Speaking to a combined audience of students, faculty and administrators in the Global Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 2, Anthony Walesby presented his qualifications and goals as he vies with two other finalists for the newly-established position of the Vice President of Institute Diversity (VPID).
“My interest would be to assess the what’s happening now, take a look at areas we can improve, add some programming – the more we get the word out the better – and then having discussions with higher ed universities,” said Walesby.
The VPID position will be a leadership role primarily for formulating a diversity and inclusion strategy. The person chosen will report to the president as a cabinet member and “is charged with embracing and leveraging the talents of the entire campus community to its greatest advantage,” according to the Office of the President’s website.
Currently, Walesby is the Senior Director of the Office of Institutional Equity at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Before that, he was the Associate Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Earlier still, he served as a federal investigator with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Most recently, however, his work as Senior Director required him to ensure working and learning environments on campus are free from discrimination and harassment, to lead the development of programming that supports diversity, and to ensure all allegations of discrimination and harassment are investigated.
“In my view this is some of the most important work on campus for the students who are here to learn and the staff who are here for day-to-day operation and faculty who are here to do their research and teach,” Walesby said.
“None of that, in my view, is possible in an environment where sexual harassment or racial discrimination is occurring,” Walesby said.
At Tech, Walesby would like to allow students better access to programming related to diversity awareness and study, and having a friend in high places can help move ideas through the financing and coordinating more quickly. “If you have support from the top, then a lot of things are possible,” Walesby said.
One University of Michigan organization he champions is Expect Respect, an educational platform for promoting civility and providing services for victims of hate crimes or bias incidents.
“I’m also really toying with the idea of hosting a national civil rights conference on our campus,” Walesby said.
“What we would do is invite folks from all around the country and leading experts… come in and talk about the research they’re doing,” Walesby said.
He also would like to include student feedback in diversity summits and symposiums. Past meetings at University of Michigan have yielded positive results, but he would like to take advantage of data collection.
“On our campus, what we’ve done is have some great breakout sessions. We have over 300 people there, so someone is facilitating the discussions with students across the campus and a person is recording it all,” Walesby said.
“Though we’ve recorded it all, we haven’t necessarily done a lot with that data… and so we’re missing a great opportunity to hear great input from folks and then start composing programming around that,” Walesby said.
Walesby earned his bachelor of science in history and political science, summa cum laude, from Illinois State Unversity in 1991, and his master of education degree in educational policy studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2003. He also served in the U.S. Navy for four years for Naval Telecommunications before attending college.
Since its announcement last year, the VPID search committee has selected three candidates, all of whom will make appearances at Tech this month to present themselves.
Candidate Dr. Sallye McKee, made her presentation this past Tuesday, Sept. 7. The other announced candidate, Dr. Archie Evin, will make his presentation Tuesday, Sept. 14 in the Global Learning Center, room 222. Their “biosketch” and more can be found on the search committee’s website.