OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University President Charles Wight has appointed Adrienne Gillespie Andrews as the new Assistant to the President for Diversity, beginning July 1.
Andrews came to WSU in February 2005 and has worked as an advisor to various student organizations, including LGBT Resources and the WSUSA Supreme Court. Andrews is currently the coordinator of the Center for Diversity and Unity. She helps direct and organize the annual Diversity Conference and the popular Gospel Music Festival. She is also an instructor in the Women’s Studies program and the Department of Political Science & Philosophy.
“My plan is to work closely with our president to develop a university-wide strategic approach to diversity and inclusion, as well as to support diversity and inclusion programs, platforms and initiatives that currently exist,” Andrews said. “I will work with students, faculty, staff and our community partners to assess where we are and where we have been and where we should be. My goal is to help us enhance how we see, understand and work with the steady beat of diversity and inclusion that is at the heart of our core themes.”
Andrews said this position helps WSU maintain a competitive edge by infusing diversity programming and support into the workplace and curriculum, helping members of the campus community successfully work and operate in a global society.
“This position doesn’t fit into a traditional executive role but rather spans the boundaries of the institution as divisions collaborate in an effort to enhance diversity,” she said.
Andrews also will continue as the coordinator of the diversity center. Wight noted that her extensive background and dedication to diverse issues and students will help her make a seamless transition into the new role. The Assistant to the President for Diversity is charged with fostering an environment for inclusivity and helping students learn about how diversity relates within their respective communities and fields of study.
Wight said diversity and inclusion are central to WSU’s three core themes of access, learning and community.
“By providing open access to education and by recruiting and retaining students appropriately, we have a campus that reflects the diversity of Ogden and the surrounding region,” Wight said. “This is essential to our ability to operate effectively as a community leader in promoting economic prosperity and social justice.”
He also said research shows that diversity is a critical component of academic excellence.
“Teaching and learning are enhanced whenever ideas are freely and respectfully exchanged between people having a variety of different perspectives, experiences, cultures and points of view.”
Over the years, Andrews has worked to develop personal relationships with students to teach them about diversity and inclusion. She was recently a Crystal Crest finalist in the Friend of Students category and was recognized last year as an outstanding staff member with a Women of Weber award.
“I want students to enroll, persist and graduate. That way they can say the university on the hill isn’t just some school; it’s their school,” she said. “I want students to find their passion, make lasting friendships, develop skills, learn about who they are and what they want out of life. If that means walking a student across campus, sharing a sandwich, cheering someone’s success and finding the silver lining in the disappointment — that’s what I’m here for.”
Andrews will succeed Forrest Crawford, who stepped down after more than 15 years of dedicated service as Assistant to the President for Diversity. Crawford has worked at WSU for more than 35 years and will return to teach full time in the Jerry & Vickie Moyes College of Education.
Wight said Crawford’s dedicated leadership was invaluable in advancing the WSU Diversity Initiative begun in 1990.
“Thanks in no small part to his efforts, Weber State University has made significant progress toward becoming a place where all members of the university community feel respected and encouraged to contribute their best,” Wight said.
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.
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