SUNY Oswego Appoints Interim Diversity and Inclusion Officer

OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley has announced the appointment of Dr. Jerald Woolfolk as interim diversity and inclusion officer.

Dr. Jerald Woolfolk
Dr. Jerald Woolfolk

Woolfolk will continue to serve as Oswego’s vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, a position she assumed Jan. 1, 2014.

The college will soon begin a search to make a permanent appointment, Stanley said, and the search process will include wide representation of the college community.

“Dr. Woolfolk is an experienced and dynamic administrator who has a deep understanding of the complexity and multiple dimensions of diversity, inclusion and equity,” Stanley said. “She set about promoting an inclusive climate on our campus from the day she started here and assembled a Diversity and Inclusion Committee a year ago.”

As the college’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee began its work, one of the requests that came out of it from students last semester was that President Stanley appoint a diversity and inclusion officer.

On learning of Woolfolk’s appointment, senior Justin Brantley, a member of the committee, said, “From when Dr. Woolfolk arrived, she has been dedicated to changing the culture on our campus, ensuring that every student feels included in the university’s activities and appreciated for being a part of our community.”

Student Association President Tucker Sholtes added, “There couldn’t be a more appropriate person for the role as we move forward.”

The new diversity and inclusion officer will seek to make sure that no one at SUNY Oswego will be marginalized for any reason, whether age, class, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexual identity, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.

The position will be responsible for assessing and monitoring the campus climate, leading the college in implementing a comprehensive diversity and inclusion initiative aligned with the college’s strategic plan, and monitoring and reporting on progress in achieving diversity and inclusion objectives.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher in January called for every campus in the university system to appoint a chief diversity officer in line with the system’s commitment to advance “Power of SUNY” diversity goals and increase student access, retention and success at all SUNY institutions.

Brantley, who is also director of multicultural affairs for Oswego’s Student Association, expressed his confidence in the direction SUNY Oswego is going, “Though Dr. Woolfolk holds the position in an interim capacity, I know that she, President Stanley and Mr. Howard Gordon will be working around the clock in a national search to secure a chief diversity officer on Oswego’s campus for years to come.”

Gordon is executive assistant to the president.

About Jerald Woolfolk

Woolfolk previously was vice president for student affairs, enrollment management and diversity at Mississippi Valley State University and, before that, vice president for student affairs at CUNY’s College of Staten Island.

She received her doctorate in urban higher education from Jackson State University in Mississippi.

She began her career as a counselor at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where she rose to associate dean of students for residential life. Her bachelor’s degree in psychology is from Jackson State, and her master’s degree in counselor education is from Iowa State University.