NYU Appoints Harvard’s Lisa M. Coleman as First Chief Diversity Officer


Courtesy of NYU spokesperson John Beckman

President Andrew Hamilton names Lisa Coleman as the university’s first Chief Diversity Officer. Coleman was previously the Chief Diversity Officer at Harvard.

Jemima McEvoy, News Editor

President Andrew Hamilton announced the appointment of the university’s first Chief Diversity Officer Lisa M. Coleman in an email to the NYU community earlier today. Coleman will start her position in September 2017.

In the email, Hamilton said that Coleman — who will be serving as the university’s Senior Vice President for Global Inclusion, Diversity and Strategic Communication — is coming from Harvard University, where she has served since 2010 as the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer and Special Assistant to the President.

“Working with Provost Katherine Fleming, she will lead the development and implementation of a strategic plan to systematically advance diversity, equity and inclusion across all NYU schools and units,” the email read.

The search for a CDO began last October after the university’s administration accepted the recommendation from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force to create this position. In response to this request, NYU created a CDO Search Committee led by Deputy Chief of Staff of the President’s Office Tracy Garner and Provost Katherine Fleming. According to the email, the university received more than 100 applications.

“Lisa Coleman stood out among this highly accomplished group,” Hamilton said in the email. “She has a strong record at her previous posts. She already knows and understands NYU well, having received her doctorate here. And her scholarly background gives her an unusual expertise and insight that will benefit NYU’s efforts.”

The University Senate Ad Hoc Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion has created recommendations that are intended to aid Lisa Coleman as she assumes her new role, according to the email. The task force will also be releasing its report next week.

NYU Spokesperson John Beckman said in a press release that before working at Harvard, Coleman was the Senior Diversity Officer at Tufts University from 2007 to 2010 — she also directed the Africana Studies Program and taught in American Studies, English and Women’s Studies. Beckman said that Coleman taught in the City University of New York system, and at the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington D.C. and Merrill Lynch, Inc.

Hamilton reaffirmed the importance of diversity initiatives at the university in the email. He said that the efforts to create a more equitable, diverse and inclusive atmosphere at NYU did not start with the appointment of a CDO.

“Over the years, many faculty, students and administrators have devoted time, energy and resources and have tirelessly urged the university to do more to change our policies, our practices and even our culture,” Hamilton said in the email. “All of our efforts to advance these issues build on their dedication, foresight and perseverance, and I thank them.”

Email Jemima McEvoy at [email protected]