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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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UW Colleges, Extension gets new diversity officer

A University of Wisconsin System official appointed the new chief officer of diversity for UW Colleges and Extension yesterday, charging him with continuing to build and establish cross-cultural relationships and an environment of diversity across UW System institutions.

UW Colleges and Extension Chancellor David Wilson appointed Stephan Gilchrist — currently the director of Institutional Diversity at Wells College in New York — to the role.?

“He is to provide leadership to help UW Colleges and Extension to become more diverse, coordinate efforts that foster diversity and develop and deliver curriculum and communication around diversity,” said Malcolm Brett, director of Broadcasting and Media Innovations, who led the search and screen committee that began meeting in May.?

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He added Gilchrist will be in charge of making sure UW Colleges follows the law in regard to affirmative action and equal opportunity employment.

“The first thing I would like to do is understand the context and cultures of the institutions,” Gilchrist said. “When I have a better understanding of those needs I will be able to identify specific initiatives and programs.”

Brett said 35 applicants applied for the position and based on their resumes and a statement given on diversity, four finalists were brought in to be interviewed.

Brett said the committee was looking for someone with the ability to work in a human resources environment and who had experience in conflict resolution. He also sought someone with a background in fostering diversity and multiculturalism within a complex institution and knowledge of legal requirements.?

“One thing he said that impressed me and many other people on the committee, was that if he did his job really well, eventually his job would be eliminated,” Brett said. “I think he has a wonderful vision for how diversity and multiculturalism enhance not only an organization, but a community.”

Gilchrist said he accepted the position because he feels UW has a great reputation for higher education, and he is very excited to be able to work statewide.

“In my perspective, [diversity] is not limited to race, religion or sexual orientation,” Gilchrist said.?

He said diversity includes people of diverse experiences and the key is to make an inclusive environment where everyone can participate.?

Gilchrist will begin as chief officer Feb. 15, 2010.

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