Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Dear OSU Community Members,

I am writing to share that Dr. Charlene Alexander, Oregon State University vice president and chief diversity officer, has announced her plans to return to Ball State University for the exciting opportunity to help guide that institution as its chief strategy officer.

Charlene joined OSU in the summer of 2017 after serving as a Ball State professor for 16 years and as Ball State’s associate provost for diversity and interim associate vice president for community engagement for four years.

While at OSU, Charlene has contributed remarkably to the university by leading the creation and development of the Office of Institutional Diversity. Students, faculty and staff of color and all members of the university community have benefitted from Charlene’s contributions, leadership, care and compassion.

Collaborating with OSU campuses, colleges, divisions and departments, she has helped to advance the recruitment and retention of students from historically underrepresented communities; recruit and retain diverse faculty; foster an inclusive, safe and welcoming university community; and work with community leaders to promote equity, diversity and inclusion statewide. Charlene also co-chaired a public safety advisory committee made up of faculty, staff and students and worked with the OSU Foundation and OSU Alumni Association to advance philanthropic support for DEI efforts, student success programs and alumni engagement initiatives among underrepresented community members.

As she told me of her decision to return to Ball State, I was heartened to hear Charlene also share that she was “very pleased to see the many ways OSU’s leadership and community members have embraced DEI efforts.” She also offered that she is “confident the university is on a path to build on the work already underway.”

I share here a few examples of that progress and momentum occurring within OSU that have taken place over the past four years:

  • Oregon State has been recognized for three consecutive years as a national recipient of a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. Last year, only 91 universities nationally were granted this award.
  • Colleagues from the President and Provost’s Leadership Council on Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice are working with the President’s Office to advance more than 40 DEI initiatives within the university-wide effort called “Moving Forward Together.”
  • The university’s Strategic Plan 4.0 and OSU’s first comprehensive diversity strategic plan launched in 2018 make diversity and inclusion an essential foundation of the university’s land grant mission and provide for strategies and tactics already underway.
  • Along with the Office of Institutional Diversity, deans, academic leaders and faculty have created the Leading Change for Diversity Equity and Inclusion program to advance inclusion within colleges, schools and departments.
  • The Black Student Access & Success Initiative is providing university-wide student services and programs to contribute to the success of Black and African American students. In response, application rates among Black and African American students have increased and the number of students attending OSU has increased by 6.4% since 2017.

These and other university programs committed to diversity and inclusion will continue as we affirm that we have more work to do.

In the weeks ahead, I will gather nominations and input from faculty, staff, students and stakeholders, as well as self-nominations to inform my selection of an interim vice president and chief diversity officer. If you would like to nominate someone for the interim vice president role, please email pres.office@oregonstate.edu. My intention is to appoint an interim vice president by Sept. 17 and launch a national search for a permanent vice president and chief diversity officer in the months ahead.

Please join me in thanking Charlene for her many contributions while at OSU and in wishing her well at Ball State University. I am pleased that she will remain part of the OSU community and our efforts until Sept 17.

Sincerely,

Becky Johnson
Interim President