Sylvia Spears, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
The Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion provides strategic leadership and guidance for all matters related to diversity and inclusion. The VPDI is responsible for the development and implementation of strategic plans, policies, programs and operating structures that advance the College’s diversity and inclusion goals. Critical areas of engagement for the VPDI include academic affairs, student affairs, international affairs, and civic engagement. The VPDI also develops trainings and programs that build institutional awareness and accountability; supports programs to enhance the recruitment, retention and success of faculty, staff and students from underrepresented groups; and engages with faculty to develop curricula, scholarship, and pedagogy that promotes an academic atmosphere reflecting Emerson’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. The VPDI serves as a member of the President’s Council, chairs the Council for Inclusive Excellence, and consults with senior leadership on major institutional issues regarding diversity and inclusion.
Sylvia joined the Emerson community as Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion in August of 2012. Her background includes more than twenty of experience in higher education in student and academic affairs, with leadership positions at Dartmouth College, the University of Rhode Island, Bryant College, and most recently, New England College, where she was the Assistant Vice President for Academic Initiatives. At Dartmouth College, she oversaw diversity and academic support programs, first as Associate Dean of Student Life and Director of the Office of Pluralism and Leadership and later as Associate Dean of the College. Sylvia went onto become Acting Dean of Dartmouth College overseeing a 32 million dollar budget and a staff of 500 employees. In addition to her administrative experience, Sylvia has served in faculty roles in departments of education and human development. She earned a BA in Speech Communications and MS in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Rhode Island. She received her PhD in Education from the Rhode Island College/University of Rhode Island Joint Doctoral Program in Education.
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