Dear members of the FAS community,
It is with genuine excitement and a sense of new possibility that I write to announce the appointment of Sheree Ohen as the inaugural Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB) for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, starting September 28.
Dean Ohen is currently the Chief Officer of Diversity and Inclusion at Clark University where she provides strategic direction in creating a campus climate that is welcoming, inclusive, respectful, and free from bias and harassment. A highly principled leader, Sheree is known for the trusted partnerships she builds with people across the university community. Those strong relationships have been essential to her effectiveness in advancing institutional change. While at Clark, she co-chaired the President’s Commission on Speech Rights and Community Values that resulted in the successful adoption of a statement of principles and policy regarding freedom of expression on campus. Sheree also led the university-wide process to develop and administer the inaugural Clark campus climate survey, working closely with the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) to incorporate evidence-based strategies into their efforts. Under her leadership, Clark developed a strategic roadmap for advancing diversity and inclusion, #ClarkForward: Pathways to Inclusive Excellence. This and other initiatives paved the way for Clark to receive the prestigious 2018 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity. The HEED Award is the only national honor recognizing colleges and universities that show an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion across their campuses.
Born and raised in California, Sheree received her undergraduate degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley and went on to earn a law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law. She launched a successful career as an attorney practicing civil rights litigation, employment law, and criminal defense, and while she was thriving professionally, she realized that she was seeking a field that aligned more fundamentally with her passion for equity and social justice. In taking the leap to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education, she has found her life’s work. Since then, Sheree has emerged as a DIB thought-leader and vocal advocate, who is a frequent guest lecturer and invited keynote speaker, and has effectively advised companies and institutions across the country on best practice approaches to advancing inclusive excellence.
I am delighted that Sheree will be bringing her expertise and passion to this newly created role. As the FAS Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging she will serve as the lead FAS administrator responsible for conceiving, developing, and overseeing strategies to advance and support diversity, inclusion, and belonging for all constituencies in the FAS. In this role, Sheree will report directly to me and will work closely with other senior leaders, as well as with multiple stakeholders among the faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and students. The Associate Dean’s role is to ensure that all members of the FAS community feel welcome, included, and supported and that diversity, inclusion, and belonging are established as core, lived values of the FAS. She joins a burgeoning community of colleagues across the University working to advance diversity and inclusion in support of our academic missions.
Declaring our values is an important step, but only through institutional action will we make progress in becoming the Harvard we aspire to be. I am eager for the benefit of Sheree’s leadership as we work at every level of the FAS to dismantle the cultural and structural barriers that have precluded that progress. Please join me in welcoming Sheree to the FAS!
Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences