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CLAS names 1st associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion

Thursday, June 02, 2016

LAWRENCE – A new associate dean at the University of Kansas will oversee diversity, equity and inclusion programming and policies for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Jennifer Hamer, professor and chair of the Department of American Studies and professor of African & African-American studies, begins her appointment July 1.

“Jennifer possesses an ideal combination of research expertise and hands-on experience in developing environments of mutual respect and individual support. She will be a tremendous leader and advocate in the College and across campus,” said Carl Lejuez, dean of the College.

In this new role, Hamer will focus on strengthening retention of underrepresented students, clarifying university strategies for recruiting underrepresented faculty and staff, and working within the College to address issues of campus environment.

“The public university is a cornerstone of a democratic society, and the work of diversity, equity and inclusion must be central to our labors as faculty, staff and students in higher education. As the largest unit on campus, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has both a duty and an opportunity to create models for meaningful change,” Hamer said. “This is a critical moment for innovation. I’m excited about the possibilities, and I look forward to working with peers, colleagues and students.”

Hamer’s research focuses primarily on African-American fathers, mothers and families, especially those that are working class. She’s been editor of several journals, including Race and Society; Black Women, Gender, and Family; and Women, Gender, and Families of Color. She has experience working with a broad range of student, faculty and staff populations. At KU that includes involvement with the Black Faculty and Staff Council and the College’s Faculty-Student Mentorship Initiative. She’s also served as a KU Senior Administrative Fellow and as a member of the College’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion work group. As chair of the American Studies department, she’s overseen curricular efforts to broaden academic offerings in social justice, race and ethnicity, and Latino/a studies. At previous institutions, she developed a graduate student mentoring program, black women’s studies certificate, single parent student organization and served as a graduate college associate dean with a diversity and equity portfolio.

The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is KU's broadest, most diverse academic unit, encouraging learning without boundaries in its more than 50 departments, programs and centers.

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