OSU president seeking input from university community to choose interim vice president, chief diversity officer

Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Charlene Alexander posing for a portrait. Alexander will be leaving her position on Sept. 17 and returning to Ball State University to fill their chief strategy officer position.

Cara Nixon, News Contributor

Oregon State University Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Charlene Alexander will be leaving her position on Sept. 17, and Interim OSU President Becky Johnson is enlisting the help of students, faculty and staff to fill the interim position. 

Alexander announced her departure in early July. She will be returning to Ball State University to fill their chief strategy officer position. Before she came to OSU in 2017, Alexander served as a professor for 16 years and then as associate provost for diversity and interim associate vice president for community engagement for four years at Ball State. 

“While at OSU, Charlene has contributed remarkably to the university by leading the creation and development of the Office of Institutional Diversity,” Johnson said in a message sent to the OSU community on July 7. “Students, faculty and staff of color and all members of the university community have benefitted from Charlene’s contributions, leadership, care and compassion.”

Alexander told Johnson she is “confident” about the path OSU is currently on and “very pleased” with how the community has responded to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. 

Johnson, in an email to the OSU community sent out on July 22, said her intention is to have chosen an interim vice president and chief diversity officer by Sept. 17 and then launch a national search for a permanent individual in the fall. 

“Oregon State University continues to engage in work to end systemic racism and support the long-term success of all students, faculty and staff of color,” Johnson said. 

According to Vice President of University Relations and Marketing Steve Clark, Johnson will determine specific desired qualifications and characteristics for the new vice president and chief diversity officer after receiving input from OSU students, faculty, staff and stakeholders. 

“OSU’s vice president and chief diversity officer is an engaged leader who works with colleagues, students and stakeholders throughout Oregon State University and Oregon to help plan, lead and implement diversity, equity and inclusion actions and initiatives throughout OSU,” Clark explained in an email. “This work and position are essential in advancing OSU’s work to advance equity, diversity, inclusion, success and social justice for all involved in the university.”

An interim vice president and chief diversity officer will begin serving on Sept. 18, according to Clark, and then a search for a permanent person to fill the role will be conducted throughout the 2021-2022 academic year. 

In the email sent out to OSU, Johnson said she is seeking input from community members for the interim search. An open discussion regarding this topic will be taking place on Wednesday, Aug. 18 from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. via Zoom. An online survey will also be available until Aug. 20.