Illinois State University President Larry Dietz announced the creation of a new position to move diversity initiatives forward on campus, naming Professor Doris Houston as the interim assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion. She will begin her duties in July.
Working from the Office of the President, Houston will provide direction for university initiatives and collaborate with unit leaders across campus. “Dr. Houston’s long-time, stellar commitment to diversity and inclusion ensures Illinois State will advance the University’s values and accountability,” said President Dietz.
Houston currently serves as chair of the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council. She served as one of the leads of the Steering Committee for the recent Campus Climate Task Force. Houston has been with the University’s School of Social Work since 2005, and serves as the school’s interim director. She also serves as director of the Center for Child Welfare and Adoption Studies at Illinois State University. In 2017, Houston was named the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Administrative Fellow and also received the Outstanding College Service Award for the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2018, she was the recipient of the David A. Strand Diversity Achievement Award. She is the founder of Together Creating Community (TCC), a peer leadership network for foster care alumni and adoptees who attend Illinois State University.
The assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion will be responsible for collaborating with the University’s vice presidents on areas such as strategic plan development and implementation; faculty, staff, and student recruitment and retention; and professional development through a lens of diversity, inclusion, and social justice. The position will oversee the systematic review of the Campus Climate Implementation Task Force, and work as a liaison to the Diversity and Inclusion Council. The role will support centers and programs on campus geared toward populations that are underserved and connected through affinity groups.
“I am both honored and humbled to serve as interim assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion, which is one of Illinois State’s core values,” Houston said. “This position will provide the organizational leadership necessary to ensure that we foster a campus environment characterized by cultural responsiveness and a commitment to social justice, and I ask that each and every member of the campus community join us in these efforts.”
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