Stewart named first VP for diversity and inclusion
Reginald Stewart, chief diversity officer at the University of Nevada, Reno, has been selected vice president for diversity and inclusion at Iowa State. His appointment, subject to State Board of Regents approval at the regents' Oct. 22 meeting, begins on Dec. 1.
Stewart, who served as the inaugural chief diversity officer at University of Nevada, also will be the first to hold Iowa State's newly created vice presidential post. President Steven Leath created the position in response to a recommendation in a comprehensive study of ISU diversity programs.
"Iowa State’s commitment to diversity isn’t simply measured by statistics; it’s a principle that guides our land-grant mission of education, research, and service," Leath said. "I am very pleased to bring Dr. Reginald Stewart on board as our new Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion to enhance our campus environment in a way that values and celebrates diversity."
As Iowa State's chief diversity officer, Stewart will advise senior leadership on diversity planning efforts. He will develop initiatives to increase institutional diversity through recruitment and retention of faculty, staff and students. He also will serve as an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion within the university, Ames community and the state.
Stewart says he'll start his work at Iowa State with a lot of conversations.
"The key thing about diversity and inclusion work is social capital," he said. "That is the most important thing. It's your ability to work with people and that only comes from being sincere, honest and taking the time to engage people.
"It's not immediately transactional. You don't come in here and do x, y, z. What you do is you come in and establish the framework from which you can work. That means engaging with people who are invested in long-term success."
Noting that he has spent nearly 15 years in student services and student affairs, Stewart said he remains a very strong student advocate.
"Sometimes when we talk about diversity and inclusion, there's an assumption that we're only taking about people who define themselves in specific types of categories," he said. "But the reality is diversity and inclusion are beneficial for all the students who are studying at Iowa State because they're going to graduate and move into a much more diverse workforce than most of us have ever encountered."
Stewart has served as chief diversity officer and adjunct professor of educational leadership at the University of Nevada since 2011. His prior positions at Nevada include director of the Center for Student Cultural Diversity and counselor for the federally funded TRiO Scholars Program.
Stewart served as diversity consultant to the city of Reno and the Reno police department. He also was a coordinator-counselor for Upward Bound, a TRiO program, at Huston-Tillotson College, Austin, Texas, and testing coordinator in the Disability Resource Center at San Francisco State University, California.
Stewart earned a bachelor's degree in sociology (1993) from San Francisco State University, and master of education in educational leadership (2003) and doctorate in higher education administration (2010) from the University of Nevada.