When Randy Williams moved out of a leadership role for the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education (CREDE) in April 2016, a void was left in the organization’s leadership that has yet to be filled at Elon University.
Once Williams took on the role of associate vice president for campus engagement, Sylvia Muñoz was made interim director of the CREDE in late summer 2016. Since then, Williams and Muñoz have been involved in a search process for a leader to elevate the CREDE.
Randy Williams was the leader of the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education until April 2016. Sylvia Muñoz was made interim director of the CREDE in late summer 2016.
“I would love to see that we’re able to engage more majority identities in the work of diversity education, from simple awareness to understanding to skill building, so that we can actually get to this place of justice,” Williams said.
The CREDE aims to find a new director that can engage Elon’s campus as a whole. As a space meant to advance the conversation on student diversity education campus-wide, the CREDE is interested in securing leadership that can make that mission a reality.
Kenneth Brown, sophomore student coordinator for the CREDE, wants a leader with a fresh perspective regarding diversity.
“I would like to see a CREDE director that connects with the students but also challenges us - students, staff, faculty, humans - to expand our knowledge of diversity and to encourage people to visit the center,” Brown said.
According to Williams, Elon is more progressive than other schools in terms of possessing expertise in multiple identity spaces throughout campus, such as the CREDE and the Gender and LBGTQIA Center. Despite this belief, Williams explained the importance of finding a leader that can engage students outside of these physical spaces.
“We have to think about this whole campus in its entirety to actually support our students,” Williams said. “And to do that, we have more than 6,000 students, so we should be working, I believe, to expand the perspectives of all our students, because our students of those minoritized identities aren’t just in those identity spaces throughout the entire day. … So I’m looking for someone who can engage white and majority identities into the work of social justice and equity.”
The search for this ideal candidate has gone on for almost a year and been unsuccessful. A failed search occurred in late spring and early summer 2016. The CREDE decided to take down the director position and rethink it before launching the search again later.
“We have a really deep and extensive vetting process here at Elon for any position,” Williams said. “We really want to identify what it is, who it is or the characteristics that we want in a leader or any position, and then we go after them. We don’t settle for anything less.”
The CREDE’s search for a leader that can engage majority ethnic groups on campus regarding diversity inclusion is important in two ways. According to Williams, this would be a great way to not only support racially minoritized students, but also students of the LGBTQIA community, students of first generation status, students with disabilities and international students. In addition, Williams explained the importance of preparing Elon students for the diverse world.
Associate Vice President for Campus Engagement
“All our students have the privilege of being exposed to some amazing faculty members, and the academic program here is very strong,” Williams said. “But we’re also very homogenous in a lot of ways here at Elon when you look at the climate and the culture here.”
Ideally, the CREDE’s ongoing search for a new director will result in a leader that can fulfill such expectations and bring a new perspective on diversity and inclusion to Elon’s campus.