According to Inside Higher Ed, Duke is seeking a new director for “Diversity and Equity,” whose task will be “to provide training and support diversity initiatives.”
An environment characterized by exemplary academic performance and high levels of employee productivity requires an organizational culture that sets clear expectations, provides appropriate support and engenders respect and dignity.
Engendering “respect and dignity,” presumably, would require not rushing to judgment based on students’ race, class, gender, or athletic status—through such initiatives as distributing “wanted” posters or 88 faculty members signing a denunciatory ad cited by the students' own attorneys as highly prejudicial.
The expectations include:
Provide consultation to senior leaders, managers and supervisors in designing and implementing department-wide and institution-wide changes to ensure diversity, equity and respect for all faculty, staff, students and patients.
Since President Brodhead has thrice defended the Group of 88’s statement—indeed, once going so far to describe the Group as professors who “signed a petition defending students who as minorities, felt threatened by the situation”—it would seem that respect for “all faculty, staff, students, and patients” will not be a priority of the new “diversity and equity” director.
The position has an academic component as well. The director is expected to “provide support, advice and consultation to Duke University departments in their efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion among undergraduate and graduate students.”
If the new director were to implement this task fairly, among his or her first assignments should be scheduling a seminar for the AAAS department on how sponsoring a denunciatory ad targeting a group of the school’s students does not enhance “inclusion.” Somehow, I doubt that will occur.
The job requirements:
Minimum requirement is a Masters degree in education, social work, psychology, business or a related field. Excellent interpersonal and cross-cultural communication and presentation skills. Outstanding listening, collaboration and team building skills. Proven capacity to analyze and implement diversity and inclusion strategies. Demonstrated skill in conflict resolution and problem-solving. Clear understanding of cross-cultural and diversity theory and practice. Sophisticated knowledge of organizational change formulations. Demonstrated ability to work effectively within a culturally diverse workforce and provide leadership in organizational change. Ability to focus on strategic goals and implement appropriate interventions.
In theory, of course, such a position is perfectly appropriate. But given the track record of the past 17 months, in which all students were not treated equally by some quarters of the faculty and administration based on their race, class, gender, or athletic status, it seems unlikely that the new director will treat all students equally.