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Chestnut to Serve as UW’s Interim VP for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

April 13, 2022

Vice President for Student Affairs Kim Chestnut has temporarily assumed a new leadership role for the University of Wyoming’s programs and efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion.

UW’s Board of Trustees today (Wednesday) appointed Chestnut as interim vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion through December. She’ll lead those programs and efforts while a nationwide search unfolds for the position later this year.

“I am so pleased to see the board’s strong support to move forward now with this appointment, emphasizing our commitment to this critical area at UW. Dr. Chestnut already has demonstrated tremendous leadership in UW’s commitment to inclusion, justice and equity, and we appreciate her willingness to formally assume these responsibilities while we search for a vice president to lead the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” President Ed Seidel says. “I’m confident she will expand upon the work she has already done with various stakeholders to assure a strong foundation for the person ultimately selected as vice president.”

Chestnut has led UW’s Division of Student Affairs since fall 2019, assuming that vice president role after being named dean of students in 2018. She came to UW from West Chester University (Pa.), where she was the assistant vice president for student affairs. She also has held positions at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Temple University in Philadelphia, Berkeley College (N.J.), Antioch University Midwest (Ohio) and Widener University (Pa.).

“I am happy to serve in this capacity as we continue to advance as an excellent and inclusive university,” Chestnut says.

Starting in September, Seidel charged a small team to serve as an interim Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leadership Council to help assist in preparing for the search to fill the chief diversity officer position. That team met several times and proposed elevating the position to a vice president, with a search to be conducted using a search firm. The president advanced those recommendations and garnered support from the Board of Trustees.

A search committee is in place and expects to launch the search late this summer or early in the fall. Chestnut is chairing the search in partnership with Mandy Gifford, the chief of staff for Provost and Executive Vice President Kevin Carman. Other committee members are Ivan Sapien, Cliff Marks, Aleah Biertzer, John Griffin, Melvin Arthur, Teyon Ware, Becky Garcia, Jill Johnson, Jacquelyn Bridgeman, Reinette Tendore, Mindy Peep, Paula Martin, Julio Brionez, Melanie A. Vigil and Mel Hamilton.

In addition to the vice president search, Chestnut will continue to serve as the primary point of contact for the president’s cabinet in coordinating with the Native American Affairs Advisory Council; overseeing UW’s Black 14 initiatives; developing a campus climate response team; and working with campus partners on many other efforts. Those include a search equity advisor program; employee networks; and the Social Justice Research Center.

Chestnut holds a doctoral degree in human sexuality education and a master’s degree in education, both from Widener University; a master’s degree in organizational psychology from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.; a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Colorado-Boulder; and a graduate certificate in diversity leadership from Temple University.

During her eight years at Temple University, Chestnut applied skills learned through the diversity leadership graduate certificate to participate, support and eventually co-lead numerous inclusion efforts for various groups across campus. In transitioning to West Chester University, she continued this work in supervising multiple departments connected to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and traveled nationally facilitating transformational social dialogue trainings. In her four years at UW, she has continued her inclusion-related efforts and relationships while providing divisional leadership to the various teams within the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

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