When I first visited Duke, I was struck by the beauty of the campus and the sense of optimism and passion the community holds for the University. I am honored to be an official member of this wonderful community. I come to Duke following a decade of experience working on equity and diversity issues at the University of Minnesota and more recently as the Vice Provost for Institutional Equity at Johns Hopkins, where the focus of my work was on compliance, specifically discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct and ADA matters. I am excited to engage more deeply with the diversity aspects of the work and believe that investigation and problem solving is enriched and informed by a stronger understanding of community and identity. While I value the opportunity to have worked on many complex and interesting matters, particularly in the health system context, I look forward to contributing to the advancement of ongoing diversity efforts at Duke and identifying creative opportunities for growth. In my first months, I plan to get to know the institution, listen and ask a lot of questions.
I have many percolating ideas about what will drive Duke forward along the continuum of diversity including the appropriateness of an institution-wide diversity and inclusion strategic vision. Now may be an ideal time to take a deep look at what has been accomplished and think about how to motivate institutional shifts and create a plan to guide and support local efforts around diversity and inclusion. Most campuses are challenged to increase the diversity of their faculty and to identify ways to address climate issues so that all members of the community have the opportunity to access what is available and maximize their potential. I recently participated in a meeting at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine in Washington, D.C. where the focus was on how to address sexual misconduct issues. A theme emerged that is applicable across all equity and diversity matters, which is how to increase the resources available to remediate departments or any context where there are climate challenges. Based upon what I have learned about Duke thus far, there is a similar desire to expand resources at our university.
I am writing this message from the porch of a beach house on the Jersey Shore that I shared with my family for the week. I am feeling rested, rejuvenated and ready to get to know the staff in the OIE office and all of the campus partners who also care deeply about equity, diversity and inclusion.
Vice President, Office for Institutional Equity
Learn more about Kimberly Hewitt on Duke Today.