July 20, 2016
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
I am very pleased to announce, effective immediately, the appointment of Natasha Martin, J.D., Associate Professor of Law, as the Associate Vice President for Institutional Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer. Natasha will serve an initial appointment of three years and will report to the Provost and Executive Vice President. She will work out of the office next to mine in the Administration Building and have full access to engage in deliberations with the Cabinet on a frequent and ongoing basis. While the fulfillment of her broad responsibilities in this position will require a significant amount of her time, she will continue to teach Employment Discrimination Law at the School of Law, which complements and informs her work as Chief Diversity Officer.
The position of Chief Diversity Officer is a key recommendation of the Task Force on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence. I am glad we are able to move forward in implementing the proposal at this time with the appointment of such a highly qualified person and one who is so well known and respected by the university community. Over the past two years, Natasha co-chaired the Task Force on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence. In her leadership of the task force, with its wide consultation within the university, she knows well the challenges and opportunities that we face to develop, in her words, “a culture of inclusion that values and supports diversity as a fundamental dimension of academic excellence.” I am most grateful to Natasha for her willingness to take on this critical senior leadership role and for the exceptional capabilities, scholarly credentials and experience she brings to it.
As the university's first Chief Diversity Officer, Natasha will oversee and guide our efforts to fully integrate inclusive excellence within the university’s strategic priorities and drive the implementation of recommendations from the task force report. Further, she will actively engage with the people, programs, initiatives, deliberative bodies and hiring and retention processes that will shape a culture of inclusion for us all. Additionally, Natasha will serve as a principal resource for assisting the university’s efforts toward building capacities and advancing inclusive excellence, will carry out ongoing research on the foundations and best practices of diversity, equity and inclusion and will represent Seattle University externally. I am committed to making sure she has the resources and the strong support of university leadership needed for this important work and look forward to Natasha more fully articulating her vision and priorities as Chief Diversity Officer at the start of the academic year.
Please join me in welcoming Natasha as our Chief Diversity Officer and thanking her for taking on this leadership role in our collaborative efforts to build the inclusive culture we all recognize as essential to fulfilling our educational mission.
Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.