Interim vice chancellor for diversity, equity and engagement

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

With great pleasure, I write to announce that Charu Thakral, PhD, will serve as interim vice chancellor for diversity, equity and engagement, effective Jan. 10, subject to approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

Dr. Thakral has served as UIC’s executive associate vice chancellor for diversity, equity and engagement, and has been with the UIC Office of Diversity, Equity and Engagement since its founding in 2009.

Dr. Thakral oversees campuswide diversity education, including the development of evidence-based workshops and trainings for students, faculty, and staff. In 2009, she launched the UIC Dialogue Initiative, for which she developed credit-bearing courses and workshops designed to analyze and understand social conflict, intergroup relations, and issues of diversity and social justice. Across the health sciences colleges, she has worked with faculty and leadership to apply principles of intergroup relations theory and dialogue pedagogy to interprofessional education and collaborative practice programs, which is now offered at all six UIC campuses. Dr. Thakral also co-led the oversight, development, and implementation of the Inclusive Education Scholars Certificate Program with the Center for the Advancement of Teaching Excellence. This campus initiative supports instructors in building capacity to implement inclusive and equity-minded teaching practices. Most recently, she has been awarded funding through the National Science Foundation and Howard Hughes Medical Institute as principal and co-principal investigator researching institutional change efforts and inclusive and equitable teaching in STEM.

Dr. Thakral’s training as a counseling psychologist specializing in multicultural theory and competence and her significant contributions to the field have been recognized through Loyola University’s School of Education Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Illinois Chicago’s Award of Merit, and the UIC Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence Award. She has provided expertise in areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion through consultation with numerous organizations, including the Obama Foundation, United States Department of Agriculture, Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center, and institutions of higher education across the country.

While Dr. Thakral serves in this interim role, we will be undertaking a national search to secure the next vice chancellor. This is a critical leadership role on our campus, and I am committed to finding an outstanding candidate to serve the rich diversity of backgrounds and perspectives found in our university community.

Marie Lynn Miranda, PhD

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