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University of Idaho Names Mark Edwards as Director for Diversity and Community

Wednesday, November 29 2006

Nov. 28, 2006 MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho has named Mark A. Edwards as director for diversity and community. This new leadership position, which reports directly to the president, will initiate, adapt and oversee university and community programs to support enrichment of the learning environment through diversity. Edwards will facilitate and foster diversity-related curriculum and teaching, and develop and implement comprehensive strategies for recruiting a diverse workforce and student body. He is tasked with establishing and working with an advisory board consisting of internal and external members to fully address the opportunities and barriers to a welcoming and supportive university community. Edwards also will serve on the president's cabinet, and will work with the president, provost, deans and other university leadership to facilitate culture and climate change at the university. He assumes the position Jan. 15 with an annual salary of $85,462. “Increasing diversity at the University of Idaho is one of our top academic and cultural goals, so filling this position has been a priority,” said University of Idaho President Timothy P. White. "We are committed to preparing students for life in an increasingly global society, and we are dedicated to providing opportunities to all who walk through our doors to explore and exchange ideas from all perspectives. With his extensive experience, Mark will help further facilitate the integration of diversity into the very fabric of our university.” Edwards comes from Colgate University, where he currently serves as dean of institutional diversity and affirmative action officer; he previously was the assistant dean of multicultural affairs and an assistant professor in sociology and anthropology at Colgate. He also has served on the faculty at St. Cloud State University and South Dakota State University. His expertise includes some 15 years experience in diversity and multicultural affairs. He has been recognized for his human rights and racial mobility work, including the Governors Commendation Award in Oklahoma. "I am honored to have the opportunity to join the community of the University of Idaho as a new member of the president’s staff," said Edwards. "I see a unique opportunity to bring together all of my experiences and contribute to the important work in which the university is already engaged." "When I first visited Moscow, I was excited and inspired by what I saw as the university’s visible commitment to developing and supporting a difference-friendly campus climate. I believe that as I continue to meet more of the wonderful people who make up the Moscow and University of Idaho community, that excitement will only increase as we work together to foster a learning environment in which all students, faculty and staff can thrive," said Edwards. "We must operate out of the understanding that diversity is about excellence and plays a pivotal role in achieving the university’s educational mission," said Edwards. "As director of diversity and community, I will build upon that understanding and help to lead the university in new and exciting directions. I look forward to coming to University of Idaho and working with this great community." Edwards received a doctoral degree in philosophy from South Dakota State University, a master's degree in sociology from the University of Oklahoma, a bachelor's degree in sociology and criminal justice from East Central University in Oklahoma and an associate degree from Seminole State College in Oklahoma. His areas of expertise include: race and ethnicity; social deviance; criminology; juvenile delinquency; corrections; sociological theory; research methods; gender and sex roles; and marriage and family. The University of Idaho continues to move forward at a steady pace to increase diversity and strengthen cultural and social foundations for its students, faculty and staff. Two additional searches – for a Native American tribal liaison and a director of the Native American Center – will be underway soon at the university. These positions will focus on the University of Idaho’s engagement with the tribes and retention of students and employees coming to the university from the tribes. A multicultural student center on campus – identified by students last spring as their top priority for funds supporting diversity initiatives – will open soon. The campus also houses a Native American Center. Contact: Joni Kirk, UI Communications, (208) 885-7725, -30- About the University of Idaho Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. The only institution in the state earning the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity, University of Idaho researchers attract more than $100 million in research grants and contracts each year. UI’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Its high academic performers include 42 National Merit Scholars and a 2006-07 freshmen class with an average high school grade point average of 3.42. Offering more than 150 degree options in 10 colleges, UI combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit JK-11/28/06-ADM/DIV

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit