July 20, 2020: Diversity, equity and inclusion leadership changes


Following the departure of Paulette Granberry Russell, Acting Provost Thomas Jeitschko appointed Deborah Johnson to serve as the interim director of the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives (I3). Deborah is faculty in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Social Science and director of the Diversity Research Network. While the search for a vice president and chief diversity officer continues, Deborah will lead the I3 team and prepare the office for upcoming transitions. She will also maintain her faculty and research assignments. 

In addition, Wanda Lipscomb and Rubén Martinez will be serving as interim special advisers to me for diversity, equity and inclusion. Wanda is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and senior associate dean for diversity and inclusion as well as associate dean for student affairs in the College of Human Medicine. In February, Wanda received MSU’s Lifetime Achievement Award through the Excellence in Diversity Recognition and Awards Program. Rubén is a professor of sociology and director of the Julian Samora Research Institute and a leading scholar in diversity leadership in higher education. Both currently serve on the DEI strategic plan steering committee. I look forward to their counsel.  

These appointments are effective immediately and will be in place until the start of our new vice president and chief diversity officer. You can read updates on the search process on my website. Also online you can find information on the feasibility study for a campus multicultural center. I’ve asked Vennie Gore, vice president for auxiliary enterprises, to take over chairing this effort.         

I greatly appreciate Deborah, Wanda, Rubén and Vennie for stepping up during this time of transition.


Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.