Distributed June 10, 2003
News Service Contact: Mark Nickel
Allen named associate provost and director of institutional diversity
Brenda A. Allen, currently assistant to the president and director of institutional diversity at Smith College, has been named to the newly created position of associate provost and director of institutional diversity at Brown University.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brenda A. Allen, associate professor of psychology, assistant to the president and director of institutional diversity at Smith College, has been named associate provost and director of institutional diversity at Brown University. Allen’s appointment begins July 1, 2003.
“Institutional diversity, broadly understood, is fundamental to the University’s educational mission and will be an important touchstone for its future success,” said Brown President Ruth J. Simmons. “As a faculty member and as a senior administrator, Brenda Allen has approached issues of diversity with courage, understanding and skill. Her record of achievement and her ability to articulate the important role of diversity in higher education made her the outstanding candidate for this position at Brown.”
As associate provost and director of institutional diversity, Allen will hold a cabinet-level position, working closely with Simmons and Provost Robert J. Zimmer, as well as with other senior officers of the administration. She will lead the formulation and oversight of the University’s policies related to diversity, including race, ethnicity, gender, disability status, sexual orientation, gender expression, religion and national origin. Allen will also provide creative leadership to assure effective recruitment and retention of faculty, students and staff of diverse identities and will serve as a key University voice on diversity issues before community organizations, alumni and campus constituencies, public media and other groups.
A graduate of Lincoln University (B.A., psychology, 1981), Allen earned her graduate degrees in psychology at Howard University (M.S., 1984; Ph.D., 1988). She did postdoctoral work at Yale University, initially in a research project about problem-solving behaviors of educationally at-risk minority children and then on cognition, learning and incorporating human diversity characteristics into curriculum materials. While at Yale, she also served as a lecturer in psychology and African and African-American studies.
Allen joined the psychology faculty of Smith College in 1990, earning the Smith College Junior Faculty Teaching Award (1992) and the President’s Annual Award for promotion of the Smith Design for Diversity (1994), among other honors. She also served as special assistant to the provost (1999-2000) and chair of the Afro-American Studies Department (1998-2002). As assistant to the president and director of institutional diversity, Allen also holds appointments as associate professor of psychology and adjunct professor in the School for Social Work. She is the author or co-author of more than two dozen journal articles, book chapters and other works on cultural influences on cognitive and social development.
The national search for the new position was conducted by a 17-member selection committee, which Simmons chaired. In addition to Simmons, the committee included: