The University of Rhode Island has a long tradition of promoting diversity among its community, often stimulated by student, staff and faculty advocacy and administrative initiative. Perhaps the most significant period of reform at the University has occurred since the late 1960's to present, ensuring equity and fair treatment of its members, diversifying URI's demographic composition, broadening and deepening its curricular offerings, and in promoting a campus culture and community where each of its members is respected and valued for who they are.
Upon his appointment as 11th President of the University of Rhode Island, President David M. Dooley announced his Transformational Goals for the 21st Century. He noted that, "To succeed, we must constantly ask how we can do more and do it better; and we must engage the world and its diverse cultures, viewpoints and lifestyles."
In an effort to "do more and do it better," after a multi-year period of advocacy by the Equity Council -- broadly representative of URI students, staff and faculty -- President Dooley, endorsed by the Strategic Budget and Planning Council and approved by the Board of Governors for Higher Education, committed to the creation of an institutional unit focusing on the advancement of community, equity and diversity at URI, to be led by a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). In addition to the creation of this new position, Associate Vice President for Community, Equity and Diversity, the President authorized the reassignment of several departments with a focus on diversity to shift their reporting responsibility to the CDO. These departments include:
In addition to maximizing the effectiveness of these departments, the CDO -- who is a member of the President's executive team -- is charged with influencing effective policy formation and collaborating with the various Presidential Commissions and divisional, college and departmental diversity committees, ensuring the accomplishment of strategic diversity goals integral to the overall success of the University.