New Assistant Vice President for Campus Life

Email from: Eric Estes

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that Nicole Truesdell wilNicole Truesdell- Assistant Vice President for Campus LifeNicole Truesdell- Assistant Vice President for Campus Lifel be joining Brown as an assistant vice president for campus life on March 19th. Dr. Truesdell comes to our community from Beloit College where her work on building community generally, and diversity and inclusion specifically, has been transformative. At Brown, she will be a key member of the leadership team in the Division of Campus Life overseeing seven centers and offices that support undergraduate, graduate, and medical school students - Brown Center for Students of Color, First Generation College and Low-Income Student Center, International Student Experience, LGBTQ Center, Sarah Doyle Women’s Center, Student Activities and the Stephen Robert ‘62 Student Center, and the Office of Student Veterans and Commissioning Programs. She also will serve on the University’s Executive Committee.

During her time at Beloit College, Dr. Truesdell is most recognized for having created and developed the new Office of Academic Diversity and Inclusiveness (OADI) from the ground up.  Under her skilled guidance as inaugural director and a member of the President’s senior staff, OADI has grown into a critical institutional resource including 9 staff all of whom were hired and mentored by Dr. Truesdell.  OADI works with first-generation college, low-income, students of color, LGBTQ+ students, undocumented and DACA, and others often on the margins as well as with all student leaders and organizers across a wide range of identities, histories, backgrounds, and experiences.  By helping historically underrepresented students thrive, her leadership has helped lead to a significant increase in retention rates, often higher than the overall average for all students at the college.  OAID also developed and launched the #GetWoke series that brings campus partners together to examine critical issues during current challenging and uncertain times. The Office of Student Engagement and Leadership recognized the series as the programming with the greatest impact on campus last year.  OADI also houses 2 federally funded TRIO programs — Student Support Services and McNair Scholars.  She also has a faculty appointment in Critical Identity Studies. 

Dr. Truesdell has been successful on securing significant grant and foundation funding to support a range of student and faculty initiatives. She co-wrote and co-administered a 3-year Mellon Foundation grant ($600K) focused on building capacity among 70 key faculty and staff including the senior administration to create inclusive classrooms and community. She also co-wrote the renewal of Beloit’s U.S. Department of Education McNair Scholars Program grant ($1.1M) and was the program’s director from 2013-2015. McNair is a pipeline program that helps students, especially historically underrepresented students, prepare for and attend graduate school in order to help diversify the professoriate.  Dr. Truesdell is living proof of the program’s importance having been a McNair Scholar as an undergraduate.

She was also instrumental in obtaining a Toussisant Foundation grant ($25K) to support historically underserved and underrepresented students. This grant enabled her to create the Ousley Scholar in Residency (SIR) honoring the legacy of the first Black graduate from Beloit College in 1904 - Grace Ousley. The SIR brings a visiting early career scholar, intellectual, artist, activist, and or organizer to campus who’s work role models the possibilities for the theory and practice of social justice. She also helped obtain two Heritage Lottery Fund grants ($175K) connected to her ongoing collaboration with the Black Southwest Network, a community organization focused on the needs and concerns of the Black and other minority communities, in the United Kingdom - a relationship that grew out of her doctoral field work.

Dr. Truesdell is a national leader having published recently in Inside Higher Ed and several past and upcoming book chapters and journals. She is the president-elect of the Association of Black Anthropologists and treasurer-elect of the Association of Black Sociologists. She earned her B.A. in Anthropology from Beloit College, her M.A. in Biological and Forensic Anthropology from Louisiana State University, and her Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology from Michigan State University.

I want to thank the dedicated students, faculty, and staff who served on the search committee:

Nothando Adu-Gyamfi ‘19
Leslie Benavides ‘20
AJ Clifforde Alcover '20
Yolanda Castillo-Appollonio (co-chair), senior associate dean and director of Student Conduct and Community Standards
Evelyn Hu-Dehart, professor of American studies, ethnic studies, and history
Majida Kargbo, graduate student, American studies
Rene Davis, Title IX Officer

The work of the committee was invaluable and most appreciated.

Dr. Truesdell will visit campus in early February as she and her family prepare for their move to Providence. It also provides further opportunities for her to meet with students, faculty, and staff so I’ll be back in touch with details. In the meantime, please join me in congratulating her and welcoming her to Brown.

Eric Estes
Vice President for Campus Life