Emory names chief diversity officer

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Emory University has named Carol E. Henderson vice provost for diversity and inclusion, chief diversity officer and advisor to the president. She will assume her new role at Emory on August 1, 2019.

Henderson will join Emory from the University of Delaware, where she serves as vice provost for diversity.

“Carol Henderson is a widely recognized leader in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in academia, and in communicating a deeper understanding of what it means to embrace these values,” says Emory University President Claire E. Sterk. “Her insight, inspiration and vision will reinforce our history and strong foundation in these areas and provide a springboard for our future.” 

“I can’t think of anyone better prepared than Carol Henderson to help lead our community as we work toward the goals of inclusive excellence,” says Dwight A. McBride, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Academic eminence is rooted in a culture that values diversity and inclusion, and her leadership will signify Emory’s commitment to celebrating our differences while fostering understanding. We look forward to welcoming her to Emory.”

This successful search grew out of the collective efforts of individuals across the Emory community with a search advisory committee led by co-chairs Christa Acampora, deputy provost for academic affairs, and Yolanda Cooper, university librarian, and including diversity leaders and other individuals who came together in town halls to discuss the role of diversity, equity and inclusion at Emory. 

As the university’s first chief diversity officer, Henderson will help lead the realization of Emory’s vision for diversity, equity and inclusion by working with campus leaders and representatives to define community goals, establish guiding principles and create a strategy for moving forward and communicating progress.

Henderson will partner with Emory’s leadership, students, faculty and staff to re-imagine and strengthen comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at the university and create mechanisms for communicating the institution’s commitment to these principles and practices. She also will serve as the public voice on these issues, helping to shape the discussion in the Atlanta metro area, nationally and internationally. 

A member of the University of Delaware faculty since 1995, Henderson has served as the university’s vice provost for diversity since 2014. In this role, she oversees and promotes diversity efforts across the university and provides strategic leadership in advancing diversity as an institutional value and an academic priority in all facets of the academic community.

“I am so excited and extremely honored to join such a dynamic and engaged campus community,” says Henderson. “I look forward to building upon — and contributing to — Emory’s legacy of academic excellence, community engagement and outreach, and innovative scholarly inquiry that has inclusive excellence principles and values at the core of its practices.” 

A widely recognized scholar and specialist in African American literature, Henderson also is professor of English and Africana studies at the University of Delaware, and served as interim chair and chair of the Department of Black American Studies from 2010-2014. 

Her authored and edited volumes include “Imagining the Black Female Body: Reconciling Image in Print and Visual Culture” (2010), “America and the Black Body: Identity Politics in Print and Visual Culture” (2009), “James Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain: Historical and Critical Essays” (2006), and “Scarring the Black Body: Race and Representation in African American Literature” (2002).

Henderson holds a B.A. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, M.A. from California State University of Dominguez Hills, and she received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside.