Barbara J. Lawrence has been appointed Rider University’s inaugural vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion/chief diversity officer, the Lawrenceville-based university announced on Aug. 2. She will begin on Sept. 13.
“Barbara joins our university as a committed and student-focused leader with extensive background in issues related to equity, inclusion and diversity,” President Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D., said in a letter to students, faculty and staff. “She will champion Rider’s strategic goals to proactively foster an inclusive learning and working climate where all students, staff and faculty have an opportunity to succeed.”
In this newly created position, which involved a nationwide search for a candidate, Lawrence is charged with leading Rider’s strategic direction as it relates to inclusive excellence. She will serve as a member of President Dell’Omo’s cabinet.
“I am excited to join the Rider community as we address critical issues of diversity, equity and inclusion together,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence previously served in a similar role at Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C., where she developed the institution’s five-year strategic diversity, equity and inclusion plan and served as an associate professor in the criminal justice and community and justice studies programs. She also held several roles at Guilford previous to becoming vice president in 2017. These included associate dean of academic affairs and student administration and chair of the Justice and Policy Studies Department.
Previous to working in higher education, Lawrence spent 12 years serving as a police officer in the New York Police Department. Her criminal justice accomplishments include co-developing and implementing the first domestic violence unit; writing national law enforcement model domestic violence and cultural diversity training curricula; and preparing and conducting domestic violence training for employees, judges, attorneys and outside agencies.
Lawrence received a Juris Doctorate in Law from Indiana University School of Law, a Master of Public Administration in Public Policy/Criminal Justice from Indiana University Purdue University and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She is certified as a Title IX coordinator and investigator.
“The creation of this new senior leadership position represents an important step as we continue to grow our efforts to promote equity and inclusion in every aspect of our campus,” Dell’Omo said.
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