I am delighted to share that Professor Wendy G. Smooth will serve as our senior vice provost for inclusive excellence, beginning August 1. Wendy is a faculty member in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, with courtesy appointments in the Department of Political Science and in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. She currently serves as associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion in the College of Arts and Sciences.
In this role, Wendy will provide institutional leadership as we advance a culture of inclusion and ensure that all can belong, fully participate, and thrive at Ohio State. Here, we define diversity broadly embracing differences not only across backgrounds and identities but also perspectives and ideas. Our Shared Values initiative informs this commitment we have as a university community. Wendy will be integral as we animate and operationalize these values.
Wendy will work closely with institutional leaders as we integrate inclusive excellence into our core work of teaching, learning, research, and service. Her work will cover the arc from prevention to compliance, enabling the university to take a more streamlined and strategic approach to creating an inclusive culture. Her leadership will guide, inform, and amplify the strength of our existing footprint across several areas and units, including three that she will oversee:
- the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, led by Vice Provost James L. Moore, which supports the recruitment, retention, and success of students, faculty, and staff who enhance Ohio State’s diversity;
- the Office of Institutional Equity, led by Associate Vice President Keesha Mitchell, which educates and supports the Ohio State community in preventing and responding to all forms of harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct; and
- the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, led by Interim Executive Director Beverly Vandiver, an interdisciplinary research center and a hub for education, scholarship, and outreach.
As associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion for the College of Arts and Sciences, Wendy has led the inclusive excellence vision for the college and supported initiatives across 38 departments and schools in addition to the college’s many research centers and institutes. Among her many accomplishments, she designed and implemented yearlong learning communities for chairs and directors through which each leader developed an action plan for their department or school to advance equity and inclusion practices. Wendy has also worked with colleagues to integrate inclusive practices into all elements of the academic lifecycle in Arts and Sciences—including faculty recruitment and retention initiatives, annual reviews, and promotion and tenure.
Wendy’s leadership also extends across the university. She has played an invaluable role in developing and operationalizing the Race, Inclusion, and Social Equity (RAISE) initiative and is a member of our proposal advisory committee. She also has chaired the President and Provost’s Council on Women, the University Senate Diversity Committee, and the Athletic Council. In 2020, Ohio State recognized her contributions with the President and Provost’s Award for Distinguished Faculty Service.
Wendy’s scholarship focuses on the experiences of women of color as lawmakers in American political institutions and women of color issues in public policy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Xavier University of Louisiana and her master’s and PhD degrees in government and politics as well as a certificate in women's studies from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Please join me in welcoming Wendy to her new role and thanking the members of our advisory committee for supporting this search. I am looking forward to our work together.
Melissa L. Gilliam
Executive Vice President and Provost