McClung named University’s chief diversity officer

Kiwana McClung has been named the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s chief diversity officer. In that role, she will oversee UL Lafayette’s Office for Campus Diversity.

McClung will also lead the University’s focus on fostering diversity, equity and inclusion among students, faculty and staff. Another emphasis will be ensuring that underrepresented groups have equal access to educational opportunities and resources. So, too, will be helping to coordinate faculty development and diversity training for employees.

McClung, who joined the University in 2013, is an associate professor in the School of Architecture and Design. She will remain a faculty member, and plans to teach two courses per academic year.

McClung has earned national recognition for developing initiatives to increase diversity in architecture programs and curricula. She is an accomplished researcher as well.

“Professor McClung’s proven strength and influence as a leader – in the classroom, as a researcher and in mentoring students – will enable her to inform and advance the University’s progress in fostering acceptance, inclusion and academic success for all students,” said Dr. Joseph Savoie, University president.

McClung, who became UL Lafayette’s interim chief diversity officer in November, has been instrumental in guiding the University to its fifth straight Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award. 

Only 103 colleges and universities in the country earned the distinction, which was announced in August. It singles out institutions in the U.S. and Canada for advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Recruitment and campus leadership is also considered.

“The recognition is indicative of strides we’ve made in creating a campus that embraces equity and inclusion. It also represents our commitment to thinking intentionally about ways to enhance academic opportunities for underrepresented groups,” McClung explained.

The cornerstone of those efforts is the University’s Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence. The comprehensive plan sets forth strategies for bolstering engagement across campus and in the community; expanding professional development resources; recruiting and hiring diverse faculty members; and increasing enrollment and retention among underrepresented students.

It’s the sort of work McClung has long made a priority.

During her time at the University, she has been a driving force in creating undergraduate and graduate courses that integrate design concepts with social equity and inclusion considerations. McClung has conducted research in areas such as the effect of design and spatial considerations in multicultural societies, and equity concerns in communities impacted by flooding. She has lectured and written widely about the relationship between faculty diversity and student success, race and gender, and recruitment and retention of minority students.

“My engagement with diversity, equity and inclusion as an academic has focused on educating students to succeed in a diverse world and understand and prepare for issues and challenges they will face,’” she said.

“I plan to bring that perspective to my role as chief diversity officer.”

McClung, who is from Baton Rouge, La., earned a bachelor’s degree in arts and humanities from Southern University in 2008, and a master’s degree in architecture from LSU in 2012.

Learn more about the Office for Campus Diversity and its Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence.

Photo caption: Kiwana McClung is the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s newly appointed chief diversity officer. Photo credit: Rachel Rafati / University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Web: UL Lafayette has named Kiwana McClung its chief diversity officer. In that role, she will oversee UL Lafayette’s Office for Campus Diversity.