Letter from the provost

I am writing to express my dismay at reading hiring details in a Campus article last week concerning the appointment of Dr. Armenta Hinton as Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Intercultural Advancement and Student Success (CIASS). The essential facts are as follows: two superb candidates rose to the top of the candidate pool in our search last spring semester for the Associate Provost for Diversity and Organizational Development. These two candidates – Dr. Diaz and Dr. Hinton – were so excellent that the search committee, comprised of students, faculty, and staff, wanted to hire them both, but we only had one open position initially. Therefore, when a second high-level diversity position came open, we were thrilled to be able to do exactly that.

With her rich international experience having lived in both England and Germany, Dr. Hinton will play a leadership role in helping the Gateway to integrate the three priorities of our current strategic plan (Combinations 2020): domestic diversity, civic engagement, and international perspectives. She has already begun working with the International Education Office in this capacity. And with her educational background in both diversity and leadership studies, Dr. Hinton plays a crucial role as a leading member of our diversity team. She is a member of the Council of Dean and will participate in meetings of the Administrative Executive Committee (AEC) whenever diversity matters are on the agenda.

Given the events of this past week, a strong leadership team is more critical to the College than ever. We as a community are extremely fortunate to have the skills, experience, and contributions of both Drs. Hinton and Diaz. With the appointment of these two incredibly talented women, we have assembled a stellar diversity team that also includes valerie guerrero, Katie Pope, and other faculty, staff, and students on campus.  This team will work to broaden and deepen the inclusive and welcoming campus environment that is the goal of our Statement of Community.

In a recent article from the Harvard Business Review, authors Malachi O’Connor and Barry Dornfeld discuss “unignorable moments” in the history of organizations as signaling that at some level the culture of an organization must be addressed. Once the culture is questioned in this way, the result is either “organizational paralysis” or a “release of incredible and productive energy.” I believe that last week was such a moment for Allegheny. As disruptive as such moments might be, strong leaders will seize that moment of disruption to effect cultural change.  I am confident we have the right leaders in place to be able to capitalize on the possibilities of last week and change the culture, and I am excited to work with them over the next weeks and months toward that goal.

Linda C. DeMeritt, Ph.D.
Provost and Dean of the College