The Appointment of Dr. Lisa M. Coleman as NYU’s First Chief Diversity Officer

Date: Thursday, May 4, 2017
To: THE NYU COMMUNITY
From: NYU President Andrew Hamilton


I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Lisa M. Coleman as Senior Vice President for Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation and NYU's inaugural Chief Diversity Officer. Dr. Coleman will start in her position in September 2017.

Diversity is a priority for me. Accordingly, Dr. Coleman will report to me directly and be part of the Senior Leadership Team.  Working closely as well with Provost Katherine Fleming, she will lead the development and implementation of a strategic plan to systematically advance equity, diversity, and inclusion across all NYU schools and units.

Our efforts to create a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive NYU did not start today. Over the years, many faculty, students, and administrators have devoted time, energy, and resources and have tirelessly urged the university to do more to change our policies, our practices, and even our culture. All of our efforts to advance these issues build on their dedication, foresight, and perseverance, and I thank them. Most recently, the University Senate Ad Hoc Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, which will release its report next week, has developed recommendations that will provide a roadmap as Lisa Coleman assumes her new role.

The search committee – co-chaired by Provost Fleming and Deputy Chief of Staff Tracey Gardner – received more than 100 applications; the number and caliber of applicants attest to the importance of this role and our potential to be a leading institution in this area.
      
Lisa Coleman stood out among this highly accomplished group.  She has a strong record at her previous posts.  She already knows and understands NYU well, having received her doctorate here.  And her scholarly background gives her an unusual expertise and insight that will benefit NYU's efforts. But more even than these important qualities, what distinguished Dr. Coleman most was her character: her forthright nature; her wisdom; her impeccable moral compass; her ability to connect with students, faculty, administrators, and staff; her energy; and her evident desire and ability to bring people together.
   
Dr. Coleman comes to NYU from Harvard, where she has served as the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer and Special Assistant to the President since 2010. During her time at Harvard, she led several initiatives to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion across schools and departments, including expanding the offerings and reach of the Disability Services office there. Before joining Harvard, Dr. Coleman worked in a similar capacity at Tufts University from 2007 to 2010, where she was responsible for developing a strategic approach for inclusive excellence, as well as working closely with senior administrators to support platforms promoting diversity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives. Prior to becoming Tufts' first senior diversity officer, she directed the Africana Studies Program there and taught in American Studies, English, and Women's Studies.  

Dr. Coleman earned her B.A. from Denison University in Granville, Ohio; three master's degrees from the Ohio State University; and, as I noted earlier, her Ph.D. from NYU. In addition to her administrative duties, Dr. Coleman expects to offer a course in her field from time to time.      
                      
I thank all of the members of the NYU community who shared their thoughts, guidance, and feedback about this critical new position. I also thank the search committee – and especially its chairs – for their diligent and successful efforts, which enabled us to attract such a stellar scholar and practitioner. I am confident that with Dr. Coleman's partnership and leadership, we will achieve the kind of demonstrable progress of which we all will be proud.

We will be arranging for a number of opportunities to meet Dr. Coleman in the fall, when she joins our community. In the meantime, please join me in welcoming her back to NYU and wishing her well as she takes on this important assignment.