The Office of the Provost has taken the first step toward filling the university’s position of vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, following Robert Sellers’ announcement that he will step down from the role at the end of the year.

Sellers, who has been with the university for 28 years, became vice provost for equity, inclusion and academic affairs in 2014 and chief diversity officer in 2016. He will return to his faculty position in LSA’s Department of Psychology.

“We thank Rob, and the entire DEI community for all they have done and continue to do to make the University of Michigan the kind of community we all want it to be,” said Provost Susan M. Collins.

In the fall, Sellers and his team in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will share findings from the final year of DEI 1.0 — the university’s initial diversity, equity and inclusion five-year strategic plan — and announce the beginning of a yearlong evaluation process and then a yearlong plan engagement period for the university’s next DEI strategic plan, DEI 2.0.

“It is time for me to step aside and make way for new leadership, new ideas, new energy and new perspectives,” Sellers said. “The university’s DEI efforts are a perpetual work in progress, and we are committed to this never-ending journey of continuous improvement to become more diverse, more equitable and more inclusive.”

The position is posted on the provost’s website and is open to all tenured faculty members on the Ann Arbor campus. Collins said her office and President Mark Schlissel will work with U-M’s DEI community, including the DEI implementation leads, to consider candidates.

“It truly takes each one of us to raise up the work of diversity, equity and inclusion at a place as big and dispersed as the University of Michigan,” she said. “We expect that the next generation of leadership in this area will be eager to leverage all we have put in place and all we have learned to speed up our forward motion into DEI 2.0.”

According to the posting, the next person to fill this position will be an overall leadership voice on diversity, equity and inclusion for the university, be a principal adviser to the president, and will serve as a member of the university’s executive leadership team. 

This senior leadership role serves at the helm of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which comprises the Office of Academic Multicultural Affairs, Center for Educational Outreach, Wolverine Pathways, ODEI business support team, DEI development team, and evaluation and assessment team.

It will also lead the implementation, general oversight and ongoing evaluation of U-M’s DEI Strategic Plan and maintain new and existing programs in the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs that support DEI efforts involving faculty, students and staff.

The position reports directly to the provost but will also meet regularly with the president.

Those who wish to express interest in serving in this role should submit a letter of interest and their curriculum vitae to VPEICDO.search@umich.edu by May 30. The selected candidate will begin this multiyear, full-time, year-round role Jan. 1, 2022.

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