Auburn announces hiring of first associate provost and vice president for inclusion and diversity

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Auburn University has named Taffye Benson Clayton as its first associate provost and vice president for inclusion and diversity following a national search, effective Dec. 1.

Clayton comes to Auburn from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she served from 2012-2014 as vice provost and chief diversity officer and from 2014-2016 as associate vice chancellor and chief diversity officer. She also holds a faculty appointment as a clinical assistant professor of education at UNC’s School of Education.

Reporting to Provost Tim Boosinger, Clayton will provide strategic vision, leadership, coordination and planning to further inclusion and diversity as core values throughout Auburn and will serve as the primary advisor to the administration, faculty, staff and students on the institution’s inclusion and diversity initiatives.

“Dr. Clayton has the knowledge and experience to propel Auburn University forward in its efforts to promote inclusion and diversity on campus,” said Boosinger. “Her work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has produced impressive results and clearly demonstrates her understanding of this important issue.”

The role of associate provost and vice president for inclusion and diversity was developed as a result of Auburn University’s strategic goals and priorities to address inclusion and diversity on campus. A comprehensive campus climate study indicated key areas of opportunity for the university to cultivate a more inclusive and diverse campus.

Most recently at UNC, Clayton and her unit have been working with other campus partners to develop and implement faculty and staff diversity and educational seminars designed to expose the campus to emerging diversity science topics; to create diversity-related faculty development experiences; to launch a campus climate assessment; and to invigorate diversity- and inclusion-focused dialogue across campus.

Clayton serves as a board member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. She was among a small group of collegiate presidents, provosts and other organization board members invited to speak with the president of the American Council on Education and the undersecretary and deputy undersecretary of education with the U.S. Department of Education about strategies for addressing campus climate and recruiting and retaining a more diverse faculty.

Prior to her time at UNC, Clayton served for 16 years at East Carolina University in various positions involving diversity and inclusion.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from UNC, a master’s degree in arts administration from American University and a doctorate of education in educational leadership from East Carolina. She also holds a certificate from the management development program at the Harvard Institute of Higher Education in the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.