Interview process begins for position of chief diversity officer

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The first of three candidates interviewed for the position of chief diversity and inclusion officer of Kansas State University, or CDIO, Thursday morning. Maurice Gipson, assistant vice chancellor and chief diversity officer at Arkansas State University, interviewed and presented for the position in an open forum in Forum Hall.

According to the K-State Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer position profile, the position “serves as a catalyst to leverage best practices and resources across Kansas State University’s campuses to promote a culture of inclusion” where all individuals “are able to thrive and be engaged.”

Gipson said his past experience makes him the right person for for the CDIO position, and the forum focused on how he would continue the discussion started by the KSUnite event.

“What I want to talk about today is why this was such a monumental shift for this institution, and how do we leverage what happened at this momentous occasion and make sure that everything we do after this will build upon it, not us recreating this experience again?” Gipson said.

Gipson said his plan would focus on three Rs and three Ls: recruit, retain and resources as well as listening, learning and leading.

Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students, said having a CDIO would benefit the reality of the K-State Family brand.

“It is significant that we have someone [at] the highest level of our university, who wakes up every single morning thinking about those who have little voice and helps us define family in a way that is inclusive,” Bosco said.

Stephen Kucera, student support director and graduate student in accounting, said he believes a CDIO could help K-State stand out among other universities.

“I think this is an important time in our university’s history, particularly when it comes to diversity issues,” Kucera said. “I think we need someone who can work on the issues currently being discussed right now, but also look into the future and figure out how we can be an industry leader in different diversity inclusion issues.”

The other candidates for the position are Gabrielle Malfatti, director of global engagement at the University of Missouri’s College of Education, and Bryan Samuel, director of the Office of Equity and Diversity at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. Malfatti will interview Dec. 6 at 9:45 a.m. in Town Hall at the Leadership Studies Building. Samuel will interview Dec. 7 at 2:30 p.m. in Wildcat Chamber located in the Student Union. Those interested are invited to attend or view an online stream on the university president’s website.

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