Presidential Advisor for Equity and Inclusion Nefertiti Walker to be elevated to Deputy Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Equity.
UMass President Marty Meehan announced today that he has appointed outgoing UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy to the position of Interim Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Equity, serving the five-campus, 74,000-student system. President Meehan also announced that Presidential Advisor for Equity and Inclusion Nefertiti Walker has been elevated to Deputy Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Equity.
Chancellor Subbaswamy is completing more than a decade of service at UMass Amherst, during which the campus has enhanced its national stature, increased enrollment, modernized facilities, and enhanced the real-world impact of its research enterprise.
"Over the past decade, which included two years of unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic, Chancellor Subbaswamy has been an excellent leader and colleague,” said Meehan. “I am grateful that Swamy has accepted this opportunity to contribute his immense talent and experience to the entire UMass system. This re-configuration is designed with the recognition that academic excellence and equity go hand-in-hand.”
As Interim Senior Vice President, with a minimum appointment of one year, Dr. Subbaswamy will oversee the academic program approval and faculty tenure and promotion processes, assist the president with setting and implementing academic priorities, and convene campus academic officers to identify priorities and strategies. Subbaswamy will also assist in setting a long-term strategic vision for the system office academic and student affairs and equity area.
The appointment follows the departure of System Chancellor for Academic Programs/Senior Vice President for Economic Development Katherine Newman, who was appointed provost of the University of California system late last year. In February, the UMass Board of Trustees accepted President Meehan’s recommended appointment of Interim Chancellor of the University of Illinois Chicago Javier Reyes to succeed Subbaswamy as chancellor of UMass Amherst. Subbaswamy will continue to serve as UMass Amherst chancellor until Reyes’ tenure begins on July 1, 2023.
"This wasn’t really my retirement plan, but the opportunity to work with both Marty and Nefertiti, both of whom I admire, to advance the academic quality and equity of student experience across the UMass system was too attractive to turn down,” said Subbaswamy.
In her new role, Walker’s focus will be on infusing the system’s academic priorities and goals with an equity and inclusion imperative. Walker currently holds a dual appointment as Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion at UMass Amherst and Presidential Advisor for Equity and Inclusion.
Walker previously served as associate dean for an inclusive organization in UMass Amherst's Isenberg School of Management. She is a tenured faculty member at Isenberg, teaching courses in leadership and organizational behavior, sport organizational development, and foundations of DEI in business.
"I appointed Dr. Walker to the Presidential Advisor position two years ago to enhance cross-campus sharing of best practices for creating an inclusive climate for students, faculty, and staff from all backgrounds,” said Meehan. “Dr. Walker will play a critical role in advancing our mission to welcome, nurture, and catapult to success individuals from all sectors and segments of society.”
"I have an excellent relationship with both Chancellor Subbaswamy and President Meehan. Individually and collectively, we are committed to equity, academic excellence, and a positive experience for all UMass students,” said Walker. “I look forward to the opportunity to continue our transformational work together.”
Meehan indicated that he will work closely with Reyes regarding Walker’s transition from the campus to the system office, ensuring continuity in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at UMass Amherst.