SMU President Gerald Turner announced today that CCPA Professor Maria Dixon Hall has been named to the newly created post of Chief Diversity Officer.
In his announcement letter, President Turner noted that Dr. Dixon Hall developed and has been managing SMU’s Cultural Intelligence Initiative, and her academic research interests fall at the intersection of power, identity, and culture in corporate, nonprofit, and religious organizations. Her appointment is an institutional commitment to meaningful engagement and real progress in the person of a campus leader for whom equity is a passion.
Dr. Dixon Hall will report directly to President Turner and continue to coordinate the delivery of SMU’s Cultural Intelligence and anti-bias training for all members of the SMU community. She will convene a University Diversity Council to connect the missions of the diversity officers of each school and academic unit. Additionally, Dr. Dixon Hall will supervise University Ombudsperson, who will provide confidential, neutral counsel for faculty, students, and staff who encounter conflicts relating to such things as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.
“I am deeply honored and humbled to be appointed by President Turner to serve our University in this critical role,” said Dixon Hall. “We are at an important crossroads for our country and campus, and the challenges to reweave the fabric of civility, diversity, and inclusion that binds us are daunting. However, I believe that as Mustangs, we are more than able to meet this challenge together in authentic and collaborative ways that affirm the sacred worth of every student, staff, and faculty member.”
CCPA Chair Dr. Sandra Duhé commented, “Dr. Dixon Hall’s appointment as CDO is a win for all. She remains on the faculty in CCPA, keeps her office in Umphrey Lee Center, and will embark on some of the most important work in SMU’s history. She is setting an example of the level of leadership we prepare our graduates to achieve. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Turner added, “The creation of a Chief Diversity Officer and Diversity Ombudsperson is a meaningful change for SMU now, and it is my hope that it sends a strong signal that we are living our mission to embrace excellence, integrity, intellectual freedom, open dialogue, diversity, and inclusion.”
Congratulations to Dr. Maria Dixon Hall