Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Detailed Job Description

POSITION Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity
ORGANIZATION Purdue University
REPORTS TO Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion
Jay Akridge, Ph.D.
LOCATION West Lafayette, Indiana


Established in 1869, Purdue is Indiana’s land-grant university, a comprehensive educational and research institution that is a member of the American Association of Research Universities (AAU).  Purdue is also a member of the Big Ten Athletic Conference and Academic Alliance, which Purdue helped to establish in 1895.  Purdue’s mission is to serve the citizens of Indiana, the United States, and the world in fulfilling its tripartite mission of discovery, learning, and engagement. 

Located in the City of West Lafayette, one hour north of Indianapolis and two hours south of downtown Chicago, Purdue enrolls more than 40,000 full-time and part-time students on its flagship campus in West Lafayette.  The university’s academic programs are delivered through 10 colleges and schools:  College of Agriculture, College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Health and Human Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, Krannert School of Management, College of Pharmacy, Purdue Polytechnic Institute, College of Science, and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Purdue ranks fifth among public universities and 43rd overall nationally in 2018, according to Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education rankings.  Many of the university’s graduate programs have been nationally recognized:  The Agricultural and Biological Engineering programs ranks #1, the Hospitality and Tourism Management program #1, and the School of Pharmacy #9 in US News & World Report, which also ranks the College of Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, Audiology and Speech Language Pathology, Statistics, Supply Chain Management, Production and Operations Management, and the School of Veterinary Medicine in the top 25 of their respective categories.  Purdue has also been named a “Best College Value” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.  The excellence of the university’s programs is matched by the excellence of its faculty:  Purdue faculty include 2 Nobel laureates, 42 Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellows, 9 Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellows, 70 Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows, 44 Fulbright Scholars (since 2008), 8 John Simon Guggenheim Fellows, 10 Jefferson Science Fellows, 22 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 10 members of the National Academy of Inventors, one member of the National Academy of Medicine, 5 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 4 recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and 2 recipients of the World Food Prize, among many others.

Purdue has experienced record undergraduate enrollment.  In 2017, the university enrolled more than 31,000 undergraduate students, including its largest freshman class of 7,567 students.  Purdue received its highest number of student applications – 49,000; enrolled its highest number of underrepresented students – at 809, a 16 percent increase over prior years; and enrolled its most academically well-prepared class, with increases in both GPA and ACT scores.  Undergraduates and graduate students are drawn from 50 states and 122 countries.  Purdue has the fourth largest international student population among public universities.  Undergraduate graduation rates have continued to improve, reaching 78.6 percent after six years and 58.5 percent after four years.

In the last few years, Purdue has broken records in total research and development expenditures.  In FY 2017, the university received $454.5 million in sponsored awards from federal agencies, foundations, non-profits, and industry. 

Purdue is the largest employer in Tippecanoe County and serves as a powerful economic engine for the city of West Lafayette and for the state of Indiana.  The university employs nearly 17,000 people in West Lafayette and contributes about $2.2 billion to the state’s economy.  The state contributes around $327.6 million to the West Lafayette campus, representing about 14.8 percent of the University’s budget of more than $2.2 billion.

Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. took office as the 12th president of Purdue University in January 2013, at the conclusion of his second term as Governor of the State of Indiana.  Before serving as Governor, Daniels served as Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush.  In addition to his public service, President Daniels has served as CEO of the Hudson Institute and as a corporate executive at Eli Lilly and Company where he was President of North American Pharmaceutical Operations and Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Policy.  Purdue’s first non-academic president, Daniels has made affordability and access, student success, academic excellence, and research impact his priorities and the pillars of his strategic initiatives to advance the university, “Purdue Moves,” unveiled in 2013.  Under his leadership, Purdue tuition was frozen for six years, and student debt has declined.  President Daniels has promoted new investments, such as the hiring of 165 new faculty in STEM disciplines, expansion of flipped classrooms, growing summer enrollment, investments in plant science and drug discovery research, the creation of competency-based programs and three-year degree options, and the commercialization of research. As a result, Purdue has increased the number of affiliated start-up companies by more than 400 percent and broken the university record for patents.  In 2017, President Daniels opened Purdue Polytechnic High School Indianapolis, designed to be a bridge for inner-city students by admitting them directly to Purdue and thereby increasing the number of low-income, first-generation and minority students who are prepared for entry.  The high school admitted its first class of 157 students in July 2017.    

Jay Akridge assumed the position of Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity in November 2017 after serving as interim Provost since July 2017.  Prior to his appointment as Provost, Akridge served as the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture for nine years.  An award-winning teacher and scholar, Provost Akridge has spent his academic career at Purdue and holds a faculty appointment as professor of agricultural economics.

Diversity and Inclusion at Purdue

Within the backdrop of the rising national dialogue about diversity and inclusion, in October 2015, the Office of the Provost formed the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, a group that included faculty, staff, and students,  to help chart a course forward to educate the Purdue community about diversity and inclusion, provide tools for greater knowledge, skills, and awareness, and implement transformative practices relevant to diversity, sensitivity, and inclusion that would also suggest new standards of accountability and assessment.  The Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion grounded its work in Purdue’s land-grant mission that fueled the democratization of higher education, enabling access “not only for the elite, but also available to those who worked on farms, bakeries, or in factories.”  Open access today relates not just “to class or region, but also race, ethnicity, gender, ability, and sexuality.  Hence Purdue’s commitment to diversity and inclusion reflects its land-grant mission…and conveys a strong commitment to increasing access, removing barriers, and achieving equity.”

The Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion formed three subcommittees to address, respectively, recruitment, retention, and climate, and in February 2016 released a report with goals and metrics to serve as a “roadmap” to guide the University’s actions in ten strategic areas that focus on recruitment, retention, and success.  These include increasing diversity in student enrollment, retaining diverse students, increasing diversity in faculty and staff hiring, retaining diverse faculty and staff, embedding diversity in the curriculum and creating inclusive classroom settings and learning processes, providing co-curricular activities in support of the diversity and inclusion mission, educating leaders to foster diversity and inclusion, inspiring broad involvement in enhancing diversity and rewarding a culture shift; coordinating and communicating diversity and inclusion efforts, and evaluating progress in diversity and inclusion plans and ensuring accountability throughout the colleges and units that report to the Provost. (For a link to the report, please see  The Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion has reported subsequent progress on these areas in its reports of November 2016 and March 2017.

While the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion roadmap lays out the university’s commitments and direction, it builds on many efforts that have been initiated by groups across the university to foster diversity and broad inclusion over a number of years. In Purdue’s highly decentralized environment, much of the work of diversity and inclusion occurs in the colleges, schools, and units, and all bear responsibility for making the university welcoming to all its members.

Within the Provost’s office, the Division of Diversity and Inclusion includes a number of cultural and resource centers that provide support for students, faculty and staff.  These include the Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center, the Black Cultural Center, the Diversity Resource Office, the Latino Cultural Center, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Center, the Native American Education and Cultural Center, the Butler Center for Leadership Excellence, and ADVANCE – Purdue and the Center for Faculty Success, each headed by a director.  In addition, the Provost’s office supports a number of diversity initiatives designed to support students, faculty, and staff.  A description of the resource centers can be found in Appendix A and a description of centrally-sponsored diversity and inclusion initiatives in Appendix B.

As a signal of the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, the Provost carries the responsibility of chief diversity officer.  In the last few years, the Provost has been supported by part-time faculty Provost Fellows for Diversity and Inclusion who coordinate the activities of the cultural and resource centers.  Purdue is now seeking to fill the position of Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, a role that will oversee the Division of Diversity and Inclusion and work closely with the Provost to lead, coordinate, and facilitate the university’s diversity and inclusion efforts.  This position provides an exciting opportunity for an academic leader to work collaboratively with a committed administrative team and engaged faculty, staff, and student body to help realize a powerful vision for a dynamic institution that has been committed to excellence, innovation, and service for 150 years.   


The Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion is the senior administrator with responsibility for providing exceptional vision and leadership to the University in the broad area of diversity and inclusion.  The Vice Provost has the  responsibility to promote diversity broadly defined and to foster a culture of respect, inclusion, and excellence for all faculty, staff and students. Reporting to the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity, the Vice Provost will lead the Division of Diversity and Inclusion and will work with diversity professionals in all of the academic colleges and administrative areas to advance Purdue’s strategic diversity and inclusion goals.  The Vice Provost will work with the Provost to lead the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, and will work collaboratively with the vice presidents, vice provosts, deans, directors, and other campus leaders to enhance the campus climate for all across the land-grant missions of learning, discovery, and engagement.  The Vice Provost will actively connect with internal and external stakeholders, providing guidance and support to executive leadership and to faculty, staff, and students, as needed.  This role will position the institution to center diversity and inclusion work in the mission of the university and to capitalize on the varied ways diversity and inclusion can be embedded in the university’s curriculum, infrastructure, policies, and programs.

The university considers diversity and inclusion to be key drivers of excellence, engagement, and innovation.  Drawing on related research and best practices, the university views diversity to be a vital resource and inclusion to be an integral part of its teaching, research, and engagement mission.  Purdue values diversity in its many forms, including, but not limited to race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, genetic information, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, status as a veteran, and thought.  The Vice Provost will work closely with the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance, who is responsible for equal access and opportunity, ethics and compliance, and Title IX.  The Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion will have the primary responsibility for ensuring that the university’s commitments in the Report of the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion are met and the Purdue community remains engaged in advancing the agenda outlined therein.

The Vice Provost will oversee a small staff and supervise the directors of the cultural and resource centers.  This individual will work closely with operational colleagues (including staff in dedicated diversity positions, school leadership, and faculty committees) providing leadership on diversity and inclusion topics in each of the colleges and units.  The Vice Provost will work collaboratively with respective vice presidents, vice provosts, and deans on recruitment, training programs, student issues, and external community issues.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Provide intellectual leadership and vision for diversity and inclusion initiatives to align them with university priorities;
  • Lead the development and execution of a campus-wide strategy to define, cultivate, support, and assess diversity and inclusion as an institutional value and educational priority;
  • Support the recruitment, retention, success, and advancement of faculty, staff, and students who represent diverse populations and groups traditionally underrepresented at Purdue;
  • Coordinate educational efforts across the campus so that they are reinforcing, aligned, and complementary in fostering diversity and a climate of inclusion;
  • Lead a team of professionals in the Division of Diversity and Inclusion who direct the Purdue Cultural and Resource Centers, Center for Faculty Success, and leadership development initiatives; establish a collaborative, supportive, and high-performance culture that supports the success of those who work in the Division of Diversity and Inclusion;
  • Work with the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity to lead the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and work directly with units and individuals across campus including, but not limited to, the Multicultural and Minority Program Directors Group; the Senate Equity and Diversity Committee; faculty and staff associations; Purdue Student Government; Purdue Graduate Student Government; Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment, and Research; Disability Resource Center; Student Life; Enrollment Management; and Human Resources;
  • Create synergies and awareness across campus to ensure diversity and inclusion activities are communicated effectively;
  • Draw on research, scholarship, and information on national and international trends to develop and support innovative programs and policies relevant to campus diversity and inclusion;
  • Lead evidence-based assessment efforts to help guide investment of resources in the highest impact activities to foster a diverse and inclusive campus and workplace environment; develop metrics and procedures to track institutional trends and help units increase accountability through qualitative and quantitative assessments of programs, policies, and services;
  • Prepare reports for presentation to senior leadership and the university community;
  • Represent the university to external organizations and communities on matters of diversity and inclusion.


Opportunities and Challenges Ahead

Purdue is a large, complex, decentralized academic community.  Its faculty are world leaders in their fields, and its programs have national and global reach.  With its 150-year history, the university is steeped in tradition, but also attempting to respond to changing demographics and new realities.  The new Vice Provost will need to operate successfully within this environment, and address the following opportunities:

  • Honing and sharpening the focus of the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion:  The initial report of the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion was intended to serve as a roadmap to chart a path forward, but the work is ongoing, and the focus needs to be constantly reassessed and sharpened.  The Vice Provost will have the opportunity to assess ongoing progress and ensure that the goals and activities remain relevant and adaptable to changing conditions.
  • Bringing greater cohesion to diversity and inclusion effortsMany of the offices in the Division of Diversity and Inclusion operate as silos that would benefit from greater opportunity to collaborate and to share ideas and best practices for greater impact and alignment with the university’s overall goals. The Vice Provost will have the opportunity to provide leadership in facilitating such interaction.
  • Implementing innovative programming and best practices:  While programs and initiatives around diversity and inclusion are offered across the institution, there have not been efforts to assess what strategies have been most impactful and how efforts can benefit from cross-fertilization.  Working with colleagues across the university, the Vice Provost will have the opportunity to review and assess what exists and introduce best practices to ensure that efforts are impactful and achieve their goals.
  • Operating successfully within a culture of measurement and accountabilityPurdue is dominated by STEM and quantitative disciplines, a culture of measurement, and an appreciation for a rigorous data-driven approach.  The Vice Provost must be comfortable working within an environment where metrics and accountability are critical aspects of success.
  • Contributing to a culture of collaboration:  Within Purdue’s competitive academic environment, those who do best are collegial and collaborative and operate with a keen sense of mission, an attitude of respect and humility, and an appreciation for scholarly approaches informed by evidence-based data.  Authority in this environment is earned, not inherent.

The Vice Provost will be supported by the Provost’s and Senior Administration’s deep, strong, and tangible commitment to diversity and guided by the directions laid out in the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion report.  In the short term, the Vice Provost’s success will be measured by the degree to which the Vice Provost has learned the workings of the institution, built relationships with key constituents, and become an integral part of the Provost’s leadership team.  In the longer term, success will be measured by the widespread recognition on campus that diversity and inclusion is a permanent part of the university, with progress constantly updated and communicated to the community to provide a transparent view of the university’s achievements in realizing its goals.


Purdue University seeks a collaborative, strategic, and results-oriented leader to serve as its Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion.  This individual will serve as thought leader and community convener on issues related to diversity and inclusion to promote a culture and climate that supports the success of all who learn, work, and engage in the Purdue community.  While the position is envisioned to be full-time within university administration, an affiliated faculty appointment is possible depending on candidate qualifications.

Critical Selection Criteria:

  • An advanced degree from an accredited institution;
  • National involvement and recognition as a leader or scholar in diversity and inclusion;
  • Experience working in a decentralized environment with demonstrated success in strengthening diversity and inclusion through proactive recruitment, training, change management, and other initiatives to foster a positive institutional climate;
  • Demonstrated excellence in administration, with a proven record of providing strategic vision and leadership;
  • Demonstrated ability to build successful teams, strong evidence of success as a collaborator and the ability to bring diverse groups together around a common mission;
  • Effective communication skills, with the ability to articulate and advocate the vision and goals of the University; conflict resolution skills needed to navigate politically-charged situations to resolve problems and reconcile competing interests; a strong track record of building coalitions and consensus;
  • Ability to problem-solve, make decisions, and implement change; demonstrated skills with collecting and using data to assess programs and increase shared accountability;
  • Ability to work successfully within the framework of a large university, as well as with external stakeholders;
  • Demonstrated cross-cultural competencies, including strong emotional intelligence, influencing skills, and the ability to engage and build relationships with university constituencies and underrepresented communities; sensitivity to all constituencies served by the University with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and to building a climate of inclusiveness.
  • The interpersonal strengths of an open-minded, strategic, and creative thinker and active listener who can mediate diverse opinions to address shared needs and inspire confidence and trust.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • An informed understanding of innovations in higher education institutions or other complex environments that have strengthened the prominence of diversity and inclusion in their research, teaching, or outreach missions;
  • Experience contributing to cross-campus partnerships, including those aimed at recruiting and retaining diverse faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students, integrating diversity and inclusion into curricula and the student experience, improving faculty and staff training, assessing the educational impact of diversity, enhancing campus climate, and revising policies to address the legal dimensions of affirmative action and diversity initiatives;
  • A well-developed understanding of the culture of higher education, including shared governance, tenure and promotion, the competing needs of different constituencies, and the student life cycle;
  • The ability to form coalitions and inspire others to act;
  • Evidence of excellent judgment and the ability to understand nuance.


For additional information, please consult the university’s website at

Purdue University is an EOE/AA employer.  All individuals, including minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply.



Nominations and applications will be accepted until the position is filled, but for fullest consideration, applications should be received by September 1, 2018. Applications and expressions of interest should be accompanied by a cover letter, curriculum vita, and the names of five references.   Cover letters should address how the candidate’s experience and qualifications have prepared them for the role.  Materials should be submitted electronically in confidence to Purdue_VPD& 

Kim M. Morrisson, Ph.D.
Senior Managing Director – Education/Non-Profit Leadership Searches

Euris Belle
Managing Director

Nancy Helfman
Vice President and Senior Associate

Karen Engel
Executive Assistant


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