UW-Madison names new Chief Diversity Officer

Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 10:05 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -UW-Madison has named a new Chief Diversity Officer. Dr. LaVar Charleston will begin this new role on August 2, the school announced.

“To our students, an important part of my history is that I was once a student twice over right here on this campus,” Dr. Charleston said in a video released by UW. “And I need you to know that I see you, I hear you and I absolutely cannot wait to connect with you,”

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Charleston currently serves as UW’s associate dean for equity, diversity, and inclusion at UW-Madison’s School of Education.

Dr. Charleston earned his undergraduate degree from Ball State University in Indiana in 2002. He then went on to earn his master’s degree from UW in 2007 and Ph.D in 2010.

“My goal is to be accessible, accountable, and consistent with each and every one of you,” he said. “What we do together will impact recruitment and retention and help establish our campus climate -- and we need an inclusive one,”

UW’s describes Dr. Charleston’s future duties to include “provide overall leadership for the university’s efforts to create a diverse, inclusive and successful learning and work environment for all students, faculty, staff, alumni and others who partner with the university.”

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion is indeed all of our responsibility,” Dr. Charleston added. “We all know these past couple years have been especially challenging as our country is enduring a tremendous outcry for racial and social justice, a call that changed history both locally and nationally,”

Dr. Charleston replaces Dr. Cheryl Gittens who has served in the role since July of 2020.

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