Dr. Walker to support system-wide collaboration while continuing to serve as UMass Amherst Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan announced at today’s Board of Trustees meeting that he has appointed Dr. Nefertiti Walker to serve as Presidential Advisor for Equity and Inclusion.
Dr. Walker currently serves as Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at UMass Amherst and will continue to serve in that capacity as she advises President Meehan on university, state, and national issues; works with campuses to prepare system-wide annual updates to the Board of Trustees; convenes meetings of campus chief diversity officers; and develops strategic priorities for the President’s Office aimed at achieving Board of Trustees goals.
“True diversity of people, ideas and perspectives is absolutely critical to sustaining a world-class university, as well as a robust democracy and economy,” President Meehan said. “Dr. Walker will bring a distinguished record of achievement and an unparalleled commitment to creating an environment where all students, staff, and faculty can thrive. I am grateful to Dr. Walker for her willingness to serve the entire UMass system and to UMass Amherst Chancellor Subbaswamy for recognizing the value that Dr. Walker can bring to our system-wide dialogue.”
“I am incredibly honored to work alongside President Meehan, and the esteemed campus chief diversity officers across the UMass system. At the same time, I am fortunate and remain committed, to the transformational diversity, equity, and inclusion work taking place at UMass Amherst under the leadership of Chancellor Subbaswamy, and in collaboration with a committed team of Deans, Vice Chancellors, faculty, staff, and students. I look forward to this work.”
Dr. Walker will begin her service with the President’s Office on January 10, 2022.
The appointment of Dr. Walker is the latest in a series of initiatives by President Meehan to focus more attention and resources on enhancing diversity and inclusiveness across the 5-campus, 75,000-student, 18,000-employee university, which has become increasingly diverse. Students of color now comprise 40 percent of the UMass student population, compared to 33 percent in 2015.
President Meehan recently awarded $300,000 in grants to the Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell campuses to develop strategies focused on improving retention and graduation rates of students of color. He also recently appointed a multi-disciplinary team that will develop educational and outreach programs within the President’s Office to ensure that every member of the system office feels welcome, included and respected.
On November 18, President Meehan hosted a meeting of chancellors and members of their leadership teams with University of Maryland – Baltimore President Freeman Hrabowski, a national expert on closing the student success gaps that exist along racial, ethnic and socio-economic lines.
More about Dr. Walker
Prior to joining the UMass Amherst administration, Dr. Walker served as associate dean for an inclusive organization in the university’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. Her research examines organizational inclusion and exclusion, seeking to understand the experiences of people with marginalized identities, and using those insights to design more inclusive organizational cultures. Her work includes more than 70 international publications and presentations, and she has been published in top journals such as the Journal of Sport Management and the Journal of Business Research.
She is a research fellow with the North American Society for Sport Management. She has been awarded the 2017-18 Isenberg School of Management Teaching Excellence Award and the 2018-19 Isenberg School of Management Research Excellence Award.
She currently serves as co-director for Isenberg’s Laboratory for Inclusion and Diversity in Sport (LIDS). She is the co-editor of Sport Business Management: An International Journal, and is an editorial board member for the Journal of Sport Management. Previous leadership roles include UMass Athletic Council member, co-chair of the Diversity Committee for the North American Society for Sport Management, faculty advisor for the Association of Diversity in Sport and the Advancement of Diversity in Business, member of the UMass Amherst Stonewall Center Advisory Board, and vice president for inclusion and social justice for the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports. She has published in the Washington Post and her work has been cited widely on espn.com, espnW.com, TIME Sports other news outlets.
In 2020, Dr. Walker joined The Collective Think Tank, a group of academic and industry leaders focused on parity and equity in sports. The Collective shares data, insights and information to create a persistent campaign of strategies, activations and thought leadership that will move the industry toward gender equity.
Dr. Walker earned her Ph.D. from the University of Florida. She received her bachelor’s and master’s (MBA) degrees from Stetson University, where she was a Division I NCAA basketball player. She also lettered in basketball at Georgia Tech.