Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud!
$30M grant for Center for Shared Prosperity to support new model for collaboration between community members and university.
Carnegie Mellon University and The Heinz Endowments announced a sweeping initiative to leverage the university's internationally recognized strengths in applied research to address longstanding barriers to equity and foster economic empowerment in the greater Pittsburgh region. The Center for Shared Prosperity aims to create a sustainable and replicable model for community-university collaboration, with a focus on deploying solutions for socio-economic inequities and making measurable progress toward greater economic prosperity and overall well-being of residents.
The Heinz Endowments has committed $30 million over six years to the initiative, which will fund the creation and launch of the center as well as initial real-world projects that are identified by community partners and that are grounded in community. The grant, the largest in The Endowments' history, includes funding to develop, pilot and scale region-wide interventions to identify and address structural barriers to access and opportunity. A portion of the grant will be used to establish an endowment to support the center's work in perpetuity.
"As a university- and community-wide effort, The Center for Shared Prosperity will apply a comprehensive methodology to CMU's engagement across Western Pennsylvania and will leverage our unique expertise to help residents benefit from the innovation economy," said Farnam Jahanian, CMU president (pictured). "The Heinz Endowments and CMU have worked together for decades on projects that support Pittsburghers, and this new initiative will expand our community collaborations at a particularly critical moment. With both the pandemic and the rapid pace of technological change contributing to a widening opportunity gap, the solutions proposed through The Center for Shared Prosperity will help our region address societal barriers and will also serve as a model that can be replicated in communities across the country. We are grateful to The Heinz Endowments and its board for their generous support and partnership."
At the heart of the initiative is a new model of collaboration that unites the expertise of both the community and the university. The recently formed Center Community Committee will be charged with identifying specific equity, economic and social justice challenges facing the Pittsburgh region that will be the focus of the center's work, including in areas such as housing, education, transportation, healthcare, technology fluency and access to capital. It will include representation from Western Pennsylvania community organizations and residents; CMU faculty, staff and students; and Heinz Endowments staff.
For additional insight about The Center for Shared Prosperity, listen to a new "We Can Be" podcast episode, hosted by The Heinz Endowments, featuring a conversation between Endowments' President Grant Oliphant, Carnegie Mellon University's Illah Nourbakhsh, and Requeeb Bey, Center for Shared Prosperity community advisory committee member and executive director of Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh.
Nourbakhsh is the K&L Gates Professor of Ethics and Computational Technologies at The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon, where he heads the Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment Lab — better known as the CREATE Lab. Bey also leads Mama Africa’s Green Scouts, a grassroots organization that works with underserved youth to encourage awareness of green education, environmental sustainability and social justice.
Announcing The Center for Shared Prosperity
I am thrilled to announce a sweeping initiative, in partnership with The Heinz Endowments, which will leverage the university’s research to help address barriers to equity and foster economic empowerment in the greater Pittsburgh region.
“One of this region’s biggest strengths is how we come together to solve problems and address challenges. Eliminating barriers and finding solutions to inequality for all in Allegheny County remains a priority for all of us.” — County Executive Rich Fitzgerald
In turn, solution-oriented working groups composed of community members and CMU participants across multiple disciplines will partner to study these issues, identify structural barriers to access and opportunity, and develop and implement social and technical innovations that address them. These working groups will harness community members' lived experiences and skills, alongside CMU experts in areas where the university leads, including data science, public policy, technology, humanities and the social sciences.
The Center for Shared Prosperity stems partly from discussions between Carnegie Mellon and The Heinz Endowments that began three years ago. Convinced that the Pittsburgh region's path to a sustainable economic future depends heavily on the people, discoveries and enterprises connected with its major research universities, The Endowments was considering major support for CMU — but only if the work would intentionally include the local community and its social, environmental and economic challenges.
"Around the world, a relative handful of major research institutions, Carnegie Mellon among them, are literally inventing the future, with significant global benefits and impacts," said Grant Oliphant, president of The Endowments. "But too rarely are local communities and complex social needs the real beneficiary or even the focus of the knowledge, creativity and wealth-creation flowing from these extraordinary engines of innovation. We wanted to see if Pittsburgh could reinvent that paradigm, and Carnegie Mellon — with its long history of tackling real-world problems — has risen to the challenge."
He added: "This center will put the innovation talents of one of the world's best universities in service to community, and at the same time harness the insights of community on behalf of better innovation. We also hope it will send a signal to peer institutions nationally and globally that they too have a role to play in making sure the prosperity they help create is shared more broadly and equitably. Worsening inequality and social inequity are not inevitable byproducts of innovation, only failures of intention and imagination."
The initiative is ambitious in scope, speed and transparency. Multiple working groups tackling critical issues will be launched within its first year, with interventions developed and piloted in the community within months of the groups' founding. Publicly available stories that illustrate the projects' progress, using multimedia, CMU's EarthTime data visualization tool and voices from the community will be regularly published on the web. The center plans to rely on, and engage, expertise from across all of CMU's schools and colleges, as well as interested alumni.
"Through its unique model of collaboration in which community members and university faculty and staff work together as peers, and the development and distribution of social and technological innovations with real-world applications, the center will help to dismantle barriers to shared prosperity and equity," said CMU Professor Illah Nourbakhsh, who will serve as the center's inaugural executive director. "The Center for Shared Prosperity will be laser-focused on creating direct, sustainable impact on Pittsburgh by bringing research into practice."
For example, recently Nourbakhsh's Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment Lab (CREATE Lab) and its community partners used EarthTime to demonstrate how high rates of mortgage application denials and sharply increasing rental prices are impacting the ability of vulnerable populations to live and prosper in Pittsburgh. In partnership with The Heinz Endowments and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, the team is now working on innovations to make mortgage programs more equitable, such as ensuring debt from education does not disqualify individuals from accessing home financing.
Center Community Committee Members
Edith Abeyta, Arts Excursion Unlimited
Carmen Anderson, The Heinz Endowments
Raqueeb Bey, Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-Op
Rachel Burcin, CMU
Gina Casalegno, CMU
Laura Chu Wiens, Pittsburghers for Public Transit
Amil Cook, Propel Schools
Mark Dixon, Blue Lens
Bonnie Fan, CMU
Helen Gerhardt, Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance
Daniella Greeman, CMU
Elaine Harris-Fulton, Wilkinsburg Family Support Center
Kristin Hughes, CMU
Alex Jackson, CMU
Rochelle Jackson, Black Women's Policy Agenda
Crystal Jennings, Penn Plaza Support and Action Coalition
Ayana Ledford, CMU
Mark Lewis, POISE Foundation
Sera Linardi, University of Pittsburgh
Melisa Martinez, CMU
Nadine Masagara-Taylor, The Corner
Andrew McElwaine, The Heinz Endowments
Melanie Meade, Valley for Clean Air Now
Terri Minor-Spencer, West End P.O.W.E.R.
Wasi Mohamed, The Pittsburgh Foundation
Lisa Oguike, CMU
Florence Rouzier, PACE
Mónica Ruiz-Caraballo, Casa San José
Terri Shields, JADA House International
Nico Slate, CMU
Guillermo Velazquez, Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation
Taris Vrcek, McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation
Stan Waddell, CMU
NaTisha Washington, One Pennsylvania
Scott Wolovich, New Sun Rising
Jasiri X, 1Hood Media
“Our universities have been the engines of economic growth for Pittsburgh. I applaud this effort to focus on innovations that can create a more equitable future for all.” — Mayor Bill Peduto
The Center for Shared Prosperity represents a significant step forward on the university's commitment to deeper engagement with, and economic empowerment of, the broader Pittsburgh community. It also builds on a foundation of community engagement developed over the years by countless faculty, staff, students and alumni working with, and for, CMU's neighbors.
"What most excites me about the Center for Shared Prosperity is the tangible commitment from one of Pittsburgh's anchor institutions to be part of the solutions," said Jamil Bey, president and CEO of the UrbanKind Institute, an organization that has worked with Nourbakhsh and that is leading the collaboration behind the Equitable and Just Greater Pittsburgh platform, which is helping to guide the center's work. "By investing in community-driven goals and priorities, and providing funding to test and scale these solutions, it can create momentum that could begin to create needed structural change."
"Through the Center for Shared Prosperity, I hope we can come together and show other communities that we did it," said Terri Shields, executive director of JADA House International and member of the Center Community Committee. "We may not always agree, but we'll respect each other's opinions, get done what we need to do for Pittsburgh, and set an example for other cities."
While it will focus on issues of local importance, the Center for Shared Prosperity aims to become a national model for university-community engagement and the translation of research into practical actions for impact.
"The issues facing Pittsburgh are perhaps unique, yet our work to find solutions can provide an opportunity to share our approach and outcomes with regions across the country facing their own challenges," Nourbakhsh said. "We hope that the center's approach and continuing evolution will help catalyze other university-community collaborations as they work to advance a more equitable future."
Unanimous Vote of Approval from the Board Follows a National Search for the Next President of Carlow
Carlow University is pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees has named Kathy W. Humphrey, PhD, as the 11th President of Carlow University. She was recommended to the Board by the Presidential Search Committee following a national search. The Board’s vote was unanimous.
“After a robust national search, Dr. Humphrey emerged as an extraordinary leader who will propel Carlow into the future,” said Board Chair Dorothy A. Davis JD. “Her dynamic vision will inspire and motivate Carlow students, faculty, and the larger University community with her courageous voice, effective skills and engaged involvement.
Dr. Humphrey comes to Carlow with 30 years of leadership experience in higher education, a deep commitment to student success and experience, and a strong allegiance to Carlow’s core Catholic Mercy values, especially regarding matters of social justice, equity and inclusion.
Carlow President Suzanne K. Mellon said Dr. Humphrey is the right person at the right time to lead the University forward. “She understands the important role Carlow plays in the Pittsburgh region and will continue to build upon this progressive, innovative institution rooted in the values of our founders,” Mellon said.
“I am elated and honored to have been asked to lead an institution so committed to providing transformational learning opportunities for its students,” said Dr. Humphrey. “Carlow’s commitment to ensuring its students are career-ready and prepared to lead a merciful and just world is an inspiration, and that mission is among the primary reasons I chose to work higher education.”
Dr. Humphrey is currently Senior Vice Chancellor for Student Engagement and Secretary to the Board at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is also an Associate Professor of Education. She was recruited to the University of Pittsburgh in 2005 to serve as Vice Provost and Dean of Students. She has led major initiatives to enhance Pitt’s campus environment with a particular focus on dismantling systemic racism and creating a “more just Pitt,” and she has been at the forefront of expanding Pitt’s community engagement efforts.
Prior to coming to Pittsburgh, Dr. Humphrey served in numerous senior posts at Saint Louis University in Saint Louis, MO, including Vice President of Student Development and Associate Vice Provost and Director of Housing and Student Life at Saint Louis University. She also held positions at the University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO, and The University of Missouri, Kansas City, MO.
Dr. Humphrey is very engaged in the Pittsburgh community and currently serves on several regional boards. Among them she is Chair of the Board of the Forbes Fund; Chair of the Program Committee for the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh; Board member at Leadership Pittsburgh where she served as Chair from 2018-2020; and a Board member of Gwen’s Girls and the Blood Science Foundation. Dr. Humphrey is also a faithful member of Macedonia On The Hill in Pittsburgh.
Dr. Humphrey holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO; a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Missouri in Kansas City, MO; and a PhD in Educational Leadership, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO. She has numerous certificates from Harvard University and other institutions and is a fellow of the International Women’s Forum.
“I think Carlow is fortunate to have found such an exceptional leader who will inspire and motivate our Carlow students, faculty, and larger community with her courageous voice, effective skills and engaged involvement in support of our Mercy mission of service. She will ensure our legacy of academic excellence, particularly in the health sciences, while maintaining our foundation in the liberal arts, and providing a pipeline of exceptional graduates to the work force,” Davis said.
Shady Side Academy has announced the appointment of Sean Simmons as its next director of athletics, effective this summer at a date to be determined. Simmons will succeed Gene Deal, who will conclude his highly successful 31-year run as AD this summer to assume a new role at SSA as alumni engagement officer.
“I am very pleased to accept the position of Director of Athletics at Shady Side Academy,” said Simmons. “I would like to thank President Bart Griffith and the entire SSA community – faculty, staff, coaches, parents, and trustees – for the opportunity to lead the Athletic Department. I look forward to working together with the community to advance the Academy’s mission of challenging students to think expansively, act ethically, and lead responsibly.”
Simmons is currently director of athletics for the Pine-Richland School District, where he oversees one of Western Pennsylvania’s outstanding athletic programs. Pine-Richland has won multiple WPIAL and PIAA championships under his leadership, including the 2020 PIAA 6A title in football and WPIAL 3A title in field hockey. Additionally, Simmons established both the PR Athletic Hall of Fame and the PR Academy for Coaches, an innovative program that supports the professional development of the district’s coaches.
Prior to Pine-Richland, Simmons served for more than a decade as an associate athletic director at Robert Morris University, contributing to the most successful period for athletics in the school’s history. Prior to RMU, he spent four years as an academic coordinator for student-athletes at the University of Virginia, facilitating learning support for UVA’s varsity teams and liaising between Virginia’s athletic department and teaching faculty.
Simmons is a longtime devotee of independent schools, and he worked for six years in his early career at The Hun School of Princeton, an independent day and boarding school for grades 6-12 in Princeton, N.J. While at Hun, he taught math, coached soccer, basketball, and track, and served as an advisor, dorm parent and diversity coordinator. Simmons is also a past independent school parent, as the oldest of his three children attended a New England boarding school.
“In Sean, we add a proven, established leader to our team, someone who will preserve Shady Side’s most important traditions while guiding SSA athletics forward towards a dynamic, exciting future,” said Academy President Bart Griffith ’93. “Sean’s kindness, integrity, and humble confidence have earned him the respect of students, coaches, and his fellow athletic directors across our region.”
Born in Trinidad, Simmons earned a Bachelor of Science degree in finance at Seton Hall University, where he was a member of the men’s track and field team and won the Big East indoor and outdoor 400-meter titles. He then went on to earn his Master of Science degree in athletic administration from James Madison University.
Sean and his wife, Tawanna, have three children: Jarrod, a senior and captain of the men’s basketball team at the University of Pennsylvania; Sanaea, a freshman and women’s volleyball player at the College of the Holy Cross; and Amailia (Molly to family and friends), a junior at Moon Area High School who recently committed to play women’s volleyball at the University of Michigan.
Simmons’ appointment as Shady Side’s next AD culminates a national search that began in October and produced an accomplished, qualified pool of finalists.
The Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) is pleased to announce that Mr. Michael Jones has been hired as the organization’s new director of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). In his capacity as a member of the AIU’s Executive Leadership Team, Mr. Jones will design and implement organization-wide DEI efforts and help shape a healthy and inclusive culture where everyone can grow and thrive. He will also serve school districts and deliver DEI learning opportunities to educators in Allegheny County.
The new executive-level position is part of the AIU’s larger effort to provide leadership in the area of
diversity, equity and inclusion. The AIU’s Board of Directors unanimously approved Mr. Jones’
appointment at its February 22 meeting. He is scheduled to begin on March 22.
A committed agent of change, Mr. Jones currently works as a senior associate within the Campus and
Emerging Talent programs at BNY Mellon, performing recruiting and diversity management
activities. Outside of his professional duties, Mr. Jones has served as the Pittsburgh regional co-chair
of IMPACT, an employee resource group for promoting the advancement of multi-ethnic/racial
employees within the region. Mr. Jones previously held positions in higher education in both
enrollment management and career development. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music therapy from
Seton Hill University and a master’s degree in social work from California University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Robert Scherrer, executive director, said that Mr. Jones brings to the organization a deep
understanding of diversity challenges and will serve as a thought leader and influencer as educators in
the region work toward establishing equitable and inclusive learning environments where all students
“As a public education organization, the AIU must be able to assist school districts and organizations in our region as we work together to overcome overt and systemic forms of racism and discrimination. I believe that the creation of this new position will allow us to provide leadership and support in this area,” he said.
PPG (NYSE: PPG) and the PPG Foundation today announces a commitment to invest $20 million by 2025 to address systemic racism and advance racial equity in the U.S. by funding educational pathways for Black communities and people of color. The commitment strengthens PPG’s focus on education – a priority giving area for PPG and the PPG Foundation – and furthers its support of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
“We aim to reach diverse students and communities to champion change and empower historically underrepresented populations with greater opportunities to achieve brighter futures,” said Malesia Dunn, executive director, (pictured) PPG Foundation and corporate global social responsibility. “Through this important commitment, we will prioritize equity and justice within education to close the racial gaps in STEM learning and careers, and help our society meet collective challenges quickly, creatively and effectively.”
The $20 million investment reflects commitments to support:
Advanced STEM education and career development - Supporting Black people and people of color who are pursuing advanced studies in engineering, chemistry and data science by funding scholarships, and academic and career counseling programs. PPG will focus on programs that promote inclusion, provide professional development and build bridges that enable middle and high school students to successfully pursue advanced learning opportunities and STEM careers.
K-12 STEM education - Encouraging interest among more Black students, and students of color, through hands-on STEM experiences in afterschool programs, camps and in-school settings, as well as mentoring and career exposure.
Social justice - Supporting new partners dedicated to social justice that were identified in collaboration with PPG’s employee resource networks (ERNs). PPG will support a range of social justice initiatives that focus on civil rights, criminal justice reform and the cultural heritage of Black communities and people of color.
Beautifying diverse communities - Increasing the number of PPG COLORFUL COMMUNITIES® projects that impact diverse communities.
Ongoing impact opportunities - Funding additional opportunities impacting Black and people of color populations that will be identified in collaboration with PPG employees, leaders and community partners, on an ongoing basis.
The PPG Foundation will direct at least 25% of diversity funding to organizations serving the company’s global headquarters community of Pittsburgh. It also will continue to invest more than 50% of its U.S.-based grantmaking to support causes that focus on Black communities and people of color, veterans, women, LGBTQ+ populations, economically disadvantaged individuals and families, and people with disabilities.
The community engagement commitment supplements PPG’s actions to further progress diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) companywide. PPG will continue to identify additional opportunities to ensure support to underrepresented groups around the world.
“At PPG, we believe in DE&I and have long upheld these values throughout our company and community engagement efforts to create stronger, more sustainable communities,” said Marvin Mendoza, global head, DE&I, PPG. “Our new community engagement commitments build upon PPG’s purpose to protect and beautify the world and align with our practices to create an equal and just society.”
In 2020, PPG continued its focus on DE&I across the company. In response to George Floyd’s death and the widespread civil rights movement that followed, the PPG Foundation made initial investments in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund, the Center for Policing Equity and the Equal Justice Initiative. In November 2020, the company appointed Mendoza to design, lead and execute PPG’s global DE&I vision and strategy, and leverage data-driven insights to accelerate the company’s DE&I agenda. PPG also relaunched and expanded its ERNs, providing employees with more opportunities to share ideas, learn from one another, and leverage the unique skills, experiences and perspectives of the PPG team.
PPG’s global community engagement efforts and the PPG Foundation aim to bring color and brightness to PPG communities around the world. We invested more than $11 million in 2019, supporting hundreds of organizations across 38 countries. By investing in educational opportunities, we help grow today’s skilled workforce and develop tomorrow’s innovators in fields related to coatings and manufacturing. Plus, we empower PPG employees to multiply their impact for causes that are important to them by supporting their volunteer efforts and charitable giving. Learn more at communities.ppg.com.
Denele, a Homewood native who holds degrees from University of Pittsburgh (B.A.) and Carnegie Mellon University (Master of Science, Public Policy & Management), is currently Grow Pittsburgh’s Director of Farm Education and has been with the organization for more than five years. In that time, she has been integral to expanding food access initiatives across Allegheny County, strengthening relationships with the community, and leading efforts to expand programs and seedling production at Grow Pittsburgh’s newest urban farm site, Garden Dreams Urban Farm & Nursery in Wilkinsburg.
“It has been such an honor and privilege to work at Grow Pittsburgh over the last five years with an amazing staff and community partners,” Denele said. “I am looking forward to stepping into this leadership role and continuing Grow Pittsburgh’s work to ensure everyone benefits from urban agriculture and has access to fresh produce.”
An exciting new phase of growth is already in progress with new greenhouse construction and site redevelopment underway at Garden Dreams. Denele will lead the completion of this project, which will increase capacity for urban farmers and gardeners by creating an agriculture hub and social enterprise in Wilkinsburg that will be home to a retail seedling business, new greenhouse space, youth job training program, an urban farmer workshare program, and an educational workshop series that will support the strong network of gardeners and urban farmers throughout Allegheny County for generations to come.
“We were looking for a leader who would build on the organization’s 15-year track record of seeding the work of urban agriculture in the region,” said Anne Marie Toccket, Chair of the Grow Pittsburgh Board of Directors. “After a national search, we were pleased to find that we needed to look no further than our own backyard: Denele Hughson, with her passion for our mission, extensive experience in farm education and production in our community, and can-do attitude for our next phase of growth, was the natural choice to be the next Executive Director.”
Grow Pittsburgh also bids a fond farewell to our outgoing Executive Director, Jake Seltman. “The board of directors thanks Jake for his years of passion, service, and vision at Grow Pittsburgh,” Toccket added. “Under his leadership, the organization grew in its financial position, internal culture and values, and became a household name in the work of backyard, schoolyard, and community gardening in Pittsburgh. His legacy is one that Grow Pittsburgh will benefit from for decades to come.”
Jake will be working closely with Denele early in this year to ensure a smooth transition. We are excited to have Denele take the lead on January 19, 2021.
After a comprehensive national search, Wanda Heading-Grant has been selected as Carnegie Mellon University's inaugural vice provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and chief diversity officer. Heading-Grant, who is currently vice president for DEI at the University of Vermont, will begin her new role at Carnegie Mellon on April 1. She will also hold a faculty appointment as Distinguished Service Professor in the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy.
During her 30-year tenure at the University of Vermont, Heading-Grant has advised senior leadership on essential policies, programs and strategies to achieve inclusive excellence while ensuring every member of the university community received the support necessary to thrive. She established programs and policies fundamental to the advancement of DEI, including tools to enhance and innovate employee performance and professional development opportunities.
Heading-Grant has been widely recognized for her dedication to social justice issues, her sponsorship of women leaders in higher education and her strong leadership that promotes well-being in the workplace and in the classroom.
Carnegie Mellon first committed in 2019 to establish a new vice provost position to lead a university-wide office dedicated to providing accountability, leadership and resources for DEI initiatives. In July 2020, CMU President Farnam Jahanian furthered this commitment as part of numerous actions in the university's official pledge to Confront Racism and Promote Equity and Inclusion.
“Bringing about a more diverse, inclusive and equitable future for Carnegie Mellon University requires sustained engagement from every member of this community and the commitment of university leadership at every level,” said Jahanian. “As a well-respected advocate and leader in higher education, Dr. Wanda Heading-Grant is a critical addition to the university leadership team and an invaluable asset to our community during this important journey. I look forward to relying on her significant expertise as we work towards ensuring all students, faculty and staff can find a sense of belonging at CMU and feel pride in our institution’s role in promoting a more equitable world.”
"The vice provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plays an integral role in promoting inclusivity and diversity, challenging the status quo and maintaining a robust dialogue centered around anti-racist practices and the research that supports it," said Carnegie Mellon Provost James H. Garrett Jr. "With a wealth of experience both professionally and with non-profit organizations and civil rights advisory committees, I am confident Dr. Heading-Grant will provide the strong leadership necessary to enact real and lasting changes in how CMU addresses racism, classism, sexism and the language of othering."
As the university's chief diversity officer, Heading-Grant will be instrumental in long-range DEI planning and implementation. This includes coordinating with each of the academic and administrative units in overseeing their five-year strategic DEI plans and college-based commitments. She also will oversee the Office of Title IX Initiatives and jointly oversee the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion with the Division of Student Affairs.
"What most attracted me to this role was Carnegie Mellon's willingness to identify the many isms that plague our society and name the echoes of oppression and privilege that still exists in our communities," Heading-Grant said. "There aren't many institutions of higher education that take this important first step of committing to the eradication and dismantling of racism. Throughout the search process it was clear to me that CMU had something quite special — an earnest charge to tackle and combat racism combined with a real desire to take their commitments to the next level through concrete action."
The creation of the new vice provost role came after months of educational preparation and listening, both within the university administration and across the broader campus community.
"Carnegie Mellon is so very fortunate to have attracted Dr. Heading-Grant to serve as its inaugural vice provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion," said Linda Babcock, Social and Decisions Sciences Department head and James M. Walton Professor in Economics in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, who served as co-chair of the vice provost search committee. "Her vast experience leading change in the academy, her passion for and commitment to creating an anti-racist culture, and her ability to build trust and develop strong relationships among a diverse set of stakeholders make her an ideal choice for this important new role at CMU."
"In addition to Dr. Heading-Grant's extensive leadership experience, her support for and hands on approach to professional development in support of social justice goals, and her successful efforts to create bridges to communities external to the university greatly impressed the committee members and the community members who interviewed her, affirming her exemplary qualifications for our inaugural VP-DEI position," said fellow search committee co-chair Eric Anderson, associate professor in the School of Design and senior associate dean of the College of Fine Arts.
"Throughout the search process it was clear to me that CMU had something quite special — an earnest charge to tackle and combat racism combined with a real desire to take their commitments to the next level through concrete action." — Wanda Heading-Grant
"Dr. Heading-Grant is a highly regarded influencer and transformative leader for inclusive excellence and understands the importance of intersectionality in student engagement and has a legacy of uplifting student voices," said M. Shernell Smith, associate dean and executive director of the CMU Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion. "She stood out in the selection process as a trusted, highly visible and transparent leader who traverses the campus community with a lens focused on equity and collaborative learning. She models restorative justice practices in her daily interactions at the University of Vermont and I am very excited to see how our Carnegie Mellon DEI values will be realized under her leadership."
Shawn Blanton, the Trustee Professor of Electrical and Computing Engineering, has served as interim vice provost since September 2020. He will return to his role as a full-time faculty member in the College of Engineering this coming summer.
"We are grateful to professor Blanton for his willingness to serve in this interim role," Garrett said. "Shawn oversaw the expansion of our GEM fellowship program to meet the unique needs of underrepresented professional master's and doctoral students in all seven colleges and schools at the university. In addition, his focus on expansion of CMU's local community engagement provides a solid foundation for ongoing efforts to attract and retain underrepresented students from the Pittsburgh area as undergraduates."
"I also want to thank the search committee — and especially Eric, Linda and Associate Provost Becky Culyba who served as co-chairs — for their outstanding efforts throughout the process," Garrett added. "The committee's exceptional guidance and vision have allowed us to welcome the ideal leader for our new Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion."
Carnegie Mellon University is committed to the principle of equity as a partner to excellence as the foundation for ensuring that faculty, staff and students have the opportunity to succeed and to thrive at the university. To nurture and sustain this commitment, Carnegie Mellon strives to be a diverse community that reflects the gender, racial, ethnic and other demographic profiles of its regional, national and global constituencies.
Port Authority of Allegheny County announced today that human resources veteran Fonda Dusé has been chosen to fill its newly created position of director of diversity and inclusion.
She began her role on January 11.
Ms. Dusé is charged with implementing and leading Port Authority's agency-wide equity and inclusion strategy and program development; bringing external and emerging trends into the agency's cultural environment; analyzing current programs and policies to present recommendations for improvement; and developing and promoting training programs to enhance employee understanding on inclusion issues.
She reports to Inez Colon, Port Authority's chief human resources officer, as well as CEO Katharine Kelleman.
"The creation of this role was a critical step toward identifying, addressing and improving equity within our organization, and it will not be the last,” Kelleman said. “Through Fonda’s work we will initiate meaningful change that we hope will foster a safe, supportive and productive environment for all of our employees and the community we serve.
“We are very excited to bring Fonda on board. Her success is our success.”
Ms. Dusé has nearly two decades of human resources experience. She has successfully created, developed and implemented diversity and inclusion initiatives for 11 organizations in five different industries, including transportation and other government-regulated companies, and has developed multiple training programs, including a program on Diversity Awareness. Prior to joining Port Authority, she served as principal of her own company, iHR Pro LLC.
Ms. Dusé earned her bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and her Master’s degree in Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations from Saint Francis University. She also holds several certifications in HR-related areas.
Dr. Alaine Allen will join Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering as the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. As CMU Engineering’s new full-time chief diversity officer, Allen will foster an inclusive environment and welcoming culture to advance the college and university mission in DEI. She will also work closely with Engineering department heads and their department DEI committees, supporting department-level DEI initiatives and developing anti-racist practices.
“I am delighted for Alaine to join the College of Engineering as our new Associate Dean for DEI,” said Bill Sanders, dean of the College of Engineering. “Alaine is a professional practitioner with longstanding experience in DEI coupled with formal training in this field.”
Allen joins the college from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering where she has held a variety of leadership roles focused on broadening participation in science and engineering for individuals from historically underrepresented groups. She most recently served as the director of educational outreach and community engagement for the school and co-PI of the NSF INCLUDES Alliance: STEM Pathways for Underrepresented Students to HigherEd (PUSH) Network.
“Alaine is a wonderful fit for the College of Engineering with deep connections to the Pittsburgh region, as well as associations with several national professional organizations,” said Jon Cagan, professor of mechanical engineering and chair of the search advisory committee.
“We are excited for Alaine to build on the college’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to date and bring her considerable experience to bear on our DEI goals in this new and critical role in the College of Engineering,” said Sanders. Allen will begin her new role on February 1.
Robert James previously served as supplier diversity director for the enterprise
(Jan. 11, 2021) — Highmark Health today announced the appointment of Robert James, JD, MBA, MHA, as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. James joined Highmark Health in 2015 as supplier diversity director and has steadily grown the program to become one of the top award-winning supplier diversity programs in the Americas, as recognized by industry peers through the Procurement Leaders Americas Supplier Diversity and Inclusion Award.
In his new capacity, James will work closely with Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew, MD, MEd, MPPM, FACOG, who serves as Allegheny Health Network's Chief Clinical Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. James will implement and advise upon Highmark Health's enterprise-wide diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, while Dr. Larkins-Pettigrew will focus her efforts across AHN to shape an inclusive workplace culture and further establish the network's strong commitment to workforce diversity, cultural competency, and equitable health care delivery and outcomes.
Prior to joining Highmark Health, James served as CEO of a diversity and inclusion consulting firm and in an advisory role with the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A practicing lawyer for more than 20 years, he spent several years facilitating Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) financings nationally for capital projects through a U.S. Department of Education program.
"As a leader in health care, we are committed to being a diverse and inclusive organization at its core, to closing the health disparity gap, and to actively investing in people, suppliers and communities of color," said Larry Kleinman, Highmark Health Chief Human Resources Officer. "Robert’s vast experience and deliberate approach will be invaluable in driving forward a measureable and comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion strategy."
James was named a Top 30 Champions of Diversity by Diversity Plus Magazine in 2018. He is currently an active member of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf's Advisory Council for Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities and serves as a member of its Executive Committee. James has a Master of Business and a Master of Health Administration from the University of Pittsburgh, a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor of Arts from Boston College. He is also a graduate of the inaugural class of Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business/The Advanced Leadership Institute (TALI) Executive Leadership Academy.
The City of Pittsburgh is following up on Mayor William Peduto’s commitment to make city leadership more reflective of Pittsburgh’s diversity as a whole.
New numbers based on an internal review of hiring show the Mayor’s Office is 54% Female, 46% Male, 42% Black, 42% White and 15% Asian.
Of the Mayor’s 198 appointments to boards and commissions, the breakdown is 61% Female, 39% Male, 58% White, 36% Black, 4% Asian and 2% Lantinx.
The full Peduto administration, including department directors and assistant directors, is 51% Male and 49% Female. By race the administration is 62% White, 30% Black, 7% Asian and 3% Latinx.
The City’s largest department, Public Safety, is 64% Male, 36% Female, 71% White and 29% Black.
“We still have far to go, but I am happy that our efforts to promote diversity and equity within City government are paying off. I want to thank all of our hard-working employees and board and commission volunteers for their public service,” Mayor Peduto said.
Source: City of Pittsburgh
Interim Vice Provost for DEI emphasizes importance of recruiting
Computer Engineering in his 26th year at Carnegie Mellon is teaching, advising six Ph.D. students — with a few more on their way — and leading a research group pursuing a National Science Foundation grant to create technologies that help to serve the underserved.
A full plate, for sure, but when university leadership came calling days after announcing 34 action items to promote equity and inclusion, he felt compelled to accept.
“This is something I’m passionate about,” said Blanton, who was asked to serve as Interim Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “We have a lot of work to do, but over the last several years, there’s not only a recognition that something’s got to be done, for the first time there are significant resources being provided to make it happen.”
Blanton has helped make it happen in the College of Engineering as a member of its DEI Planning Committee. Now, he’s bringing his expertise to the university level with a focus on increasing diversity among faculty and students, and expanding CMU’s engagement with the Pittsburgh community.
The College of Engineering has been successful attracting minorities by taking a proactive approach, Blanton said. Faculty and staff have become recruiters at conferences, such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Convention, and have been seeking out opportunities and avenues to expand their search process.
“Alabama football and Duke basketball don’t sit back and wait for superstars to show up at their door. They’re out there fiercely recruiting the best athletes. We have to do the same thing,” said Blanton, who has been recognized by US Black Engineer for his leadership in recruiting.
The College of Engineering has doubled its investment in the Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship program at the University of California, which provides academic and research opportunities for women and minorities. Seven Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows have come to CMU and two have accepted faculty positions.
“We have a lot of work to do, but ... for the first time there are significant resources being provided to make it happen.”
Engineering also is a member of the national GEM Consortium, a clearinghouse for prospective minority graduate students. Blanton said Engineering had the most GEM grad students last two years and received the nonprofit’s biggest honor.
“This is a huge accomplishment, and we’re going to easily double that number over the next year,” he said. “All our peers, MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, Georgia Tech and Michigan are GEM members. But we’re number one.”
Blanton credits Provost Jim Garrett, former dean of the College of Engineering, Jon Cagan, former interim dean of the College of Engineering, and a team of committed department heads for the success. He’s looking forward to spreading the progress across campus.
“The School of Computer Science, Mellon College of Science, Heinz College and the Tepper School all have technical STEM programs and they can easily jump into what Engineering has done over the last several years. I’ve talked to several deans already, and there’s enthusiasm there. They want to see this happen,” he said.
Blanton plans to brainstorm with the Office of Admission on ways to engage and follow up with prospective undergraduate minority students from Pittsburgh Public Schools.
“If we can get Pittsburgh students excited, the next step would be creating a pipeline so they follow through with the application process.”
“I’m wondering if they know the stars of Hamilton and Star Trek 2 went to CMU,” he said. “If we can get Pittsburgh students excited, the next step would be creating a pipeline so they follow through with the application process.”
Local community engagement is another way to help recruit Pittsburgh students. Blanton hopes to have more Pittsburghers — students and parents — on campus after the pandemic.
“There are such amazing things here, from robotics to drama. You have Oscar winners on one side of campus and Nobel laureates on the other, and everything in between. It would be very powerful if we get this community to know more about this place,” he said.
Blanton also wants to increase awareness and expand the reach of CMU’s high school and summer programs post-pandemic.
“I’m a data guy,” he said, “so I’d like to see once they have awareness, are they utilizing the programs, and if not, why not. Are there barriers to these opportunities? If they engage, is it successful for them? Our ultimate goal is they end up at CMU as their next step in education.”
Blanton is encouraged about the current climate at CMU. He said it’s important for the community to become more aware of the efforts taking place and the opportunities to participate.
“A lot has happened, and a lot is happening. I’m very optimistic,” he said.
Shawn Blanton’s work in DEI is informing his research.
Dr. Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew, Nationally Recognized Leader in Diversity and Global Health, Joins Network from Case Western University.
Allegheny Health Network (AHN) today announced the appointment of Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew, MD, MEd, MPPM, FACOG, as the health system's first Chief Clinical Diversity & Inclusion Officer (CCDIO). Effective December 1, Dr. Larkins-Pettigrew joins AHN from University Hospitals/Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, where she currently serves as Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chair of Clinical Diversity and Inclusion and Assistant Dean of Students.
In her new capacity, Dr. Larkins-Pettigrew will work with leaders across AHN to shape an inclusive workplace culture at the health system, further advancing its commitment to workforce diversity, cultural competency, and equitable health care delivery and outcomes for all patients and communities served. Her experiences as a nurse, a distinguished professor, a Naval officer, a global health strategist and an obstetrician-gynecologist specializing in global health issues bring a unique perspective to the important role she will play at AHN and in the greater Western Pennsylvania region.
"At AHN, we are committed to cultivating an inclusive, diverse workforce at every level of our organization, and we could not have found a better champion for that cause than Dr. Larkins-Pettigrew," said Cynthia Hundorfean, AHN Chief Executive Officer. "As one of the nation's most respected voices and authorities on the value of cultural diversity in healthcare, she shares our belief that one of the best ways to eliminate disparities in medicine is to promote diversity within the ranks of those who lead and staff our clinical and academic programs."
During her time at University Hospitals, Dr. Larkins-Pettigrew worked to improve the health of underserved women across Northeast Ohio, especially those living with HIV, LGBQTIA+ populations and those experiencing food insecurity. She founded and served as CEO of University Hospitals' WONDOOR (Women and Neonates, Diversity, Outreach, Opportunity, Research) global health program; and in 2014, she was named the University's Chair of Clinical Excellence and Diversity, an endowed position established to promote diversity of academic faculty.
"From her early days working at refugee camps in Ghana and Swaziland, to her experiences as a critical care nurse and her ongoing advocacy for marginalized groups of women, Dr. Larkins-Pettigrew has been on the front lines, witnessing and treating immense health disparities," said Lonie Haynes, Ph.D., Highmark Health Chief Diversity Officer. "She has made it her life's mission to improve health outcomes of her patients, particularly those who are at-risk. We are confident her work, along with our collaborative efforts across Highmark Health, will have a profound and lasting impact on our organization and those we serve."
Dr. Larkins-Pettigrew earned a bachelor's degree in nursing at the University of Pittsburgh, a master's degree in education from California State University and her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She served in the U.S. Navy for 16 years, achieving the rank of lieutenant commander and completing an OBGYN internship at Portsmouth Naval Hospital. She returned to Pittsburgh for a residency at Magee Women's Hospital, and practiced at UPMC for the next 15 years, while also serving as Magee's Director of Global Health Programs. Dr. Larkins-Pettigrew joined University Hospitals in 2010 after receiving a master's degree in public policy from the University of Pittsburgh.
She holds numerous national and international professional appointments, including the American Association of Medical Colleges Group on Diversity and Inclusion; the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics Global Health Task Force; Fellow, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Board of Trustees, Centering HealthCare Institute; Leader, First Year Cleveland; President, Cleveland American Hospital Association Board of Trustees; Co-lead, Committee on Economic Inclusion of Greater Cleveland Partnerships; Vice Chair Elect and Board of Directors, Three Rivers Youth Foundation; and Board of Trustees and Co-Chair of the Women's Leadership Advisory Board, Robert Morris University, among many others.
Dr. Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew, joins AHN as chief clinical diversity and inclusion officer.
Clyde Wilson Pickett, a leading expert in higher education diversity and inclusion strategy, has been named the University of Pittsburgh’s vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion. Charged with ensuring a welcome, inclusive and equitable environment for students, faculty and staff across all campuses, Pickett is set to start in July 2020.
Pickett is no stranger to Pittsburgh. An alumnus of the Doctor of Education (EdD) program in Pitt’s School of Education, he served as chief diversity officer for the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), and most recently, as chief diversity officer for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. While at Minnesota State, Pickett was responsible for leading and developing system-wide diversity, equity and inclusion strategy and policy guidance for Minnesota State’s 54 campuses.
In his new role, Pickett will collaborate with University leadership to ensure that Pitt’s mission, vision and strategic priorities are aligned with creating a more inclusive, diverse culture of belonging. He will also lead proactive initiatives, services, connections and education across Pitt’s campuses pertaining to diversity and inclusion. In the last academic year, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion underwent a strategic restructure to position itself toward more focused, proactive work with an emphasis on prevention and education.
“There is no one better to serve in the position of vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion than Clyde Pickett,” said Kathy Humphrey, senior vice chancellor for engagement and secretary of the Board of Trustees. “I am delighted to welcome Clyde to the University of Pittsburgh, where his experience and leadership will help us live up to our commitment of making Pitt a more equitable place.”
“I am very excited about joining the University of Pittsburgh and working collaboratively on strategies to further advance equity, access, inclusion and belonging at the University,” said Pickett. “I am appreciative for the opportunity and am committed to working hard to establish strong relationships built on trust, integrity, authenticity, visibility and transparency.”
Pickett has assumed various leadership roles over the course of his career including advancing best practices for diversity; recruitment; and the retention of students, staff and faculty of color. He is an expert in organizational leadership development and data-informed decision-making related to diversity and inclusion. An administrator and scholar with considerable experience translating theory into practice, he has expertise in strategic planning and Title IX.
Pickett’s professional accomplishments include:
At Pitt, Pickett will succeed Pamela Connelly, who served as the University’s first vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion and stepped down in January 2020. Katie Pope, associate vice chancellor of civil rights and Title IX, served as interim vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion while a national search for Connelly’s successor was conducted.
Pitt Names New Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion
The Advanced Leadership Initiative (TALI) is pleased to announce the receipt of a $1 Million Grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation. The grant, which was approved in early December, will propel TALI forward in its mission to advance the presence of African Americans in executive leadership roles by helping to establish The Advanced Leadership Institute, Inc. (TALI Institute). The new funds will be utilized to build the team and infrastructure for TALI Institute to expand its capacity and impact, both locally and nationally.
According to Evan Frazier, Founding Director of The Advanced Leadership Initiative and Senior Vice President of Community Affairs at Highmark Health (pictured), "It has always been our vision, from day one, to create a self-sustaining institute that will provide longevity for TALI and its mission. This grant will be transformational, enabling TALI to build on early local success while expanding reach and impact through expanded areas of focus and a new national footprint." Frazier also added, "We are truly grateful to the Richard King Mellon Foundation for this grant and their strategic investments in TALI at critical times over the years."
This is not the first time that the Richard King Mellon Foundation has shown its support for African American leadership development. In 2018, the Foundation provided TALI with a grant for $100,000 to pilot its flagship program, the Executive Leadership Academy (ELA), in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business. The Executive Leadership Academy is a robust, seven-month Executive Education program that provides instruction geared to addressing the challenges that African Americans uniquely face and equipping them with tools to help propel them towards success. TALI will continue to partner with Carnegie Mellon University to operate ELA, which will serve as a model as the initiative expands. The grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation is distinct from TALI's existing program and is designated primarily for operational expansion.
"Supporting Black leadership has been an ongoing focus for us," said Richard King Mellon Foundation Director Sam Reiman. "That's why we seeded TALI with its first six-figure grant in 2018. And now, we are making an even larger grant of $1 million, in hopes that TALI can seize this remarkable societal moment to generate even greater private-sector enthusiasm for its important work. TALI has enjoyed noteworthy support already, from corporate leaders such as BNY Mellon, Highmark, PNC and UPMC. But even more private-sector partners are essential for this ambitious initiative to achieve its full potential."
The Advanced Leadership Institute's mission will be to cultivate African American executive leadership to strengthen companies, institutions, and communities across America. Its primary focus will be to educate, develop, connect, and position African American leaders for executive advancement.
TALI Pittsburgh will be the flagship and demonstration model that provides measurable success for other regions across the country to follow.
"The future of TALI and all that it stands for has been strengthened, with this sizeable grant. We are very encouraged by the support that we are receiving from R K Mellon, as we move forward toward securing our long-range mission." – Marsha Jones, Advisory Board Co–Chair and Executive Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer at PNC
"This has the seeds that can grow into a strong institution that supports the advancement of African Americans in ways that few have done in the past." – Greg Spencer, Founding Board Co-Chair of The Advanced Leadership Initiative and President and CEO of Randall Industries
"I have always supported the inclusion and advancement of African Americans in the c-suite. They need access to the tools, networks and opportunities to excel. This grant provides more opportunities to make TALI's vision a reality." – Jerry MacCleary, Advisory Board Co–Chair and Retired Chairman, President and CEO of Covestro
Formation of The Advanced Leadership Institute, Inc. has begun and will continue over the next several months; the leadership team anticipates an official launch by Summer 2021. POISE Foundation will serve as the fiscal sponsor for the new Richard King Mellon Foundation grant.
The Advanced Leadership Initiative will continue to move forward with its plans for the 2021 cohort (Year 3) of the Executive Leadership Academy beginning in January. Support for The Advanced Leadership Initiative continues to grow as regional corporations and foundations embrace the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Below is a partial list of current sponsors and contributors:
Lead Contributors: The Richard King Mellon Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, BNY Mellon Foundation of SWPA, and Hillman Family Foundations. Presenting Sponsors: Highmark Health, PNC, and UPMC. Contributors: Buhl Foundation. Gold Sponsors: Bank of America, BNY Mellon, Covestro, Dollar Bank, FHL Bank, Gateway Health, Giant Eagle, Giant Eagle Foundation, Koppers, and PPG. Silver Sponsors: Ernst & Young (EY), and Wabtec Corporation. Academic Partner: Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business. Fiscal Sponsor: POISE Foundation
Companies, organizations and individuals can support the work of The Advanced Leadership Initiative in multiple ways, including sponsorship, mentorship, and advocacy. For information about how you can be involved, visit www.advancedleadershipinitiative.org
SOURCE The Advanced Leadership Initiative
Evan Frazier, Founding Director of TALI