office of Academic Multicultural Affairs, Center for Educational Outreach, Wolverine Pathways, ODEI business support team, DEI development team, and the evaluation and assessment team.

This article originally appeared in the October 8, 2021 edition of The University Record