Shontay Delalue stepped into her role as vice president for institutional equity and diversity Dec. 1, following a nationwide search. Delalue, an experienced administrator, educator and scholar, had served as the interim vice president since June 2017.
In an email sent Nov. 28, President Christina Paxson P’19 announced Delalue’s appointment to the permanent position. Paxson wrote that as interim vice president, Delalue “has provided critical leadership during a period of transition, working closely with me, the provost and other senior leaders to carry out the responsibilities of the office and make progress toward our ambitious diversity and inclusion goals.” Concluding her letter, she wrote, “Shontay’s wide range of experiences, her deep knowledge of Brown’s history and current climate and her dedication to creating a fully inclusive community make her an ideal person to lead us in these efforts.”
Delalue came to Brown in 2013 as the inaugural director of international student and visitor experience and assistant dean of the college, after working “in a number of different capacities in higher education space, in everything from admissions to advising,” Delalue said. “All throughout, no matter what unit I worked in, I always brought in the language of diversity and inclusion.”
The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity focuses on compliance, which includes Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX, employment opportunity, affirmative action and the American Disability Act. The office is also responsible for carrying out the University’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan and fostering academic diversity.
In her interim role, Delalue worked to maintain momentum around the major initiatives in play. In this case, “the DIAP process for the institution is a major undertaking, and, so, it was my responsibility to ensure that we continued with the process,” she said, adding that one of her goals was “to think about how we would continue to manage it in a way that was helpful for the entire institution.” The first annual DIAP report was submitted February 2016. During her time as interim vice president, Delalue assessed the plan and worked to put it on an academic timeline so the report would come out at the end of the spring semester.
Delalue, in accordance with her colleagues, plans to continue her work around how people view compliance and “how we can embed equality and diversity into how we do business at the University. … It shouldn’t be an add-on, it shouldn’t feel taxing — it should actually feel rewarding.”
One project Delalue hopes to work on is shifting applications for funding for diversity-related initiatives from the office itself to UFunds, allowing the OIED to streamline the process of generating reports. This would allow the office to “speak to, in a more cohesive way, the ways in which we’ve funded different initiatives on campus,” Delalue said.
Russell Carey ’91 MA’06, executive vice president for planning and policy, chaired the OIED search committee, which also included faculty, professors and undergraduate and graduate students. Courtney Baker ’18, a student member of the committee, said she looked for someone who was “compassionate but also stern (and) willing to push for important things.”
The committee “conducted two stages of reviewing materials and two stages of interviews and then three finalists came to campus for day-and-a-half visits and met with … about 100 community members through that process,” Carey said.
Carey emphasized the importance of Delalue’s familiarity with Brown’s community, culture and plan. “Brown has an action plan that was very thoughtfully created. … There’s been significant progress already, but it’s an area where there’s a long way to go, and this office — and Shontay in particular — really would be the key leadership for making that happen,” Carey said.