Chief Diversity Officer Archive

José Villalba appointed interim chief diversity officer

José Villalba

Wake Forest Provost Rogan Kersh announced Aug. 11 that he has appointed Professor José Villalba as interim chief diversity officer.

The appointment of Villalba follows Chief Diversity Officer Barbee Myers Oakes’ departure to take the same role at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

In a message emailed to students, faculty and staff, Kersh wrote that he was “pleased to announce” Villalba’s appointment.

“Dr. Villalba arrived at Wake Forest in 2011 as Associate Professor of Counseling; he has spent the past four years in the Office of the Dean of the College, most recently holding the title of Senior Associate Dean for Faculty, Evaluation, and Inclusivity,” Kersh wrote. “In this role, Dr. Villalba participated in student-facing initiatives, worked with faculty and staff development efforts related to diversity and inclusion, was instrumental in faculty recruitment for the undergraduate College, and proved a key partner for offices and departments across the university. Dr. Villalba will remain in the Dean of the College’s office in an advisory role.”

As interim chief diversity officer, Kersh wrote, “Dr. Villalba will continue to build on our strong foundation for enhancing inclusion and diversity at Wake Forest. His teaching and research expertise is highly relevant for this vital interim role, ranging across health disparities in Latina/o youth, multicultural counseling, and minority populations’ access to and completion of higher education.”

Kersh added that Villalba has expressed “great enthusiasm for joining the talented team in our Office of Diversity and Inclusion as they continue to engage with an increasingly diverse and inclusive Wake Forest community. He is also deeply committed to extend and strengthen partnerships with offices and individuals across the University in the service of seamless support systems for all members of our campus, especially those from historically marginalized groups.”

Villalba praised the achievements of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion team.

“The Leadership Team in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion has provided exemplary and necessary support, guidance, and understanding to the greater Wake Forest Community.  I look forward to serving with this talented and skilled group of colleagues as we strive to value and appreciate the contributions of our community of students and families, faculty, staff, administrators, and alums,” Villalba said.

He came to Wake Forest from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he was an associate professor.  His background also includes a faculty position at Indiana State University.

At the University of Florida, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, Master of Education and Education Specialist degrees in school guidance and counseling, and a doctorate in counselor education.

Barbee Oakes named University's first chief diversity officer

Dr. Barbee Oakes, Director, Wake Forest Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Barbee Oakes, chief diversity officer

Barbee Oakes, one of the most recognized leaders in Wake Forest diversity and inclusion initiatives, has been promoted to a new position expanding her opportunities to advance those efforts.

Recently, Oakes was appointed as Wake Forest’s first chief diversity officer. She retains her assistant provost title and responsibilities, developed over her six years in that role.

“As our first chief diversity officer, Barbee is beautifully positioned to advance strategic planning and execution of Wake Forest’s diversity and inclusion initiatives,” said Provost Rogan Kersh. “She will confer regularly with the president’s cabinet, deans, governance boards and the larger campus community on issues involving the University’s progress on inclusive excellence initiatives.”

Oakes has her sights set on several high-priority goals for this year and beyond.

“Continuing to proactively address campus climate issues remains a very high University priority this year,” Oakes said. “With increased diversity, the challenges we face in establishing policies, programs and practices to ensure everyone feels included become more complex and nuanced.”

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