UW Tacoma’s lengthy search for a new assistant chancellor for Equity and Inclusion is coming to a close this month. Beginning in spring of 2017, a comprehensive search to fill the position included input from students, faculty, staff and administrators.

The university was tasked with filling the position when the previous assistant chancellor for Equity and Inclusion retired last winter after a decade of service. Chancellor Mark Pagano formed a search committee to assist him in finding a suitable candidate to represent the entirety of UWT.

Out of four candidates in December, only two remained by January — James McShay and TaJuan Wilson. Each candidate visited campus for two days — McShay Jan. 11-12 and Wilson Jan. 18-19.The candidates participated in events with students, faculty, staff and administrators.

Students had the opportunity to meet and interact with each candidate through a public presentation and separate student forum. Attendees were able to ask questions directly of each candidate.

For students who were unable to attend, these two events were recorded and posted online. Feedback surveys and information about each candidate were also available online for multiple days following their visits. The surveys will be used by the search committee to aid in the final decision.

According to Pagano, at the early stage of the search he wanted to know what various groups were looking for in a new ACEI.

Recognizing that UWT’s diversity has grown each fall, Pagano said the new ACEI must be fully dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion at the university.

The new assistant chancellor will also be part of UWT’s leadership team and will serve as the supervisor for the director of the Center for Equity and Inclusion.

“We are looking for someone to help us navigate the issues that can arise when we have a diverse student body located in a diverse community,” Pagano said.

The individual chosen for this leadership role will spearhead the university’s strategic goal of equity found in UWT’s Charting Our Course: UW Tacoma’s Strategic Plan 2016-2021 — to “promote and model equity, inclusion and social justice.”

While the final decision lies with Chancellor Pagano, the search committee is designed to deliberate over the search process, conduct interviews and ultimately pass on recommendations to Pagano.

The search committee consists of 15 members representing every major group at UWT — students, faculty, staff and administrators. There are four student representatives on the committee — including Arwa Dubad, president of Associated Students of UW Tacoma.

Dubad said one of her priorities was to make the search accessible to all students.

“I was really pushing for a student forum,” Dubad said.

By also putting the forums and surveys online, Dubad wanted to allow all students to participate.

“My hope is that whoever comes into this position can do it well and speak for students,” Dubad said.

The committee sent their recommendations to Chancellor Pagano Jan. 26 and a decision will be made in the near future.

PHOTO BY MEILING SPROGER
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