LMU Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is a group on campus that consists of faculty members that lead and support LMU’s community in the promotion of an anti-racist institutional climate, according to their website.

To achieve this goal, there are multiple subsections of DEI that have specific purposes, such as structural diversity, educational mission and capacity building.

Each of these subsections are responsible for spearheading projects on and off campus. For example, the structural diversity group represents LMU at external conferences for faculty recruitment and collaborates with the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. In regards to on-campus projects, educational mission and student experience created a Living Learning Community that focuses on gender and intersectional identities.

Abe will conclude her two-year term in December 2021. In a letter to the LMU community sent out during the spring 2021 semester, President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., recognized Abe’s accomplishments during her role as vice president, including the creation of LMU's Anti-Racism Project. Abe will return to the faculty full time in January 2022 in the psychology department.

The process to find Abe’s successor has begun as the conclusion of her position nears. According to their website, DEI is looking for candidates who are willing and able to execute their definition of inclusive excellence, which is the “institutional excellence that fully integrates values of diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of its work.”

José I. Badenes, S.J., Ph.D., the associate provost for undergraduate education and professor of modern languages and literatures, is the chair of the search committee for the new vice president.

When asked what the process to hire Abe's successor has been like, Badenes said, "The process to hire the new VP of DEI has been deeply satisfying and has run very smoothly from the time the search committee began the search in the summer.”

"Our search committee, composed of representatives from key sectors of our LMU community, demonstrated professionalism, collaboration and a deep understanding of our Mission as the guiding compass in this search,” said Badenes.

For him, the "hiring firm Diversified Search Group was very positive," as it supplied the committee with a "pool of accomplished candidates" to interview.

From the pool of candidates, the “committee engaged in a process of Ignatian discernment," which allowed them to narrow down the number of candidates to four.

The qualifications in the job description provided the basis for the process. The candidates' resumes, cover letters and answers to scripted questions from the first round helped the committee to select the candidates to continue in the hiring process.

The four candidates who were brought onto campus participated in virtual forum sessions which students were invited to attend. According to the email invite to students from LMU Communications on Sept. 24, "All LMU community members are invited to attend virtual open forum sessions to meet each of the candidates."

Badenes said that the attendance at each session has been “a mix of faculty, staff, administrators and students.” Each finalist had the opportunity to meet with a “select group of students as part of their interview schedule.”

In addition to the desired characteristics that were provided in the job description and the goals outlined by DEI, Badenes spoke to what qualities he believes the community needs from the new vice president.

“The person needs to provide visionary leadership to continue and build on the work of their predecessors, Dr. Abbie Robinson-Armstrong and Dr. Jennifer Abe, in alignment with the University’s new strategic plan," said Badenes. He also hopes that the new vice president is "a bridge-builder among different University sectors, being able to relate with administrators, faculty, staff and students equally by encouraging collaboration."

For Badenes, "collaborative and listening skills coupled with research-driven decisions and ability to act creatively are expected." Abe's successor also needs to understand LMU's "Ignatian-rooted Mission and its relationship to DEI work."

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