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UM system announces first ever Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

University of Missouri System Interim President MichaelMiddletonannounced the hiring of Dr. Kevin McDonald as the UM System’s first ever Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer (CDO) Wednesday.

The appointment of this position, effectiveJune 1, meets one of the eight initiativesannouncedby the UM Board of Curators in November.

“Dr. McDonald’s extensive background and expertise in diversity and inclusion efforts, specifically across the higher education realm, makes him the perfect fit for this crucial role,” Middleton said. “Inclusion is vital to the success of all our students, staff and faculty. The UM System will benefit immensely from his experience as he plans to foster more inclusive campus environments that embody a true culture of respect.”

The CDO appointment was one of several initiatives prioritized by the Board of Curators to address diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the university system. These initiatives include conducting a full review of organizational policies in conjunction with a diversity audit, establishing a systemwide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force to develop long- and short-term plans and metrics, and providing support for the hiring and retention of diverse faculty and staff. This appointment will support these initiatives systemwide and establish accountability and metrics.

“As one of the state’s largest employers and the academic home to nearly 78,000 students, it is critical that the UM System prioritize its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts to align with and to keep abreast of best practices and current trends across all industries. In doing this, we have a real opportunity to serve as a national leader among higher education institutions,” Middleton said.

As UM System CDO, McDonald will work to identify and address organizational and systemic issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion within the larger context of the university enterprise. This includes implementing policies and best practices in operational areas including human resources, finance and academic affairs. He will serve as an adviser to the UM System president and general officers to implement diversity efforts with leaders across the system, oversee collaborative projects with the four campuses and health care, and develop programs to affect lasting institutional changes. McDonald’s starting salary is $235,000.

Prior to this role, McDonald served as the vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion at Rochester Institution of Technology (RIT) where he committed himself to making excellence inclusive in every aspect of organizational functioning. Previously, he was vice president for equity and inclusion at Virginia Tech where he developed a significant track record of contributions toward the university’s equity, diversity and inclusion goals. He has also served in compliance roles at John Hopkins University and University of Maryland in College Park after working for Network Solutions, Inc. and the US Department of Justice early in his career.

McDonald received his doctoral degree in Higher Education Leadership from the University of Rochester and holds a juris doctor from The Ohio State University as well as a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Andrews University. He also holds certifications with the Cornell Diversity & Inclusion Studies Program and is a certified mediator in three primary mediation models.

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