LAWRENCEVILLE - When she started college at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Cheryl Davenport Dozier was one of the first black students on campus. She felt isolated attending a mostly white university at a time when integration was still a novel idea.
Three decades later, Dozier has studied, presented and written extensively on diversity in higher education. She is now one of four finalists for the position of associate provost for Institutional Diversity at the University of Georgia.
Dozier is serving at UGA's Gwinnett campus as the assistant vice president for academic affairs. She hopes to bring her background in academia and social work to the new position at UGA, ensuring minority students have a very positive experience at the university.
"I remember the feeling of being somewhat isolated in a majority white institution, and I think that's a similar feeling to what minority students now can have," Dozier said. "I think that I can be supportive in many ways in helping those departments at this university in addressing those issues."
If she is selected for the position, Dozier will be responsible for planning programs to ensure diversity and equity among students, faculty and staff; providing leadership to diversity outreach programs throughout the state; and developing and implementing programs to increase awareness of diversity issues.
Dozier already feels like UGA is doing a good job appealing to minority students. This year, the university reported a 38 percent increase in the number of applications from black students. There was a 36 percent increase in Hispanic student applicants. Overall, 27 percent of applicants indicated they were non-white.
But working on diversity issues doesn't end there, Dozier said. The first step is identifying the issues minority students face at UGA, and creating a more comfortable campus environment. This would increase the number of minority students who don't just apply to or attend UGA - they graduate from there.
"One of my primary goals is to be able to work with the various offices, internal and external entities at the university, in order to promote diversities in the areas of research, service and education as defined by our mission," Dozier said. "We want to strive to have students, faculty and staff reflect and parallel the diversity of this state."
She will be visiting the campus on March 24 to meet with UGA faculty, staff and students at the Gallery of the Tate Student Center. Dozier will also have to have private sessions with representatives of different constituency groups, and the current Office of Institutional Diversity staff.
The other finalists for the position are Michele deCoteau, director of the Multicultural Engineering Program at the University of California, Berkeley; Susan Rankin, senior diversity planning analyst at Pennsylvania State University; and Rosemary Kilkenny, special assistant to the president for affirmative action programs at Georgetown University.
For more information on the finalists, visit http://www.uga.edu/diversitysearch.
n Age: 52
•Occupation: Assistant vice president for academic affairs, University of Georgia at Gwinnett
•Residence: Stone Mountain
•Education: Doctorate in social welfare from Hunter College of the City University of New York, master's of social work from Atlanta University, bachelor of arts from Fairleigh Dickinson University
•Family: Husband, Arthur, has two grown daughters
•Professional Experience: Associate professor at the UGA African Studies Institute, director of UGA's Ghana Study Abroad Program, certified African-centered social worker (from the National Association of Black Social Workers), researcher for UGA's Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies and Research