July 1, 2020: Transition in the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives

You may recall that earlier this year, Paulette Granberry Russell, Senior Advisor to the President for Diversity and Director of the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives (I3), shared with me her intentions to transition from her position with the university. Today, I write to inform you that Paulette has accepted a position at California Polytechnic State University as Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer. A news release can be found here. Her last working day with the university is July 10.

From playing a critical role in changing the legal landscape that improved our admissions policies, academic programs and employment strategies to be more equitable and inclusive, to her integral part in MSU’s National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant, which led to the establishment of our Diversity Research Network, Paulette’s impact on our institution will benefit Spartans for generations to come. Because of her work, MSU has gained many strengths and broadened its institutional commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. More recently, she has been leading the DEI subcommittee of the ReOpen Campus Task Force and an advisor to our DEI Strategic Planning Steering Committee.

Since Paulette informed me of her intentions to transition from her position earlier this year, MSU has been actively searching for a leader who can build upon her decades of work and dedication to advancing MSU’s efforts with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion. The search for a Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer is underway, and the search committee is conducting seven semi-finalist interviews later this month. While that important and detailed search continues, I intend to appoint an interim director for I3 in the coming days in accordance with university policies to ensure our important work in creating a safe and supportive community for all Spartans continues.

Also, as I mentioned at Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting, and per Paulette’s suggestion, the DEI Strategic Planning Committee is creating within itself a task force to assist with more immediate issues to promote institutional equity that need attention at MSU, while the strategic planning effort of the group continues to play out. 

I hope you will join me in thanking Paulette for her many years of leadership, counsel and contributions that have made our university stronger and wish her the best as she takes on this new role.

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.