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Damita Davis hired as new chief diversity officer, ending nationwide search


By Ellen Paddock / News Editor  

SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson, Ph. D., announced the end to a nationwide search with the hiring of Damita Davis as the new chief of diversity officer (CDO) in an email on Tuesday, March 16.  

Davis will be filling a role that has been under scrutiny with the firing of former CDO, Cephas Archie Ph.D., last January. Archie’s departure prompted student protests, media backlash and speculations of racism. 

Considering heightened racial tensions on campus, Macpherson said Daviwill work to ensure the issues are addressed proactively. As CDO, Davis will provide strategic leadership in the prioritization of Brockport’s five-year Strategic Plan for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). 

Davis spent the last seven years in the Office for Institutional Diversity at Boston College, where she was responsible for organizing training and programs for the university’s diverse workforce. She coordinated the Cultural Competence Engagement Modules, the University Affiliates Program and implemented department level workshops.  

Before Boston College, Davis was the Director of Multicultural Programs at Emmanuel College, where she demonstrated skilled program design and implementation. Responsible for the development of diversity education programs and initiatives for students on campus, Davis coordinated a diversity lecture series, developed the college’s Bias Incident and Hate Crime Policy and organized a service-learning trip to South Africa.

Davis earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Rhode Island. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate in the higher education program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is researching leadership approaches to Black women as presidents at predominantly white institutions for her advanced degree thesis. 

In the email announcement from Macpherson, Davis offered a statement – “I am truly honored to have been selected as the next Chief Diversity Officer for SUNY Brockport. I want to thank Dr. Macpherson, Dr. Acker and all the members of the search committee for affording me the opportunity to serve the Brockport community in supporting, fostering and guiding our efforts in becoming a more equitable, diverse and inclusive institution. I look forward to joining you this summer to continue the great work that has already been done and to foster a path for even greater things to come.” 

In preparation to start July 1, Davis will take part in an eight-week EDI training course with other members on campus starting this Friday. Macpherson said she is excited to learn with and from Davis, and that she knows Davis is the right person to lead the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

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