Paulette Patterson Dilworth, Ph.D., has been named the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s next vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion after a comprehensive needs assessment and national search.
Dilworth has 38 years of experience in higher education diversity consulting and training, recruitment, retention, and teaching, and she comes to UAB from Auburn University, where she was assistant vice president for Access and Community Initiatives.
UAB’s student, faculty and staff population represents more than 100 countries and is consistently ranked among the nation’s most diverse campuses. UAB President Ray L. Watts says diversity is a strategic institutional priority.
“I look forward to what Dr. Dilworth will do to support diversity as one of our core values and strengths; it is a part of UAB’s very fabric and the guiding force behind our involvement in our community, throughout Alabama and around the globe,” Watts said. “We continue to recruit and retain outstanding students, faculty and staff because of our deeply embedded culture of diversity, equity and inclusion — we want to provide equal opportunities for everyone at UAB to thrive and excel.”
As vice president, Dilworth will report to the president as a member of the senior administrative team. She will have enterprise-wide responsibility for facilitating strategic initiatives to promote diversity excellence as a fundamental institutional and educational value in campus culture, operations, business practices and programming. Dilworth will also nurture collaborative and engaging relationships with internal and external constituents to provide effective leadership in the coordination of diversity-related programs and initiatives, as well as work across the enterprise to optimize UAB’s decision-making capabilities and inspire the highest standards of performance.
“This is an incredible opportunity to make a positive impact on diversity, equity and inclusion on a campus already well-known for those values,” Dilworth said. “I enjoyed my visits to campus and meeting the leadership team, as well as many students and employees, and I look forward to working closely with the UAB family to capitalize on the exciting momentum that has been building over many years.”
The national search was led by a 19-member search committee made up of student, faculty, staff and community leaders and co-chaired by School of Medicine Associate Dean Mona Fouad, MD, professor of Preventive Medicine, and Collat School of Business Dean Eric Jack, Ph.D., Wells Fargo Endowed Chair in Business. Their time and dedication to this process yielded great results.
“Dean Jack and I are excited to have a visionary like Dr. Dilworth join UAB and know she will be an asset to the leadership team and the Birmingham community,” Fouad said. “The search committee was pleased with the caliber of candidates we reviewed, and the process that took place before the search was invaluable.”
|As vice president, Dilworth will report to the president as a member of the senior administrative team. She will have enterprise-wide responsibility for facilitating strategic initiatives to promote diversity excellence as a fundamental institutional and educational value in campus culture, operations, business practices and programming.|
UAB conducted a comprehensive assessment of the roles and functions of the UAB Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion before the search began. The assessment involved faculty and staff representatives of groups and programs that advocate for diversity on campus, members of the Faculty Senate, undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, and senior leadership.
UAB Chief Human Resources Officer Alesia Jones says it was important that all views were considered in laying the foundation to recruit a leader to this important role.
“More than 100 stakeholders have participated in these discussions,” Jones said. “We have an amazing opportunity to continue to be a frontrunner in terms of diversity and inclusion, and we worked with the UAB community so the diverse needs of this growing campus can be met.”
At Auburn, Dilworth remained active in professional, civic and higher-education organizations. She led the Access and Community Initiatives unit of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and provided leadership for staff engaged in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in areas including recruitment, retention and civic involvement. She also developed multicultural programs and services, built and strengthened partnerships on and off campus, and advanced academic support services for students.
Dilworth has also served as an associate professor in the School of Education at Indiana University–Bloomington, where she was also co-director of Project TEAM, supporting underrepresented groups and first-generation college students in STEM disciplines. Prior to that, Dilworth was at Emory University for 12 years, where she was director of Minority Affairs. A Selma, Alabama, native, she started her career in higher education at Florida A&M University, where she earned an undergraduate degree in political science. Dilworth holds a Master of Art degree in educational research and a Ph.D. in educational studies from Emory University.
When she begins work at UAB on Jan. 15, 2016, Dilworth will be the second person in the position created in 2003, with Louis Dale, Ph.D., having held the position with distinction since its inception and set to retire after 40 years at UAB.
For more information on UAB’s Diversity Program, visit uab.edu/equitydiversity.