BCSC Director Search Update #3

To:       Students, Friends, and Colleagues 
From:   BCSC Director Search Committee
Subject: BCSC Director Search Update #3

Dear Students, Friends, and Colleagues,

We have two important updates on the progress of the search for the next Director of the Brown Center for Students of Color - one regarding the significant and meaningful feedback gathered from the listening sessions, and the other on the search timeline.

Listening Sessions - A Wealth of Input and Feedback

From February 17 through 25, the Search Committee engaged in a series of open listening sessions with different constituencies (students, faculty, staff, and alumni) who are invested in the search and the future of the center to hear their hopes and suggestions. We would like to express our deep thanks to and appreciation for those who attended these listening sessions for their time, insight, and care. For those who were not able to attend a listening session, you can still provide your thoughts to the following anonymous feedback form: https://forms.gle/atYpBLjwe8Qb7Ky9A. The feedback form is read by the entire search committee.

Search Timeline - Giving the Search the Time it Needs to be Successful

After much listening to the community and meaningful discussion amongst the members of the committee, the Search Committee has unanimously agreed to give the search process more time so that a strong pool of candidates for the BCSC Director search can be identified and the best, outstanding candidate can be hired. The Search Committee decision to do so is grounded in our commitment to maximizing the following opportunities and in two logistical considerations:

  • Multiple constituencies in the listening sessions shared feedback that the search process would benefit from more time including more time to re/build community as the search moved forward.
  • Multiple constituencies in the listening sessions shared rich, meaningful feedback that will help inform the final job description. 
  • Additional time will allow the committee to honor the feedback from the community, and work with the community to address conflicting hopes for the position and its work.
  • Koya Leadership Partners, the search firm supporting our efforts, has strongly advised that the Search Committee adopt a longer timeline to best support its work especially identifying and developing a strong, diverse pool of candidates for this special and important position.
  • Given current and potential disruption to international and domestic travel, higher education institutions will have to rethink many activities, including searches that may be impacted in the next few months.  This will be an issue for potential candidates and for us.

Updated Timeline for the Search

  • Draft job description by end of March 
  • Select one new undergraduate student to serve on the Search Committee by end of March (will serve immediately and replace the one senior undergraduate on the committee after graduation, increasing student representation in the short term and maintaining it in the long term)
  • Engage with the community around the draft job description at a community-wide listening session in April
  • Network the opportunity and develop and strong, diverse pool of candidates working closely with Koya Leadership Partners from May to mid-September
  • Begin Search Committee engagement with short-list of candidates in mid-September 
  • Sponsor on-campus interviews with 3-4 candidates that include significant engagement by all constituencies especially students in mid-October
  • Anticipated offer to next BCSC Director in late-October

The Search Committee anticipates that BCSC Director hire will start in January.

Acknowledging the Need for Re/Building Community

The Search Committee listened carefully to the meaningful input and feedback provided in the listening sessions.  We recognize the need for the re/building of community, especially addressing concerns around transparency, harm, and trust. We expect that the search process and committee members will be a part of that process, and that many in the community who care about the BCSC will want and need to be involved. We look forward to working with the community as the search process moves forward in a way that creates space for this kind of work including making sure that the BCSC is a home for students, faculty, and staff of color.

The Search Committee recognizes that time and space for this kind of community re/building will enable the next BCSC Director to be successful.  We want that person to feel welcomed, supported, and sustained as they join our community. 

Supporting the BCSC Staff

The Search Committee heard hopes for meaningful support for the BCSC professional staff at the listening session. Among the steps being taken include:

  • Continuing the assessment of the work and support needed by BCSC professional staff, based on direct engagement with the BCSC professional staff themselves.
  • Ensuring that BCSC professional staff are supported and successful by hiring a new permanent full-time staff person in an administrative support role based on the input and recommendation of current BCSC professional staff.
  • Continuing to benefit from the support of Events Planning on major BCSC Commencement events.
  • Planning additional support for existing positions to be identified and implemented in consultation and coordination with the BCSC professional staff
  • Developing a transition plan to prepare for the onboarding of the next BCSC Director informed by the input and feedback heard during the listening sessions.

Interim Co-Director Loc Truong will be appointed Interim Director on June 2nd and continue his close, daily work with the BCSC professional and student staffs. (Interim Co-Director Dr. Charrise Barron’s appointment ends at the beginning of June).  Loc Truong's appointment will last until the Search Committee has hired the next BCSC Director and that person has started at Brown.

Adjusting Search Committee Membership

Giving the BCSC Director search the time that it needs to be successful will necessitate a shift in the membership of the Search Committee.  Akash Altman ‘20, one of the undergraduate students on the Search Committee, will graduate in May. We will work with Akash as a non-committee member alum in the on-campus process in the fall. All other members of the Search Committee have committed to serving through the completion of the search process. 

To maintain our commitment that students are half the committee (5 students and 5 staff/faculty), are the majority constituency (5 students, 4 staff, and 1 faculty), and that undergraduates will be the majority of the student representation (3 undergraduate and 2 graduate students), the Search Committee will select another undergraduate to serve on the Search Committee starting immediately upon selection.  The undergraduate student will be selected from the students nominated for service on the Search Committee during the February nomination process. This means the constitution of the Search Committee will be 6 students (4 undergraduate and 2 graduate students), 4 staff, and 1 faculty until Commencement and then 5 students (3 undergraduate and 2 graduate students), 4 staff, and 1 faculty after Commencement and until the completion of the search process. 

For ongoing updates on the search, please visit our website found at brown.edu/go/bcsc-director-search. We continue to look forward to engaging with you as the process moves forward. We are committed to a transparent search process that is as accessible as possible to the entire community, especially students.  Again, thank you for commitment to the BCSC. If you have questions, please email us at [email protected].

Sincerely,

Akash Altman '20, Undergraduate Student

Wassa Bagayoko '21, Undergraduate Student 

Vernicia Elie, Associate Dean of the College for Financial Advising

Eric Estes, VP for Campus Life & Student Services (Co-Chair)

Nancy Khalek, Associate Professor of Religious Studies (Co-Chair)

Bahati Nkera, Ph.D. Neuroscience, Graduate Student

Uchechukwu Onwunaka '19, MPA, Graduate Student

Julio Reyes '12, Program Director for Undocumented, First-Generation College, and Low-Income Student Center (U-FLi Center), Alumnae

Felicia Salinas-Moniz, Ph.D. '13, Senior Assistant Director, Sarah Doyle Center for Women and Gender

Ciara Sing '22, Undergraduate Student