An all-campus email sent last Thursday announced the appointment of Chair of Religion and Associate Professor of Latina/o/x Studies Jacqueline Hidalgo as the new associate dean for institutional diversity, equity and inclusion. Hidalgo will officially begin her term as associate dean on July 1, succeeding Professor of Political Science Ngonidzashe Munemo, who has held the position since July 2016.
“I am thrilled that Prof. Hidalgo has agreed to step into this important role and will advance, among other areas, the critical work on building a supportive environment for the faculty we have recruited to Williams,” Munemo said regarding Hidalgo’s appointment.
According to the all-campus email sent by Vice President for Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leticia S.E. Haynes ’99, Hidalgo “will help lead policy and program development and assessment efforts, pertaining to faculty recruiting and retention efforts, as part of the OIDEI [Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion] leadership team.”
Haynes said in a separate email that the associate dean “works closely with the dean of the faculty and other faculty in the office on coordinating our institutional goals around developing and sustaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive community.”
Though the appointment is at Haynes’ sole discretion, she noted that the selection was a collaborative process. “I and members of the office of institutional diversity, equity and inclusion routinely collaborate with faculty who are deeply committed to and also working to further diversity, equity and inclusion on campus,” she said. “That collaboration and the consultation of others on campus has been beneficial to me in making the decision about who to appoint.”
Hidalgo commended Munemo for the work he has done as associate dean and outlined her own focus on maintaining a diverse faculty. “In this current moment, our commitments to diversity and equity in faculty recruitment are even more critical,” she said. “I am particularly committed to supporting the retention and thriving of the many different faculty we have brought to Williams.”
The transition comes at a time of uncertainty for the OIDEI, as many of its critical functions have been forced to move online. Haynes emphasized that the office will continue to be available for members of the College community remotely.
“We’ve shifted to conducting our work remotely in support of students, faculty and staff who are in new learning, living and working environments,” Haynes said. “In addition to advising students one-on-one and also supporting student affinity groups, we’ve been conducting diversity and inclusion workshops about bias and also social identity virtually. We maintain remote office hours, and are in constant contact in an effort to support their changing needs.”
In another all-campus email sent on Tuesday night, Haynes expressed similar sentiments. The OIDEI “continues to support our community in an effort to help minimize some of the negative effects of the virus,” the email read. “Over the last few weeks, we’ve been in touch with students, faculty and staff as we experience new virtual and remote exchanges, face uncertainty in many aspects of our lives, prioritize our health and grapple with issues of bias.”
“No matter how resilient those of us who call Williams home are, this pandemic is taking a toll,” the email continued. “As you are living, learning, and working, our thoughts are with you.”