VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University President, the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, today announced the appointment of Teresa Nance, PhD, as Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Father Donohue also announced the establishment of a new University task force, Aequitas: The Presidential Task Force on Race, led by Dr. Nance. The Aequitas Task Force is charged with assessing the racial climate on campus, identifying areas for improvement, and creating a plan for developing the cultural competence for all students, staff and faculty.
“We are at a pivotal time in our nation’s history and these are important actions that need to be taken at Villanova,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “This University was built on the premise of inclusivity, and I believe it is critically important, now more than ever, that we remain true to this foundation. Villanova must be a place where all feel welcomed, included and valued. Dr. Nance’s institutional knowledge, leadership and insight have been invaluable to our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. I can think of no one better to lead Villanova in this important work in the weeks, months and years to come.”
“I am honored by the trust and respect that Father Peter and the Board of Trustees have in me and the work of diversity, equity and inclusion at Villanova,” said Teresa Nance, PhD, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer. “There has never been a more challenging time to accept the responsibilities of Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Never has the work been more important, never have the chances to make a difference been more real.”
As Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Nance will report directly to the President. Previously, she held the position of Associate Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Dr. Nance will also lead the newly created Presidential Task Force on Race – named Aequitas, the Latin word for equity. The Aequitas Task Force will be comprised of a cross section of students, faculty, staff and alumni. Among the goals of the task force are:
- To encourage all departments and academic programs to undertake a systematic evaluation of the underlying assumptions of their disciplines related to race.
- To work with relevant constituencies to develop a University diversity course experience that includes a dialogue component, and adjust the University’s Learning Goals to include a goal on anti-racism education and cultural competence.
- In conjunction with the University’s new 10-year Strategic Plan, Rooted. Restless., set goals for increasing the numbers of Black and minoritized members of the Villanova community, particularly students, senior staff and faculty.
- To identify and isolate areas of concern – based upon climate data related to the perceptions of Black and minoritized people on campus – to develop both long and short terms goals to accomplish required change.
“The Aequitas Task Force is committed to identifying the barriers to success that have impeded the progress and satisfaction of Black and minoritized members of our University community,” said Nance. “Diversity is more than just a number. Authentic diversity provides inclusive and equitable opportunities for all to prosper.”
Dr. Nance’s Villanova career spans more than four decades, during which time she has served as an administrator, teacher, scholar, activist and ‘support system’ for students, faculty and staff at the University. In 2018, The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education recognized Dr. Nance with the Frank W. Hale, Jr. Distinguished Service Award – an honor given to individuals who have “contributed substantially to diversity and inclusive excellence in higher education.”
Dr. Nance was the first Black tenure-track faculty member in the Department of Communication at Villanova, where she established an African-American rhetoric course and created the highly sought after multicultural leadership course. As a researcher, Dr. Nance has investigated the perceptions and stages of interracial relationship development, diversity and inclusion, and intergroup dialogue. She was the founding Assistant Vice President for the Center for Multicultural Affairs. In 2015—to further elevate the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion—Villanova created the Office of Diversity and Inclusion led by Dr. Nance, who was named Associate Vice Provost of Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer.
Led by Dr. Nance, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) supports Villanova’s continuing efforts to create a welcoming and diverse community at all levels, including students, faculty, administrators and staff. The office works with academic, administrative and other units of the University to develop strategies aimed at fostering a Villanova community where individual differences are acknowledged and appreciated. Most recently, ODEI launched a new campaign called Living Race—Transforming Community. The initiative is focused on organizational systemic change and high-impact community engagement to facilitate opportunities for Black and minoritized students, staff and faculty to succeed and thrive within the University.
About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit www.villanova.edu.