Ohio Wesleyan University is appointing Dawn Chisebe as its chief diversity officer, a role she has held on an interim basis since August 2020.
Chisebe will report directly to President Rock Jones, Ph.D., and will continue her work to lead, build, and strengthen Ohio Wesleyan’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies and initiatives. She also will continue to teach classes as a member of the Department of Africana, Gender, and Identity Studies.
“Dawn Chisebe is tireless and fearless in her efforts to make Ohio Wesleyan an antiracist space, and the university already has made important strides thanks to her good work,” Jones said. “As interim chief diversity officer, in her former role as interim director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, as a first-generation college graduate, and as an expert in African Diasporic Histories, Dawn deeply understands the issues affecting our campus and, indeed, the world.
“Everyone at Ohio Wesleyan has benefited from the many workshops and trainings that Dawn has provided, from her efforts to improve the university’s ability to respond quickly and appropriately to bias, and from her constant empathy, wisdom, and forward-thinking.”
As OWU’s permanent chief diversity officer, Chisebe will continue to chair the university’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council and oversee the DEI Grant program, created earlier this year to financially support projects by students and employees to advance the OWU campus as an antiracist space.
Chisebe also will work with Jones and members of the senior leadership team to ensure continuing progress in the university’s first DEI Action Plan, announced in June 2020. The plan seeks to create meaningful and immediate change in four key areas: supporting equitable and inclusive business practices; delivering OWU’s core mission of teaching and learning; recruiting and retaining diverse students and employees; and ensuring a campus climate that affirms clearly and boldly the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
As she expands her work, Chisebe also will increase training opportunities for groups on and off campus, as well as ensure that Ohio Wesleyan’s DEI efforts utilize a comprehensive strategy promoting cohesion, developmental growth, accountability, and a foundation based on the university’s mission, vision, and guiding principles.
Chisebe, who joined Ohio Wesleyan in 2016, said she is excited to begin serving as the university’s permanent chief diversity officer.
“I am truly honored to be able to continue to build relationships across campus and work together to strengthen our commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and ensure that we are actively working toward being an antiracist campus,” she said. “I want to work closely with our students, staff, faculty, alumni, and our community partners as we move forward together.”
Chisebe said her priorities include continuing to work with members of the Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the campus “to build up from the foundations we laid in the last academic year.”
“We will need to create a strategic plan to outline how to most effectively create the institutional changes that are needed and continue to support the work that so much of our campus community is participating in to move toward our common goal of OWU being a space of belonging for everyone,” she said.
Chisebe holds a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Master of Arts in African American and African Studies from The Ohio State University. A former nurse, Chisebe also has completed all but her dissertation at OSU toward her doctorate in History, focusing on racial health disparities throughout the African Diaspora. Dawn and her husband, Njaluka, live in Columbus with their two children.
Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s diversity, equity, and inclusion work at www.owu.edu/diversity.
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