(AMHERST, Mass., May 25, 2023) — Amherst College today named Sheree M. Ohen its new chief equity and inclusion officer (CEIO). Ohen most recently served as associate dean for equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging at Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She will report to Amherst College President Michael A. Elliott and serve on his senior staff. Ohen will join the College on June 20.
“We are in a unique time in our country where values around diversity and democracy are being questioned,” said Ohen. “I am thrilled beyond words to join the Amherst College community–a place that is deeply committed to excellence, equity and inclusion for all members of our community across all dimensions of our diverse backgrounds, perspectives and experiences.”
“Sheree Ohen will bring vision, vitality and experience to her work here at Amherst College,” said Elliott. “She understands that inclusion and belonging are about more than numbers. They are about the lived experiences of our students, faculty and staff every day. She shares my commitment to cultivating a diverse academic community in which we can ask difficult questions of each other about what it means to educate students to play a meaningful role in a pluralist society. Fortunately, she will work with a talented team, and I’m grateful to the interim leaders who preceded her—Professor Allen Hart, Dean Angie Tissi-Gassoway and Professor Sheila Jaswal—who have led the office over the past few years. I also want to express my appreciation to the search committee, skillfully led by Pawan Dhingra, associate provost and professor, and Matt McGann, dean of admission and financial aid.”
Working closely with Elliott, as well as with faculty, staff and students, Ohen will provide vision and strategic direction to further shape the College’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) priorities, policies and programming. She will partner with colleagues to promote and incorporate equity, inclusion and accessibility across campus; support education and compliance around Title IX in particular and civil rights more generally; and embark on an assessment and evaluation of initiatives already in place at the College. In addition, she will lead the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’s (ODEI) staff members, who are leaders and experts in the work across Amherst’s campus. She will also work with the Board of Trustees, including its DEI committee, and engage alumni.
“The centrality of diversity, equity and inclusion with President Elliott’s vision of a liberal arts education is inspirational,” Ohen noted. “I am honored to step into this role to help build on the foundation and efforts already underway, and to shape and partner with others across the College to forge a strategic path for sustainable inclusive excellence that touches the lives, experiences and structures across the College.”
In her role at Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), Ohen helped found—and then managed and oversaw—the FAS’ Office for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, which supports a community of students, faculty and staff of more than 15,000 individuals. Her broad portfolio there involved leadership of a team of five professionals and two incoming fellows, management of a $1.5 million budget, institutional DEI oversight across the school, partnership building, policy development, diversity training and institutional accountability, and other institutional priorities. Highlights of her work include the launches of the FAS’ inaugural Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King Celebration and the Faculty Liaisons for Inclusive Excellence initiatives, and her engagement efforts related to the high-profile Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery report.
Prior to her tenure at Harvard, she served as the chief officer of diversity and inclusion at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.; campus diversity officer for staff and students in the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion; diversity and inclusion program manager in the University of California, San Francisco’s Office of Diversity and Outreach; and as an attorney specializing in criminal and employment law and civil rights litigation. She received a bachelor of arts from the University of California, Berkeley, and a law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law.