After serving since July 1 in an interim role as the chief diversity officer at Centre College, Andrea Abrams has been appointed to the position on a permanent basis. Effective immediately, she will begin her new assignment as Associate Vice President for Diversity Affairs and Special Assistant to the President.
Abrams has been a valued member of the campus community since 2007, and she currently serves as associate professor of anthropology and chair of the gender studies program. She will continue to teach one course per year in her new role.
In announcing her appointment, President John Roush noted, “I had some positive, direct conversations with several colleagues on campus—both faculty and staff—who shared my view that inviting Andrea to continue on a more permanent basis was a very good idea. The reactions to this possibility ranged from ‘very strongly in favor’ to ‘absolutely in favor’ of such an appointment.
“As I have told Andrea several times, she is ‘known, liked, respected and trusted,’ and these four descriptors are of significant value in any appointment,” Roush added.
Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Brian Cusato was one of the strong supporters.
“Since her appointment last spring,” he said, “Andrea has had many successes in a relatively short period of time, and I’m not surprised. It’s been a pleasure working with her, and I believe she’s a perfect choice for the more permanent role.”
As Cusato indicated, Abrams’ accomplishments since assuming the interim role this past July are numerous.
She oversaw an expansion of the Office of Diversity and hired three new positions; provided valuable advice and counsel for an ad hoc Trustee Working Group on Diversity; helped shepherd creation of a new Intercultural Campus Center dedicated in October; and played a pivotal role in organizing a campus-wide Building Bridges and Community Day in November.
Regarding her new assignment at Centre, Abrams said, “I am pleased to continue in this position and look forward to carrying on diversity and inclusion work on Centre’s campus.”
She added, “I am especially excited to continue working with my new colleagues: Ashley Oliver, director of diversity and inclusion programming; Jo Teut, assistant director; and Amanda DeWitt, the VISTA coordinator for sustained community dialogue. They have each made significant contributions to Centre since their arrival.”
A graduate of Agnes Scott College in Georgia, Abrams went on to earn her M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from Emory University. The author of God and Blackness: Race, Gender, and Identity in a Middle Class Afrocentric Church (NYU Press, 2014), her research focuses on race and gender issues in the South.
by Michael Strysick
December 13, 2018