Otterbein University Names First Chief Diversity Officer
Posted Jun 08, 2022
Otterbein University has chosen Jeff King as its first Chief Diversity Officer. The new cabinet-level position will provide leadership, vision, and a collaborative approach to the strategies and policies of the institution in the crucial area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. King’s experience in higher education spans more than three decades and includes positions in diversity and inclusion, admission, and student life.
“Otterbein was founded 175 years ago on the principles of diversity, equality, and inclusion, and our history has many examples of our dedication to those founding principles. Hiring our first Chief Diversity Officer is an important step in being more strategic and intentional with those efforts. Jeff King’s wide-ranging experience in higher education make him an ideal choice for CDO, as he has the insight necessary to collaborate across divisions to make meaningful advancements in diversity, equity, and inclusion at Otterbein,” said President John Comerford.
As CDO, King will be responsible for developing a diversity and inclusion strategic plan that will create a campus culture that attracts and retains a diverse workforce and student body. He will partner with many divisions on campus, including student affairs to develop programs and initiatives that will make all students feel welcome and valued on campus; academic affairs to promote inclusive teaching and learning; enrollment management to develop new recruitment strategies to attract a diverse student body; human resources to facilitate the recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty and staff; and many others. He will also oversee outreach and engagement with community partners, including K-12 urban school districts and non-profit service organizations. Developing a diverse workforce pipeline for Central Ohio and beyond will be a key area of his work.
“I am very excited and charged as I anticipate continuing my journey and life’s work at Otterbein University toward a more diverse and equitable campus community. I am most excited to interact with our students and get their take on how they view their campus and what changes should be considered. I am also ready to partner with faculty and staff across the institution towards the realization of these ideas we share about our campus and what we want it to represent going forward. It will be a challenge, but a challenge worth my best efforts and the efforts of all that make up Otterbein University,” King said.
King comes to Otterbein from Gallatin, TN, where he was the manager of diversity and inclusion at Volunteer State Community College. In that position, he collaborated with student life, academic, and enrollment personnel to develop and implement strategic initiatives and programs to make the campus an environment that values all students, faculty, and staff.
King served as associate director of the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, from 2005-2018. In his position, he worked with many cultural initiatives including lectures by nationally renowned speakers and an art collection of 440 original pieces by international and local artists, as well as overseeing the day-to-day operations of the center.
He has also served in leadership roles in admissions at Notre Dame College in Cleveland, Wright State University in Dayton, and Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, NC. While working in admissions, King focused on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented and underserved populations. He began his higher education career as director of housing and student development at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, OH, in 1987.
King is a veteran of the United States Air Force, which he served as a flight operations resource manager at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton.