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Northwestern names three Office of the Provost directors

Leaders appointed to Women’s Center, Searle Center, Native American and Indigenous Affairs

Northwestern has appointed directors to Native American and Indigenous AffairsSearle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching and Women’s Center. Reporting to the Office of the Provost, all three units play important support roles for students, faculty and staff, and facilitate collaborations within the Northwestern and surrounding communities.

Native American and Indigenous Affairs

Jasmine Gurneau has been appointed director of Native American and Indigenous Affairs within the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion.

Jasmine Gurneau
Jasmine Gurneau

Gurneau previously served as senior program coordinator and then manager of Native American and Indigenous Initiatives, building relationships with tribal nations, recentering Indigenous knowledge, and building pathways for current and future students, staff, faculty and alumni.

Native American and Indigenous Affairs seeks to create spaces in which Native American and Indigenous people are heard, their identities are honored, and they can be successful members of Northwestern as well as good tribal and community citizens. As director, Gurneau will focus on formalizing relationships with tribal communities. She also will develop strategic efforts such as scholarship opportunities and outreach to recruit Indigenous people to campus.

Northwestern is taking steps to engage difficult aspects of the University’s past and work toward the present and future well-being of Cheyenne and Arapaho people and of the Indigenous peoples whose ancestral homelands the University occupies. In the month of November, Native American and Indigenous Affairs will host a series of engagement opportunities to learn about and reflect on the stories of the Sand Creek Massacre. Northwestern also will host 30 Days of Indigenous for Native American Heritage Month with the theme of the birchbark canoe.

Gurneau, who has worked at Northwestern since 2011, earned her master’s degree in Learning Sciences from Northwestern and her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from DePaul University.

Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching

Jennifer Keys has been appointed director of the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching and professor in the Department of Sociology (by courtesy).

Jennifer Keys
Jennifer Keys

Before coming to Northwestern, Keys was a professor of sociology at North Central College in Naperville for 18 years. In her role as assistant provost at North Central, Keys provided vision and leadership for faculty engagement in evidence-based pedagogies, educational technology and high-impact practices. As the inaugural director, Keys established North Central’s Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence, which offers holistic support and the resources needed for faculty to achieve higher levels of impact.

Established in 1992, the Searle Center strives to enhance teaching and learning at all levels of the University, with the strategic priorities of building greater capacity for inclusive teaching, curricular innovation, and assessment of learning. Its wide array of initiatives embrace the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion to optimize learning environments across fields and disciplines so that all Northwestern students can thrive.

This year the Searle Center has partnered with units across campus to offer the Inclusive Teaching Practicum, a three-week, cohort-based program for Northwestern instructors at all levels, and also introduced the Excellence in Teaching Alliance, a new program bringing together teaching faculty at Northwestern. The robust infrastructure of support extends to graduate and post-doctoral learning, including the Teaching Certificate Program focused on exploring pedagogical values and academic job market readiness.

Keys earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University at Albany-State University of New York and her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Psychology from Ohio University.

Women’s Center

Sarah Brown was appointed director of the Women’s Center after serving in an interim role since April. Brown, who arrived at Northwestern in 2019 as program manager, also teaches in the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program

Sarah Brown
Sarah Brown

The Women's Center, housed within the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, advocates for all students, faculty and staff subject to gender-based oppression and provides educational programming for the University and broader community.

Among Brown’s priorities for the Women’s Center is to advance the well-being and safety needs of the campus trans and non-binary community, to aid in the retention of women and non-binary faculty and staff, and to continue to foster community across roles and identities around shared commitments to gender justice.

Each year, the Women’s Center focuses on a theme. This year’s theme, Disability Justice and Feminist Practice, is exploring radical visions of accessibility, particularly vibrant within Queer and BIPOC feminist communities. Among other program and service offerings, the Women’s Center also plans to celebrate Women’s History Month in March with speakers and a symposium. 

Brown earned her Ph.D. in American Studies from Brown University, her master’s degree in Liberal Studies from the City University of New York and her bachelor’s degree in English from Brooklyn College.

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