First Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chosen

October 9, 2020

Kay SandersWhittier College has selected Professor of Education and Child Development Kay Sanders to serve as the inaugural Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

"Kay brings exceptional qualifications to this position, including her scholarly area of expertise, prior administrative work, experience providing anti-bias training, and service on the Faculty Personnel Committee," said sal johnstron, vice president of academic affairs (VPAA) and dean of faculty.

Sander’s professional and scholarly work focuses on equity and inclusion, placing cultural community, racial socialization, and relationship at the center. As she explains, her work investigates the racial and ethnic socialization processes of child care and how children’s experiences in these programs influence their present and future social and emotional development.

Sanders also brings an intersectional lens to the work. 

“My scholarly work has revealed to me that one must understand the structural and systematic, yet, intersectional contexts of discrimination and inequality to understand the development, experiences, and perspectives of the individual," Sanders said. "Even two-year-olds cannot escape the fact that their academic trajectory is strongly a function of the social constructions of race and gender, income, and maternal education levels.” 

The new Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will provide intellectual and strategic leadership and advocate for the structural and cultural changes necessary to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at Whittier College. The associate dean will report to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and will collaborate with a wide range of College constituencies, including the Inclusion and Diversity Committee.  

More specifically, the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will:  

  • Serve as a strategic leader and subject matter expert, creating and cultivating a common vision of the College’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) that can be shared amongst students, faculty, and staff, as well as external constituents.
  • Collaborate with College leadership and VPAA/Dean’s Office to develop and collect performance measurement goals as related to DEI work to ensure that metrics are accessible and lead to accountability.
  • Develop and sustain diversity initiatives among faculty to broaden the inclusion of diverse voices in the curriculum and build capacity to engage DEI critically and effectively.
  • Work with senior leadership to develop of strategies and initiatives to enhance the recruitment, retention, and success of faculty and staff from underrepresented groups.
  • Lead Academic Affairs responses to bias reports.
  • Work with Advancement (as appropriate) on fundraising and grant initiatives to support DEI work.
  • Collaborate with relevant constituencies to enrich faculty development, especially regarding implicit bias that impacts BIPOC students, faculty, and staff.