The University of Denver Sturm College of Law has created a new associate dean position to promote diversity and inclusiveness within the institution. ... "The main reason we wanted this position was to send a pretty clear message that this is important to us," said Martin Katz, who was appointed as dean of the law school in February. "The way to do that, in my mind, was to put someone in a top position at the law school."
The new associate dean for diversity, Catherine Smith, has been a professor at the school since 2004. ... "Tenure gives her the freedom to get things done, even if that means rocking the boat," Katz said of Smith. "She'll have the ability to twist arms if necessary."
Smith won't begin her new role full time until the fall, but she has already been soliciting suggestions. "I'm amazed at how much of a need there is to have someone in the building who people can go to with issues or concerns about diversity and inclusiveness," she said. "It's important to have a liaison between the administration, the faculty and the students."
By Katz's estimation, slightly fewer than 18% of the students are minorities, but the law school can and should do better. Smith's top priority is to improve the pipeline of diverse students and boost the percentage of minority students admitted. ... Improving faculty diversity is another priority, Katz said. Smith led the school's entry-level faculty hiring efforts this year, and four of the seven candidates selected belong to ethnic minorities. Smith hopes to do a better job of retaining diverse students and professors, she said.
So much for color-blindness in admissions and hiring, I guess. OTOH, no mention is made of intellectual diversity. Nor is there any mention of outreach to groups like, say, The Federalist Society. One might also wonder whether arm-twisting will impact academic freedom and free speech on the part of those who dissent from the politically correct account of diversity.