August 19, 2020

Interim A&S Dean appoints Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

By Madelin Shelton —

Cherie Dawson-Edwards has been named as the new Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. David Owen, interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, made the announcement of Dawson-Edwards’ appointment in an email Aug. 8.

“Dr. Dawson-Edwards brings to the role a deep commitment to belonging, equity and social justice, along with considerable administrative experience and a track record of engagement with our local community,” Owen said of the new appointee.

Dawson-Edwards’ prior experience includes being the acting director of the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research at U of L, working with Jefferson County Public School district to conduct professional development training, and consulting others on restorative justice practices.

She has served as the chair of the Department of Criminal Justice since 2018, directs the Social Change program and serves on the national board of the ACLU.

Owen said Dawson-Edwards is an “accomplished scholar,” with four published book chapters, 13 peer-reviewed journal articles and an assortment of other publications. Over the span of her career, she has received over $500,000 in grants.

When asked about what she was most excited for in this new role, Dr. Dawson-Edwards said, “I am most excited that during this critical moment our university is stepping up and centering anti-racism and creating spaces for growth in diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Dawson-Edwards’ appointment to this position comes at a historic moment at U of L, the city of Louisville and the country. With a global movement calling for racial justice taking place, in part sparked by Louisville’s own tragic loss of Breonna Taylor at the hands of police, discussions of diversity, equity and inclusion are increasingly prevalent.

In response to concerns about structural racism, U of L President Neeli Bendapudi recently committed to making U of L the nation’s premier anti-racist metropolitan research university.

Speaking on Dr. Dawson-Edwards’ ability to lead at such a critical time, Owen said, “Dr. Dawson-Edwards brings the wisdom, compassion, expertise and experience to lead us as we all work towards becoming a community where all feel they belong.”

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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