OWU names Rojas chief diversity officer

Special to The Gazette - [email protected]



Ohio Wesleyan University announced Friday the appointment of Juan Armando Rojas Joo, Ph.D., as the university’s chief diversity officer.

In the newly created role, Rojas will oversee the implementation of Ohio Wesleyan’s diversity, equity, and inclusion policy and serve as a resource for related topics, including educational, facilities, and human resources-related issues, such as employee recruitment and retention.

A member of the Ohio Wesleyan faculty since 2004, Rojas also is a professor of modern foreign languages and serves as the university’s associate dean of diversity and inclusion. As chief diversity officer, he will report to President Rock Jones, Ph.D.

“Ohio Wesleyan is fortunate to have Dr. Rojas as our first chief diversity officer,” Jones said. “The university will be well served by his deep passion for these issues and his commitment to supporting the further development of a campus culture that values every form of diversity and welcomes all people.”

Rojas was appointed associate dean of diversity and inclusion in 2016, and since then has helped the campus to review, refine, and approve its diversity, equity, and inclusion policy as well as implement initiatives to support a more diverse faculty and to embed diverse views, perspectives, and experiences throughout the curriculum. He will remain in his dean’s role in addition to serving as chief diversity officer.

“In my role as chief diversity officer,” Rojas said, “I plan to explore and strategize ways to improve organizational culture and existing policies with the goal of creating a more comprehensive academic environment for students, faculty, and staff from under-represented groups.”

In addition to adding a chief diversity officer, Ohio Wesleyan this fall also will be recreating its former Council for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, with Rojas helping to facilitate the group’s work. The council will bring many offices and voices together to discuss issues, share information, and create mechanisms to continue successful diversity initiatives.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to participate in the creation of an inclusive culture, one where all of its members can thrive and succeed,” Rojas said.

Already the author of six books of poetry, Rojas is quickly making his voice heard as an academic administrator as well. He has written an essay, “Advocating for a Diversity and Inclusion Commitment at Liberal Arts Colleges: Essential Conversations in the Role of the Chief Diversity Officer,” that will be published as a chapter in the forthcoming book “Valley of Hope: Diversity Triumphs.” In addition, he has been accepted into the 2018-2019 Senior Leadership Academy of the Washington, D.C.-based Council of Independent Colleges.

Rojas earned his both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at El Paso and his doctorate from the University of Arizona. Learn more about Rojas and the Ohio Wesleyan Department of Modern Foreign Languages at www.owu.edu/mfl. Learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion at Ohio Wesleyan at www.owu.edu/diversity.


Special to The Gazette

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