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            NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi today named Jorge Reina Schement, dean of the School of Communication and Information, to the newly created position of vice president for institutional diversity and inclusion.

The new office will be devoted to addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion across the university. Barchi said the idea for the office arose from consultation with faculty and staff who, like the president, believe there is a need to build on the university’s robust history of diversity, with the additional focus of expanding upon research and scholarship already under way. A major priority will be to promote the attraction and retention of diverse faculty, staff and students, and support additional initiatives in the areas of diversity and inclusion.

“Our diversity – which represents a wide range of religious, racial, cultural and ethnic affiliations; economic backgrounds; disabilities; and gender and sexual identities – is an important part of our identity at Rutgers and will be a cornerstone of our new strategic plan,” Barchi said. “Jorge brings a wealth of personal experience and professional expertise to the new position. I am confident he will provide exceptional leadership and vision as we launch this important office.”

Schement is a Mexican-American who learned English as a second language while growing up in southern Texas and has pursued a scholarly career dedicated to understanding issues related to access and inclusion for minorities and marginalized groups.  Schement taught at Rutgers from 1987 to 1996 before returning as dean in 2008. He will assume his new responsibilities July 1 but will immediately begin consulting with faculty, staff and students across the university’s Camden, Newark and New Brunswick campuses to seek input on shaping the direction of the diversity office.

            “It is my hope to hear from as many voices as possible across Rutgers and to ensure that all members of our community participate in this important initiative as it gets off the ground,” Schement said.

After consulting widely with the university community, Schement will lead the universitywide Council on Diversity and Inclusion, which will advise senior administration. In consultation with the chancellors of the Camden, Newark, New Brunswick and Health Sciences campuses, vice chancellors for diversity and inclusion will be appointed by university administration. They will report to their respective chancellors, while working directly with the universitywide diversity office.  Once these new structures are in place, they will be periodically reviewed.

Among other functions, the new office will fund research in the areas of diversity and inclusion; serve as a central point of coordination and support for diversity programs across the university; and issue assessments of how the university is doing in these areas in relation to peer institutions.

To ensure continuity of leadership within the School of Communication and Information, President Barchi appointed Claire McInerney to serve as acting dean of the school, effective July 1. McInerney, a 13-year member of the Rutgers faculty, is currently associate dean of SC&I.