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Women’s Center director Sekile Nzinga named interim chief diversity officer

Sekile Nzinga has strengthened partnerships to advance gender equity at Northwestern.

Sekile M. Nzinga has been appointed Northwestern's interim Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Provost Jonathan Holloway announced Feb. 11.

She will assume the role Feb. 15 and serve until a permanent diversity officer is appointed.

Nzinga also will continue in her current role as director of the Women’s Center and as a lecturer in Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University.

She brings two decades of experience as a professor and administrator in higher education, an engaged feminist leader and an advocate for those who, as she has said, “are navigating oppression, inequality and marginalization in society.” 

She will succeed Jabbar R. Bennett, Northwestern’s inaugural Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, who is stepping down Feb. 14.

Nzinga has distinguished herself with her work on a variety of important programs, according to Holloway, including strengthening partnerships to advance gender equity at Northwestern. She served as the co-chair of the University’s Gender Queer, Non-binary and Trans Task Force, and she is co-author of the forthcoming task force report. 

Prior to Northwestern, she was a founding director of a Women & Gender Studies B.A. program and a tenured associate professor of social work at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York. Her scholarship and teaching have centered on the intersections of race, class and gender in reproduction and parenting; critical feminist university studies; and health and social policy. 

She serves as a member-at-large on the National Women’s Studies Association’s governing council. Her community-engaged work has focused on advancing reproductive justice and leading feminist and social justice community-based organizations. She is the 2019 recipient of the Evanston-Northshore YWCA’s Women in Leadership Award.

The search for a permanent Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion will begin shortly.