In January, John McKnight, associate dean of the College and class dean for first-year and second-year students, took on a new position. He is now associate dean of students and director of intercultural development.
McKnight says that one of his goals is to offer programming that will inspire deep self-reflection, critical inquiry, and committed activism. “In addition to continuing the tradition of outstanding cultural programming, I would very much like to challenge our campus community to see cultural awareness as an essential aspect of a liberal education,” he says. “I believe we must all understand ourselves as individuals and as members of various social identity groups and to recognize the power and privileges we have as group members. I want our campus to be alive with intellectual conversations on social justice that will equip us for productive citizenship in our local and global communities.”
McKnight came to Lafayette in May 2009 from Lehigh University, where he was director of multicultural affairs from 2008-09, following a year as associate director of multicultural affairs. He holds an M.S. in higher education administration from Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind., and is pursuing an Ed.D. in administration and leadership studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
McKnight will report to the vice president for campus life and senior diversity officer, a newly created position for which a national search is under way.
The vice president will collaborate with other senior administrators, oversee all areas of student life, provide leadership as the chief student affairs officer, develop and supervise initiatives to promote pluralism and dialogue on matters of diversity for the Lafayette community, and ensure that access and diversity are at the center of campus life considerations.
The College’s first chief diversity officer, Shirley Ramirez, served as vice president for institutional planning and community engagement from January 2009 through March 2010.