News

August 5, 2008

Shirley M. Ramirez Will Lead Diversity Efforts at Lafayette

She brings a record of achievement at Middlebury College and the Posse Foundation

Lafayette has named Shirley M. Ramirez to lead the College’s diversity efforts. She will be the first person to serve in the newly created position of vice president for institutional planning and community engagement. Her appointment will begin in January 2009.

A national leader in the areas of diversity and student access in higher education, Ramirez will develop and supervise Lafayette’s initiatives to promote pluralism and dialogue on matters of diversity. She also will provide leadership for institutional planning and will seek ways to forge greater connections between the College’s academic activities and the community.

Ramirez comes to Lafayette from Middlebury College where she has been vice president for institutional planning and diversity since December 2006. Prior to that, she served as executive vice president of The Posse Foundation for six years.

“Shirley Ramirez is among the nation’s most accomplished leaders in the areas of diversity and student access in higher education. I am delighted that she is joining Lafayette in a role that includes both internal and external components on diversity and community engagement in our academic program,” said President Daniel H. Weiss.

“We believe that social and intellectual pluralism enriches the educational possibilities by a measure greater than any other means, and hiring a person responsible for leading our diversity efforts was an important recommendation in the College’s strategic plan,” Weiss said. “I look forward to the results of Shirley’s efforts with senior administrators, faculty, student life and academic deans, enrollment planning, alumni affairs, athletics, and other institutional partners to cultivate an environment in which cultural diversity is an important forum for liberal learning and the academic experience is racially and ethnically diverse.”

As Middlebury’s first chief diversity officer, Ramirez was responsible for the college’s overall diversity plan. She led the development of a new center focused on the comparative study of race and ethnicity and oversaw institutional research, international student and scholar services, ADA compliance, and other administrative areas.

At the Posse Foundation, Ramirez oversaw and managed operations at a national level. Posse is a not-for-profit organization that identifies, recruits, and trains outstanding youth leaders from urban public schools and sends them in diverse teams, called posses, to top colleges and universities across the country. The young leaders are awarded full-tuition merit leadership scholarships by some of the nation’s most prestigious educational institutions.

Lafayette has enrolled Posse Scholars from both New York City and Washington, D.C., during an affiliation with the foundation that is now in its seventh year. In 2006, the College selected Deborah Bial, Posse’s founder and president, to deliver the Commencement address and receive an honorary degree.

At Middlebury, Ramirez also is an assistant professor of psychology, where she has taught courses on racism and mental health. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Duke University, and did her undergraduate work at Vanderbilt University, where she earned a B.S. in human and organizational development and psychology.

While at the Posse Foundation, she taught in the Organizational Behavior and Communications program at New York University and the Human Resources Management program at New School University. She taught at Georgetown University, George Mason University, and Duke University before joining Posse. Her courses have included Psychology of Women, Cross-Cultural Therapy Skills, Research Methods, Leadership Development, Management and Organizational Behavior, and Organizational Change.

She has co-authored papers in The Community Psychologist and International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Currently under review are two manuscripts that she co-authored on the experience of racism among Latinos. She has made many presentations at conferences and workshops.

Ramirez is co-founder and co-chair of the national organization of Liberal Arts Diversity Officers. She also is a member of the national advisory board of the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity and a member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

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