SIUE names new vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion


Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) announced Jessica Harris, PhD, as the University’s first vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion (VCEDI) last week.

Harris was hired after a national search.

“We are extremely excited about Dr. Harris serving as our inaugural vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion,” SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook said in an announcement. “There is much work to be done regarding SIUE diversity initiatives, and Jessica, with her academic and administrative experience at SIUE, is prepared to hit the ground running on day one.”

Harris was named assistant provost for academic equity and inclusive excellence in the SIUE Office of the Provost in 2020 after serving as the interim assistant provost for the previous two years. An SIUE faculty member since 2011, Harris has served as an associate professor of historical studies in the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and director of the interdisciplinary Black Studies program.

“I want to extend my sincere appreciation to Dr. Cornell Thomas and the members of the search committee for facilitating such a thoughtful search process,” Harris said. “I am also grateful to Chancellor Pembrook for this honored opportunity to serve SIUE in this capacity.”

Her direct responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • Lead the Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Supervise and administer the offices of EOA/Title IX, Military and Veterans Services, and the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion
  • Work with equity advisors for staff searches and the Impact Academy for staff positions  
  • Through the Diversity Council, continue to advance the recently developed Diversity Strategic Plan and be responsible for SIUE’s diversity goals
  • Lead ongoing Anti-Racism Task Force efforts, including developing training and professional development opportunities, and implementing the recommendations from that group in coordination with the ongoing Higher Learning Commission Quality Initiative (QI)
  • Coordinate the Institutional Diversity Leadership Team 
  • Chair the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) 
  • Participate in certain functions of the EOA/Title IX appeals processes in consultation with the EOA Director
  • Provide guidance in the Strategic Hiring Initiative as it pertains to SIUE staff 
  • Assume responsibilities for anti-racism, equity, diversity, and inclusion programming, including growth of campus constituency groups



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