Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 3
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Kazi Joshua Associate Dean for Intercultural Affairs / Chief Diversity Officer

Whitman has appointed Kazi Joshua to the newly created position of associate dean for intercultural affairs and chief diversity officer. Joshua’s position will greatly expand upon the existing position of director of the Intercultural Center when he enters it in January. The position was created in late 2013 as Whitman looked for someone who could work with students, faculty and the administration when it came to engaging in discussions and solutions to the problems of diversity, while simultaneously overseeing the Intercultural Center. Additionally, Joshua will be a member of the of the President’s Council and will have input into both short and long-term discussions and priorities of the college.

According to Associate Dean for Faculty Development Lisa Perfetti, who served as chair of the search committee responsible for hiring Joshua, his role will be to help organize the discussions and solutions surrounding concerns of diversity on campus.

“The chief diversity officer’s role is not to run interference and to solve every diversity related issue that comes up on campus. Their role is to coordinate the efforts and to help every office on campus to integrate a diversity and equity perspective into their work,” said Perfetti.

Campus leaders in many capacities are optimistic about Joshua’s appointment.

“Kazi was the consensus choice of faculty, staff and students,” said Dean of Students Chuck Cleveland.

Former ASWC President Tim Reed added that he was eager to watch as Joshua steps into his new and very unique position here at Whitman.

“Most of all, he displayed an intent focus on listening and learning about what issues are most relevant to students. I have no doubt that he’ll do an excellent job,” said Reed.

Joshua, who prefers to be called “Kazi,” is originally from Malawi in Southeast Africa, and he has lived in Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois, but considers Chicago to be home. He has a wife, three daughters and a son and enjoys reading philosophy and listening to the blues and gospel music in his leisure time. Joshua’s alma mater is Trinity College in Vermont. During his time there he was part of a student activist group at the University of Vermont that took over the administration building for two weeks. He is drawn to people who convey the traits of kindness, love and the ability to listen to others.

Joshua and his family are coming to Whitman from Allegheny College in Meadville, Penn., where he served as the associate dean and director of The Center for Intercultural Advancement and Student Success. He has a background in social change and theology and has taught courses on race and ethnic studies.

“I am very excited to work with him. He is very dynamic, full of ideas and is well-read. He has a lot of enthusiasm and it’s infectious,” said Cleveland.

While chief diversity officer is new position here at Whitman, the position is certainly not unique to Whitman.

“This is a position that a lot of colleges have created in their institutions. We’re in a period right now across high education where a lot of institutions have committed to the priority of that kind of a position” said Perfetti.

It looks as though Joshua will have his plate full as he hits the ground running in January, with plans of getting to know as many people as possible, the hopes of overseeing a campus wide climate study, creating a diversity council and helping to create a diversity strategic plan for the college.

“My understanding is that we resisted this [position] for a while because of the fear that that work would be siloed. Now it can be that way. If a campus doesn’t understand the role of a diversity officer, it can be just trying to unload on that person everything that comes up,” said Perfetti.

Joshua has been on campus three times now, between visiting for an on campus interview, convocation and just recently in the first week of October. When he joins Whitman full time in January, students are encouraged to make a point to get to know him.

“I felt him to be very warm, a very good listener, very passionate and an amazing mind,” said Perfetti when reflecting on her first impressions.

Joshua has high hopes for his tenure at Whitman, citing an enthusiasm on campus for social change.

“Whitman was very intentional in rethinking how it wanted to proceed on matters of diversity, inclusion and equity. I was very impressed with the intelligence of students, the clear commitment of faculty and the tireless work of staff to make Whitman work for everybody,” said Joshua. “I felt very welcome and it really did not take a long time for me to arrive at the still very solid conclusion that Whitman is a place where I want to serve.”

To learn more about Mr. Joshua and his background, read our online Q and A with him.

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  • F

    FRANCIS CHINDIPHANov 23, 2017 at 4:25 am


  • N

    nameMay 12, 2015 at 7:23 am

    thank you Natalie

  • N

    Natalie BergApr 30, 2015 at 1:16 am

  • M

    Mkhambeyi Joshua ChindiphaApr 29, 2015 at 1:00 am

    what is Kazi’s current email address or phone number?