Norm Jones, associate chief diversity officer and deputy director at Harvard University, has been selected to be Amherst College’s chief diversity and inclusion officer beginning July 15, President Biddy Martin announced today.
"Norm brings experience and sophistication to our important and ongoing work of building an intellectual community that embraces diversity of people and points of view," said Martin. "Amherst long ago committed itself to educational opportunity for the most talented students from all backgrounds and to a more diverse staff and faculty. Achieving all our goals requires leadership and focus. Norm brings both."
In his role as CDIO, Jones will to report to Martin and serve as a member of her senior staff, contributing to strategic College discussions and planning. He will work closely with the dean of the faculty, academic departments and the chief human resources officer to help identify policies and practices that support the recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty and staff. He will also collaborate with students, human resources, the advancement staff, the Office of Student Affairs and other critical campus partners to strengthen opportunities for dialogue and create a more vibrant, inclusive and cohesive campus climate for students, faculty and staff.
Jones’ other objectives include:
- Providing strategic leadership on diversity and inclusion
- Supporting curriculum content and pedagogy around issues of inclusion and diversity
- Improving faculty recruitment, development and retention programs
- Creating a culture of assessment and evaluation of diversity and inclusion initiatives
- Serving as a well-connected and collaborative campus partner
- Embracing his role as Amherst’s diversity expert
“I’m very excited about joining the Amherst community, a community that is rich with possibilities and opportunities to create increasingly inclusive spaces,” he said. “I look forward to working alongside faculty, staff and students to attend to the unique and nuanced needs of many different groups, and to advance the important diversity and inclusion work of the College.”
At Harvard, Jones created an office of diversity and inclusion, contributed to a university-wide strategic plan for diversity recruiting, streamlined and eliminated inefficiencies in business processes in his department, and served as a mentor for managers in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences Mentoring Program, among other things. Prior to that, he worked at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., for nearly 13 years. He was first hired there as director of student development, and rose through the ranks to associate vice president and dean of institutional diversity.
He has also served over the years as a consultant on many outside projects, collaborating with such high-profile organizations as Salisbury Behavioral Health, Inc.; the Greater Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce; Payne Theological Seminary; Ahold USA, Inc.; Carlisle Regional Medical Center, and many other public and private sector organizations. He has served as a guest lecturer and presenter for the American Council on Education, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, National Association of Black School Educators, Association of American Colleges and Universities, Philadelphia Futures and the Posse Foundation.
“Norm will be a terrific addition to our community,” said Catherine Epstein, dean of the faculty and co-chair of the search committee for the position. “His strategic mindset and data-driven decision-making will help us create a more inclusive environment for faculty, students and staff, and, as a result, help us achieve a better Amherst. I very much look forward to partnering with him to further diversify the faculty.”
Fellow search committee co-chair and Dean of Students Alex Vasquez was likewise enthusiastic about Jones’ hiring. “Norm’s energy, depth of experience, and enthusiasm for both the personal work and the strategic work that the College must engage in to move forward is inspiring,” he said. “I know that Norm will help the College take incredible steps forward within our community, and I’m excited to partner with him in that work.”
In addition to Epstein and Vasquez, the search committee for the CDIO position included Servet Bayimli ’16; Rhonda Cobham-Sander, the Emily C. Jordan Folger Professor of Black Studies and English; David Cox, the William J. Walker Professor of Mathematics; Allen Hart ’82, the James E. Ostendarp Professor of Psychology; Mandy Hart, associate dean of admission/coordinator of diversity outreach; Luis Hernandez, director of IT support services; Rachel Nghe ’16; Franklin Odo, the John J. McCloy ’16 Professor of American Institutions and International Diplomacy; Lisa Rutherford, chief policy officer/general counsel; Miu Suzuki ’16; Angie Tissi-Gassoway, director of the Queer Resource Center; and Kevin Weinman, chief financial and administrative officer. The firm Isaacson, Miller assisted with the search process.
Jones has served on several boards and community organizations, including the Carlisle Area Health and Wellness Foundation, the United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County, the Holistic Hands Community Development Corp., the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and the Art Association of Harrisburg. Most recently, he served as vice chair of the Organization Development Network, the nation’s largest membership association dedicated to advancing the theory and practice of organization development and change.
Jones holds a Ph.D. in workforce education and development and a master’s degree in public administration from Pennsylvania State University, as well as a B.A. degree in English and linguistics from Morehouse College in Atlanta. His hobbies include running, swimming, reading African-American autobiographies and woodwork.