BY CATHERINE HINES – STAFF WRITER
On November 30, Centre officially adds Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs & Diversity Initiatives Dr. Rodmon King to its outstanding faculty and staff listing.. His title is long, but it gives a glimpse into how much he has on his plate coming into the Centre community. Dr. King has previously worked at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York, where he was a professor of Philosophy and served on several faculty committees. Given his previous administrative and teaching positions, he is ready to come to Centre and continue on the path of Dr. J.H. Atkins. This path includes a “commitment to a stronger, more diverse community,” Associate Professor of Philosophy Dr. Eva Cadavid said.
Cadavid was on the hiring committee and she said that “Dr. King’s background and his vision of diversity are among his strengths.” Included in his position is serving on the Curriculum and General Education Committees as well as being involved with students pursuing self-designed majors, course substitutions, and internships for academic credit. He will be working with various College departments on strategies for acquisition and retention of faculty and staff.
This endeavor will not be easy. The challenge is “getting all sorts of people involved, so that you do not just hire, but you retain them. A lot of work has to be done,” Dr. King said.
He will also be helping Centre College “develop and maintain a diverse culture as expressed in our Statement of Community,” Dr. Cadavid said.
“The key step [to increasing diversity] is to engage with members of the community and, through conversation, find what the climate is and what opportunities are present,” Dr. King said.
He has seen institutions where they have attempted to initiate change from the top down and he has noticed that the initiatives never reach the intended people.
“The key is to work from the ground up,” Dr. King said.
In his short time at Centre, Dr. King has noted several strengths of the College. These strengths include a strong and inviting community, and a deep sense of community among its members.
“President Roush has a real commitment to making manifest the initiatives that come from this endeavor,” Dr. King said.
Due to the demographics present, Centre may not be appealing to some and the best way to counter this is to “show that people are working and willing to change things,” Dr. King said.
When asked about Centre’s future with the addition of Dr. King in his new position, Dr. Cadavid noted that “considering that as a college we have been striving towards this goal for several years, one of the challenges we will face is that we will need to be patient. We need to have the climate survey done first and allow the office of diversity initiatives, and specifically Dr. King, to help us figure out how to proceed in a concerted and efficient way. We will also be challenged to think differently and to work toward having the diversity included among the values that inform our choices.”
For Dr. Cadavid, bringing Dr. King to the College shows that “Centre is ready to be a leader, yet again, and in the area of diversity and inclusivity.”
“As a College, we have been working toward that goal for several years now. Centre recently received a Mellon grant to support institutional diversity,” she said. “Dr. King will provide us the leadership and guidance we need to achieve our goal.”