Bradley's first VP of diversity, equity, and inclusion plans to work not only on the Hilltop, but in the Peoria community
Dr. Warren Anderson will be Bradley University's first vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion, fulfilling a goal set by President Stephen Standifird to emphasize that area of focus.
Anderson said DEI work on campus must be reflective of what's happening out in the world at large.
"Ultimately, our goal is to make sure that every student that comes to Bradley leaves there with more than just a degree, that they have the tool set to be able to thrive in any workplace they go into," Anderson said. "Making sure that whoever is a part of the Bradley community understands that it's each of our jobs to not only truly live by the values of the institution as it relates to equity, diversity, inclusion, but also making sure that we are a part of the changes happening in society."
Anderson is blazing the trail at Bradley, so to speak, but he's not new to the line of work. He's served in similar roles for the University of Wisconsin System, and Harrisburg Area Community College in Harrisburg, Pa.
"There is no blueprint. There is no path. But having done this in multiple areas and multiple institutions, I know about the opportunity that awaits us. And just identifying those critical partners that can really help us succeed in this arena, is probably the most exciting part," Anderson said.
One person Anderson said he plans to reach out to right away is Melodi Green, his counterpart at the City of Peoria.
Upon arriving to Peoria on Jan. 31, Anderson said he plans to spend his first few months on the job listening to constituents, both on and off-campus, to make sure the university is striking the right tone on DEI. After that, it comes to using that feedback to lay out and execute a plan of action.
"I want to make sure that it's a community that truly values every single member of our institution, and that our institution truly values what it means to be a part of the Peoria community and how we can really build a lasting partnership around this work. And I think we have some of the tremendous building pieces in place to do just that," he said.