The following is an interview with the new Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at John Carroll University, Tiffany Galvin Green, Ph.D.
Welcome to John Carroll! What were your impressions of the University during the interview process?
Very positive. I enjoyed meeting so many different people from across campus, learning about their roles while also sharing my background, interests, and philosophies about diversity and inclusion work in higher education. However, I was especially impressed by the President’s involvement from the start. It is rare to see such a demonstration of commitment from the top leader at every step of the interview phase. This allowed for me to not just discuss his commitment to this position and diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives, but to see his personal investment in the process.
How will your prior experience in both Higher Ed and the non-profit sector assist in your role at JCU?
Well, I’ve been in some roles, either as faculty or administration, in higher education for the majority of my professional career. Although my most recent role as Assistant Provost for Inclusive Excellence at Vanderbilt is most relevant to the work I will be doing here at JCU, I have had a passion for diversity and inclusion related initiatives since I was a student myself. I learned early about the value of giving attention to equity and inclusion matters as it provides opportunities to marginalized or underrepresented groups from personal experiences growing up in Detroit, and then as a student at the University of Michigan and Northwestern. I was afforded many opportunities that encouraged increased diversity and greater equity in several academic areas. In fact, it was a program like this that encouraged my early interest in pursuing a graduate degree in management.
As a grad student and as a faculty member, I was able to work in many mentor and peer capacities for programs targeted towards the recruitment and retention of students and faculty of color. I’ve also served in various roles, both formally and of personal interest, directed at increasing the engagement of various identities at several institutions. That, together with different topics that I’ve researched, have all prepared me quite well for this role. I bring a multifaceted viewpoint, having held several roles and having been exposed to different kinds of institutions. I’m empathetic to different vantage points in academic settings, always with a question of “what more can be done to make sure everyone is able to bring their best?” and “how can the university be even better?”
In addition, I have a fundamental understanding of the importance of creating an inclusive and engaging work environment having been a CEO. In that role, I had to work with and lead individuals across all walks and intersections of life, and bring them to common understandings in order to achieve similar objectives. These were valuable experiences that also add to my vantage point when considering the importance of staff-related concerns in a campus environment.
Lastly, I will say that in my role at Vanderbilt, we were a new area that had to spend considerable time building relationships across campus. We had to establish our presence and trust as we worked towards developing a community-wide understanding of inclusive excellence. I believe that is very much the same task I have now here at JCU, with the addition of having a host of established partners that have been working on various diversity and inclusion efforts for a substantial period of time. As an inaugural role with a newly formed and integrated department, I know that we will be building and growing from day one and I’m completely excited about the possibilities.
You’ve said you were drawn to John Carroll’s mission and values. Can you elaborate on that and how they will influence your work?
I see the John Carroll's Jesuit heritage and its current initiatives, mission and objectives as an opportunity for the kind of engagement that is the basis for diversity, equity, and inclusion work. “Faith that does justice” is central to the identity of JCU as much as academic excellence is. And this establishes a firm foundation for engaging in all discussions and objective setting for diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. It’s about ensuring excellence and justice - making sure that every member of the JCU community is able and equipped to excel, and attending to matters of equity to best serve both our campus and the communities that we impact.
I truly believe that inclusive excellence requires intentionality, transparency, and consistency. I see a great deal of these principles already reflected in current practices and the strategic plan that exists here at JCU. It has been personally inspiring and encouraging to me. Yet, I also recognize through the high standards and objectives that are set forth in JCU’s Strategic Plan of Inclusive Excellence that there is still a great deal to be done. So I recognize opportunities for me to add value as new member of the community.
What excites you most about your role as Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?
I’m excited to get to know more students, faculty, staff, and alumni. I’m excited to start engaging in campus activities and learning more about JCU’s culture. I want to become a true part of the community. I have already met some really great people and I know there’s a strong commitment from leadership. I’m passionate about the work that I do and I feel a unified spirit from so many that I have connected with already.
I’m also excited to be in a new, inaugural role with a newly formed division. There’s so much change going on here at JCU that I feel it’s a really great time to come onboard. I’m encouraged by the diversity and inclusion progress that has been made here in many areas, but even more excited that JCU wants to continuously evolve.