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Drury University appoints Marilyn Harris to new Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer role 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., November 5, 2019 — Drury University is pleased to announce a significant step forward in its commitment to diversity and inclusion by appointing Marilyn Harris as the school’s first chief diversity and inclusion officer. Harris was named head of Drury’s human resources department in May, and she will continue in that position. Her new title will be Chief Human Resources & Diversity and Inclusion Officer.

Harris brings more than 20 years of experience to the role. She will serve as a point person for Drury, helping to raise the visibility of diversity efforts; clarify goals and assess progress; and provide expertise on issues of access, equity, diversity, and inclusion. She will work with various constituencies across the university to develop a formal plan that will initially focus on three main areas:

  • Infusing diversity and inclusion throughout all parts of the university
  • Working with Springfield community leaders to develop partnerships for programs and initiatives pertaining to diversity and inclusion
  • Helping to facilitate campus-wide sessions on diversity training and leadership development to increase awareness of diversity and cultural competence among students, faculty, administrators and other staff

“I am profoundly proud of Drury University’s rich heritage of diversity and inclusion, which started with attracting women and Native Americans into its first class nearly 150 years ago,” says Drury President Dr. Tim Cloyd. “To continue to build upon our history we must attract, embrace and celebrate academic success that includes an expanded scope of diversity. Marilyn is the right person to lead these efforts. Yet she does not bear the sole responsibility in this area. It will take the contributions of the entire Drury community to ensure we are truly walking the walk in this regard.”

As part of this role, Harris will chair an expanded President’s Council on Inclusion, with current chair and associate professor of communication Greg Booker continuing to serve an important role as faculty advisor.

“The Board of Trustees wholeheartedly supports and applauds the establishment of this position,” said Tim Reese, Drury University Trustee.  “This move ensures that Drury will continue its long-standing commitment to fostering an inclusive and welcoming community that presents students with a well-rounded learning experience.”

Harris came to Drury from the Monarch Fire Protection District in Chesterfield, where she was the human resources director for five years. Prior to that, she held roles at MedLab and at SpecialCare Hospital Management in the St. Louis area. She has extensive experience in the field, including areas of strategic planning, performance management, recruiting top talent, employee relations, and more.

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