Eastern Michigan Univeristy President James Smith announced the creation of the chief diversity officer position at the univeristy and named Doris Fields as the interim officer Feb. 17.
Fields has been named interim chief diversity officer while the university conducts a national search for a permanent officer, as was announce at the latest EMU Board of Regents meeting.
Fields is an EMU alumni and a tenured professor in the School of Communication, Media, and Theatre Arts. She specializes in interracial, interethnic, and intercultural communication. Fields' career history, which includes more than 20 years at the university alone, will be beneficial during her placement as chief diversity officer.
“I came to Eastern in 1986 as a freshman majoring in communications,” Fields said. “I graduated from EMU in 4 years and then I went and did my master’s in communication in the communication department. That is the experience that changed my life.”
Smith created this position at the recommendation of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion in their 2018 audit. The commission recommended that the president should make improvements toward an enhancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion on EMU’s campus.
“The plan is to do a national search in the fall, and I graciously can start the process for that position,” Fields said. “It’s actually an honor to be able to do this.”
Creating a staff at the Diversity Community Involvement Center is just one of the many plans being implemented within a matter of months at EMU. There will also be a Summer Listening Tour that is being organized for this upcoming summer. The program will allow Fields to get different perspectives from students regarding their thoughts on diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice on campus.
“I need to find out one, how students of color feel, how all students feel because it’s not just one race, it’s about making sure we’re all OK,” Fields said. “I need to feel what we’re feeling at Eastern, so that helps me do everything else that I will do.”