University of Nebraska President Bounds announces new NU diversity officer
University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds announced today the appointment of Stancia Whitcomb Jenkins as NU’s associate to the president and assistant vice president for diversity, access and inclusion.
Jenkins, who brings more than a decade of experience in higher education leadership roles that have required strategic planning and execution of diversity-related efforts, began her new role on Tuesday. She will report to Bounds and will be responsible for developing and implementing strategies, programs and activities to enhance access, inclusion and retention of a diverse student body, faculty and staff. She will focus especially on enhancing access and inclusion within the university’s core missions of teaching, research and service, working in collaboration with colleagues in the President’s Office and diversity officers across the NU campuses.
Jenkins most recently served as assistant vice chancellor in the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Division of Advancement, a role she had held since 2006. At Missouri, she led collaborative efforts focused on climate improvement, strategic planning, recruitment and retention of a diverse student body and workforce, and positioning the institution internally and in the community as one that embraces diversity and inclusion.
She conducted climate audits and listening sessions to enhance university practices related to inclusion, played a leadership role in the development and execution of UMKC’s strategic plan for diversity, and built partnerships with professional and civic organizations that serve historically underrepresented communities, among other accomplishments. She also strengthened university programming to expand access and engagement, including a chancellor’s lecture series about the nation’s changing demographics, a college preparation/career exploration program for historically underrepresented students, and an exhibit to promote the achievements of UMKC alumni of color.
“The University of Nebraska must be a great place to learn and work. That starts with making certain that all members of the university community feel that we value them, that we are listening to them and that this is an institution that puts its commitment to inclusion and equal opportunity into action every day,” Bounds said. “At a time when higher education plays an increasingly important role in individual and economic success, we must ensure that the impact of the University of Nebraska is felt by the wide diversity of stakeholders we serve. Stancia Whitcomb Jenkins has a demonstrated record of success in enhancing access and inclusion. I look forward to her leadership of important initiatives that serve our students, faculty and staff, and Nebraskans.”
Whitcomb Jenkins said, “President Bounds has articulated a commendable vision for the University of Nebraska to be a place where every student and employee feels valued, respected and safe. The university has a strong record of access and inclusion, but our work is not over. It’s vital that we have specific strategies in place to make sure the promise of a college degree is accessible to all, that we are treating members of our university community with dignity and respect, and that we are an institution that not only listens to concerns, but addresses them. I’m excited to join the President’s team and to work with talented colleagues across the NU campuses to build on the good work already being done in pursuit of these goals.”
Whitcomb Jenkins’ specific duties at NU will include:
- Monitoring and communicating national trends and the development of laws, policies and regulations affecting diversity and equity in higher education.
- Developing a process to address complaints of unequal or disparate treatment and identifying significant trends.
- Working with the campuses to obtain funding from major foundations and federal agencies to support diversity and inclusion programming.
- Collaborating with NU’s assistant vice president for P-16 initiatives on efforts to help students succeed from preschool through college.
Whitcomb Jenkins held progressively more senior roles at UMKC since arriving in 2002. Previously, she worked for the City of Kansas City, serving in communications and City Council liaison roles. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a Master of Public Affairs in business and government relations from Park University in Parkville, Missouri.