A University of Toledo alumnus with a commitment to improving diversity, opportunity and belonging through collaboration has been selected the University’s vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion.
Dr. Dilip Das, assistant vice provost for equity, inclusion and academic affairs at the University of Michigan for the past 15 years, will lead UToledo’s diversity initiatives. He will join UToledo May 2.
“My experience has taught me that leaders must draw upon both courage and empathy to understand the life experiences of all stakeholders and engage them in forward system-wide initiatives,” Das said. “I am committed to doing the hard, collaborative work of diversity, equity and inclusion to bridge divides and find solutions, if not consensus.”
“We intentionally added the word equity to the title when searching for our next diversity leader and the approach that Dr. Das takes to this critical work goes beyond race and ethnicity to ensure all individuals feel supported regardless of their gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion or other factors that are important to their identity,” UToledo President Gregory Postel said. “I look forward to his leadership in promoting an inclusive environment on our campuses and forging enhanced relationships with our community.”
At the University of Michigan, Das has co-led a campus-wide diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan and task forces and implemented a number of task force recommendations to support students with disabilities, Native American students and undocumented students.
Das has been engaged in projects to create new equity-based recruitment, interviewing and hiring tools and last year co-designed two new online courses at the University of Michigan called “College Access for Undocumented Students in Michigan” and “What is a Socially Just University?” He also has experience in planning diversity conferences and presentations and in pursuing grants and other fundraising activities for diversity programming.
A graduate of UToledo’s higher education administration doctoral program, Das said he gained much insight into his equity leadership through his dissertation research in which he examined the effects of socioeconomic class and race on the two-year to four-year college transfer process.
“We must build multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-identity partnerships with a collective goal that dismantles structural biases and barriers and supports under-resourced schools and communities toward achieving the dream of higher education completion,” Das said.
Prior to his current role at the University of Michigan, Das was the program officer for the University’s Center for South Asian Studies. His career also includes serving as the executive director of the New Canaan Nature Center in Connecticut, director of natural areas and interpretation of the Geneva Park District in Illinois and director of youth, family and teacher programs at Morton Arboretum in Illinois.
Das also holds a master’s degree in science education from Northern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in biology and teaching certificate from St. Olaf College.