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Jabbar Bennett, chief diversity officer, will step down

Jabbar R. Bennett, Northwestern’s inaugural associate provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, will step down, effective mid-February. 

“It is irrefutable that Jabbar has helped the University to better articulate, refine and focus its global diversity and inclusion efforts over the past several years,” Provost Jonathan Holloway said.

Jabbar Bennett
Jabbar Bennett

Upon his arrival in 2015, Bennett established the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (OIDI) and cast a vision for its work and eventual impact on the Northwestern community. Under his leadership, the number of staff doubled in OIDI. He co-sponsored the first-ever Staff Engagement Survey Recommendation Implementation Team for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and served as a strong advocate for and liaison between the Provosts’ office and the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research.

Along with planning the annual Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration activities, OIDI supports more than 75 events and programs annually. With Bennett’s guidance, OIDI has generated more robust communication around institutional diversity and inclusion efforts with an enhanced web presence, creation of the quarterly e-communication, “Insights,” and improved content and quality of Northwestern’s annual Diversity and Inclusion Report.  

Within the Office of the Provost, Bennett partnered to co-convene the Faculty Excellence and Diversity Group, as well as the Provost’s Advisory Council on Women Faculty. He also co-led planning of the Faculty Pathways Initiative.

In collaboration with Student Affairs and others, Bennett oversaw the implementation of recommendations from the Black Student Experience Task Force Report and co-led the Undergraduate Student LifecyclePlanning Committee, efforts designed to help ensure the support and success of first-generation, low-income, underrepresented minority and/or marginalized students from pre-matriculation to post-graduation.

Last year, Bennett sponsored the Gender-Queer, Non-Binary, Transgender Support Task Force, whose report and next steps will soon be made available. Currently, he is sponsoring the yearlong Change Makers Program Exploratory Committee, which aims to determine how Northwestern can effectively and sustainably support staff and faculty in their exploration of social identities and create a more equitable and inclusive campus.

Along with Bennett’s institution-wide efforts to promote and advance diversity and inclusion, he is a nationally recognized leader in academic medicine and holds an appointment of associate professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The University will begin the search for Bennett’s successor shortly.

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