Faculty and administrators from a range of departments and colleges, including many faculty of color, as well as representatives of student organizations will assist in a nationwide search for MU’s next vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity.

Chancellor Alexander Cartwright unveiled the panel Tuesday in an email to faculty. Assigned to find a replacement for Kevin McDonald, the first vice chancellor for inclusion, the group is co-chaired by Pat Okker, dean of the College of Arts and Science, and Michael Middleton, a professor emeritus who served as interim UM System President following the 2015 campus protests over racial equity.

In the email, Cartwright said he hopes many more members of the campus community will be involved in the selection process.

“Shared governance and stakeholder input will be key to this search,” Cartwright wrote. “We will hold a search forum and other stakeholder listening sessions in the next few weeks. I look forward to expanded involvement from the entire campus community in these listening forums.”

The new vice chancellor will oversee the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, which includes offices and centers that promote social justice, equity and inclusion for marginalized students.

Those offices and centers are represented on the search committee, along with several student representatives: Kierra Jones, the president of Legion of Black Collegians; Jennifer Sutterer, president of the Missouri Students Association; and Alek Willsey, president of the Graduate Professional Council.

The committee will be aided in the search process by executive search firm Isaacson, Miller, Cartwright said in his email. More than 55% of the firm’s placements are women and/or people of color, according to its website. The firm has worked with higher education institutions extensively in the past.

McDonald, who left the university in July to take a similar position at the University of Virginia, held the position of both chief diversity officer for the entire UM System and the MU campus’s vice chancellor. Those two roles have now been separated, UM spokesperson Christian Basi confirmed.

Christine Holt currently serves as the interim chief diversity officer for the UM System. Since McDonald’s departure in July, NaTashua Davis has served as the interim vice chancellor at MU. She is also the executive director of MU’s Access and Leadership Development Unit within the Inclusion, Diversity and Equity division.

McDonald’s positions were created by the university following demands from Concerned Student 1950 in 2015. The group led campus protests that focused on racism and the treatment of people of color at MU as well as a lack of nonwhite faculty representation. In his dual roles, McDonald was responsible for the creation of MU’s first strategic diversity plan, the Inclusive Excellence Framework, which Cartwright referenced as “central to (MU’s) core missions of teaching, research and service.”

McDonald also introduced Men of Color, Honor and Ambition (MOCHA) and the female counterpart, WOCHA, student initiatives that provide leadership opportunities and professional development.

In his exit interview with the Missourian and KBIA, McDonald acknowledged that MU’s faculty representation and retention was a work in progress. Less than 4% of MU’s faculty is black, compared to 11% of Missouri’s population as a whole.

Here are the members of the search committee:


  • Pat Okker, dean, College of Arts and Science.
  • Michael Middleton, professor emeritus, former MU deputy chancellor and UM System interim president.


  • Hannah Clampitt, chair, Staff Advisory Council.
  • Chelsea Drake, coordinator, Multicultural Center.
  • Praveen Edara, professor and interim chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
  • Patty Haberberger, vice chancellor, Human Resource Services.
  • Andy Hayes, assistant vice chancellor for civil rights, Title IX and ADA.
  • Christine Holt, chief of staff and interim chief diversity officer, UM System.
  • Kierra Jones, president, Legion of Black Collegians.
  • Thomas Lambert, professor, School of Law.
  • April Langley, chair, Department of Black Studies.
  • Cristina Mislán, assistant professor, School of Journalism.
  • Jamille Palacios Rivera, assistant teaching professor, CAFNR.
  • Clark Peters, chair, Faculty Council.
  • Mohamed Shahin, accessibility and accommodations specialist.
  • William Stackman, vice provost for student affairs.
  • Jennifer Sutterer, president, Missouri Students Association.
  • Ajay Vinzé, dean, Trulaske College of Business.
  • Al Willsey, president, Graduate Professional Council.
  • Laine Young-Walker, associate dean for student programs, School of Medicine.
  • Higher education reporter at the Missourian. Reach me at galenbacharier@gmail.com and follow me on Twitter @galenbacharier.

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