University of Cincinnati picks home-grown administrator as new chief diversity officer

CINCINNATI – After a national search for a chief diversity officer, University of Cincinnati stayed in-house to select Bleuzette Marshall to lead efforts to combat persistent racial inequality in the university system.

Marshall, a UC graduate and 21-year veteran of UC and UC Foundation administration, had been interim chief diversity officer since January 2013. President Santa Ono praised her accomplishments during the last year.

“Every step of the way, she has proven herself to be a gifted listener, a strategic thinker and, most importantly, a trusted partner. I am confident that Dr. Marshall will take our diversity and inclusion efforts to the next level,” Ono said.

Marshall has worked at UC’s Ethnic Programs and Services; the African American Cultural and Resource Center; and in development at the UC Foundation. She has been active within the chief diversity officer’s administration since the office was created in 2007.

The long-simmering issue of racial disparity boiled over in November when Ronald Jackson abruptly resigned as dean of UC’s College of Arts & Sciences after just 16 months on the job. Jackson earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UC and was the university’s first African-American dean. The College of Arts & Sciences is the largest college at UC.

The university’s enrollment is about 7.5 percent African American and 73 percent white, prompting concerns among African Americans and other minority populations that the school isn’t doing enough to recruit and retain minority students.

Marshall, who could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday, told WCPO in December that she was working to quantify how well the university is meeting its diversity goals by analyzing raw data beginning with 2010 numbers over a broad array of numbers that paint a picture of minority representation at all levels of leadership and student programs.

“Part of the effort is making sure that initiatives are not tied to a person but engrained into the institution,” she said.

She distributed an eight-point progress report to campus on Nov. 25, which included the following points:

  • The hiring of an assistant director for multicultural recruitment.

  • Distribution of 23 Diversity Incentive Grants totaling $280,000 to develop or enhance diversity initiatives across campus.

  • A $350,000 investment to renovate and expand the African American Cultural & Resource Center.

  • And for the first time, the president’s cabinet and deans will participate in Diversity & Inclusion training.

“I’m thrilled by the opportunity to serve my alma mater in such a meaningful way and am excited by the possibilities that lie ahead to better our best," Marshall said in UC’s announcement. "I look forward to continuing my work with university and community members to make UC the model of inclusive excellence."

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