President Jim Gash introduced J. Goosby Smith as Pepperdine’s first Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Community Belonging. Smith previously worked at Pepperdine from 2002 to 2015. Photo courtesy of J. Goosby Smith
Pepperdine announced its search for a chief diversity officer on June 8, 2020 and starting June 1, 2021, J. Goosby Smith will serve as the university’s first vice president for community belonging and CDO.
President Jim Gash introduced Smith to the Pepperdine community at the March 3 President’s Briefing as well as April Harris Akinloye who will serve as the assistant vice president for community belonging.
“Dr. Smith and Dr. Harris Akinloye are two extraordinarily qualified leaders that have a deep love for Pepperdine and our mission, and I am confident they will lead us to a new level of inclusion, excellence, and genuine belonging that befits our community’s unwavering commitment to radical Christian hospitality,” Gash wrote in a March 3 email to the Pepperdine community.
Smith teaches at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina as an associate professor of leadership and management as well as assistant provost for diversity, equity and inclusion and director of the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center.
Smith formerly worked at Seaver as an assistant professor of organizational behavior from 2002 to 2006 and then as a tenured associate professor of organizational behavior from 2011 to 2015. During this time Smith also worked as assessment coordinator for the Seaver Diversity Council and as an adjunct professor for Graziado’s Master’s of Business Association program.
“In [Smith’s] new role, she will report directly to me and serve as a member of the University’s Steering Team,” Gash wrote in his March 3 email to the Pepperdine community. “She will also be a principal leader on the University Diversity Council for which she previously served as inaugural faculty co-chair in 2005.”
Harris Akinloye is a Seaver (’00) and Graduate School of Education and Psychology (’05) alumna and earned her PhD in education from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Harris Akinloye works at Social Good Solutions as a senior consultant for diversity, equity and inclusion and previously served as CDO at Vanguard University.
“I am deeply grateful to the Search Committee for its work in identifying these exceptional candidates, and I want to give my sincere thanks to everyone in the Pepperdine community who has offered feedback, insights and encouragement throughout this important process,” Gash wrote in his March 3 email.
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