Dartmouth Names Inaugural SVP/Senior Diversity Officer

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Shontay Delalue has led diversity and inclusion initiatives at Brown University.

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Shontay Delalue
Photo by Peter Goldberg Photography
2/03/2021
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Shontay Delalue, a recognized leader in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education, has been named Dartmouth’s inaugural senior vice president and senior diversity officer—a role that was recently elevated on campus. She is currently the vice president for institutional equity and diversity at Brown University. She also serves as interim senior associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Brown’s medical school, and is an adjunct assistant professor of American studies at Brown.

Delalue will start meeting with key stakeholders at Dartmouth this spring and will officially begin her new role on July 1.

For more than two decades, she has been an advocate for change in the higher education structures that create inequity. She has also led universities to embrace difference and create a culture of belonging.

“I believe my personal, educational, and professional experiences have prepared me for what lies ahead at Dartmouth,” says Delalue. “I am excited to use the knowledge and skills I have attained to lead diversity and equity initiatives forward at the College.”

The senior vice president/senior diversity officer position and portfolio were given increased responsibility and prominence this past summer by President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 and the Dartmouth Board of Trustees as a commitment to improving the campus culture and focusing on the recruitment, retention, and inclusion of faculty, staff, and students, particularly those from underrepresented and historically marginalized backgrounds. The more robust position was one of a series of measures designed to bring about change on campus and support change beyond the institution.

In her new role, Delalue will report to President Hanlon and serve as a member of Dartmouth’s Senior Leadership Group. Also, as a way to improve planning and effectiveness, the Title IX Office, the Inclusive Excellence (IE) project, and the Campus Climate and Culture Initiative (C3I) will become part of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity (IDE).

“Shontay Delalue is the right leader for this important time in Dartmouth’s history as we work to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community,” says Hanlon. “We are looking forward to welcoming her to campus and partnering with her to advance the important work ahead.” 

Delalue stated, “Two important components of engaging in this important work are acknowledging the gaps and making a bold commitment to change. With the elevation of the position, I believe Dartmouth is ready to engage deeper in this work. I am honored to have been selected to lead the charge.”

She will be responsible for evaluating, planning, and implementing Dartmouth’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts as well as leading the institution’s compliance on dealing with discrimination and harassment. She is charged with strengthening Moving Dartmouth Forward, IE, and C3I to infuse a greater sense of accountability and sustainability in these initiatives designed to address campus climate; and creating a more comprehensive structure to support the expanded IDE office staff. In addition, she will build partnerships with faculty, staff, and students who are working on diversity and equity at Dartmouth’s graduate and professional schools.

At Brown, Delalue reports to President Christina H. Paxson and serves on the president’s cabinet and executive committee. She oversees the university’s diversity and inclusion strategic initiatives as well as its compliance with affirmative action, Title IX, and matters involving discrimination and harassment.

“Shontay has been an exceptional leader and integral part of Brown’s progress in ensuring the institution is upholding its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” says Paxson. “It is obvious to anyone who works with her that Shontay brings to her work a deeply held set of values and possesses a complex understanding of the need to enhance equity and diversity for historically underrepresented groups in higher education. I am grateful for all she has done for Brown.”

Delalue has been at Brown since 2013 and has also served as assistant provost for global engagement and director of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program as well as associate dean of the college and director of the international student experience.

She says she is proud of having implemented Brown’s first comprehensive guide to diversifying the faculty; expanding the Administrative Fellows Program, which allows staff to complete research projects on diversity, equity, and inclusion topics with a culminating trip abroad (pre-pandemic); teaching “The African Atlantic Diaspora,” an undergraduate course with a destination component to Ghana; and increasing the Institutional Equity and Diversity office staff from four to 12, including expansion of the Title IX office.

“Through several strategic initiatives related to diversity and inclusion at Brown, I have been able to partner with campus leaders to increase the number of faculty from historically underrepresented groups. One program in particular, the Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship, resulted in 28 talented scholars coming to Brown between 2015-2021 with nine being offered faculty positions at the institution,” Delalue says.

She also led Brown’s campus-wide implementation of its Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, launched in 2016. The plan outlined a set of actions to create a more diverse and inclusive community. Delalue provided strategic direction for a wide range of programs and initiatives, coordinated education and training efforts, measured and reported on progress toward the plan’s goals, and managed compliance and oversaw the investigation of complaints. Over the past year, she led development of the second phase of the plan, which is assessing progress toward the plan’s original goals and outlining new action to further advance the goals.

From 2016 through 2018, Delalue was a global dialogue fellowship leader in NAFSA: Association of International Educators. In 2017, she received Brown’s Wilson-DeBlois award for exemplary service to graduate students, and in 2015, she was presenter of the year at the National Academic Advising Association’s New England regional conference.

Before Brown, Delalue spent more than five years at Bryant University, where she was director of the intercultural center and an adjunct instructor. Over the course of her career, Delalue has had a number of roles, working as a wellness adviser and college/transition counselor at the Met High School in Providence, R.I., and as director of admissions, adjunct instructor, and academic adviser at the University of Alaska Southeast, in Juneau. She began her professional career at the University of Maine, Orono, where she was an assistant director of admission and coordinator of diversity recruitment.

She earned a doctorate in education through a joint program at the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College. Her thesis examined what it means to be Black in the United States for international students from Africa and the Caribbean. She has a certificate from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education’s Institute for Management and Leadership in Education, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Maine.

Delalue “impressed the search committee with her holistic approach to her work,” says Matthew Garcia, a professor of history and of Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies, who, along with General Counsel Sandhya Iyer, was a co-chair of the search committee, which made recommendations to Hanlon.

“She’ll embrace all members of the Dartmouth community, wherever they may reside,” he said. “With gravitas and an undeniable strength of character, she speaks with a strong, clear voice that will command the respect of her peers and guide us toward a better future.”

On the search committee with Garcia and Iyer were Renata Baptista, program manager in Student Affairs and Employee Resource Networks; Petra Bonfert-Taylor, professor of engineering and associate dean for diversity and inclusion at Thayer School of Engineering; Nai-Lah Dixon ’21; Dia Draper, assistant dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Tuck School of Business; N. Bruce Duthu ’80, the Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies; Faith Goodness, chief of staff at the Geisel School of Medicine; Eng-Beng Lim, associate professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; Roderick Milligan, Tuck ’21; Lorin Parker, director of employee relations in Human Resources; Tiffani-Dawn Sykes, senior associate athletics director for varsity sports/senior woman administrator; and Hilary Tompkins ’90, a Dartmouth trustee, and partner in the Hogan Lovells law firm. The firm Isaacson, Miller assisted with the search.

Delalue is a member of the University of Maine’s Board of Visitors; a trustee at Community Preparatory School in Providence, R.I.; and a member of the Rhode Island Statewide Commission for Health Advocacy and Equity, among other organizations.

Delalue says she and her husband and two children are looking forward to making the move to the Upper Valley.

Susan Boutwell can be reached at susan.j.boutwell@dartmouth.edu

Written by
Susan J. Boutwell