Andrews University Announces New Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Andrews University has announced that Michael Nixon will serve as its first Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion. The creation of this position was announced in February as part of the University’s response to the #ItIsTimeAU video that made waves across social media. President Andrea Luxton made five commitments to the Andrews University community at that time, the first of which was to “begin a search for a full-time, senior-level administrator of diversity, a new cabinet-level position that reports directly to the president and will drive meaningful, visible and ongoing change.” Michael Nixon’s appointment fulfills this commitment.

The press release follows in full:

On July 6, 2017, President Andrea Luxton announced that Michael Nixon has accepted the invitation to serve as Andrews University’s first Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion. He will begin in this position on August 1, 2017.

Nixon, an Andrews University alumnus and graduate of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, was offered the position after a formal search process, which took place over the last two months on the University campus.

The search committee was made up of 13 members, all Andrews University administration, faculty, staff and students, and chaired by Luxton. The committee ultimately conducted in-person interviews with five of the applicants for the position, followed by presentations to the campus community in late June by the two finalists. During their campus visit, the finalists for the position also met with University administrators and leaders from the Lake Union and Lake Region Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists.

The committee’s work, and the final selection of Michael Nixon, reflected the job description that called for this new position to provide “spiritual, administrative and academic leadership for the equity and diversity vision, resources and programs across the University.”

During the search process, Nixon — who first moved to the Andrews University community when he was 10 years old — shared that, “In all my years being associated with Andrews, I have never been more optimistic about its future than I am now. This renewed focus on seeking true, gospel-infused diversity and inclusion on campus is an amazing commitment.”

In one of his presentations to the search committee, Nixon noted that the work of diversity must be a collaborative, God-centered process.

“It should be a process that seeks to understand and respond to the complexities of our diverse campus community and commit to transform our perspectives through trust-building conversations and engagement that will work to revamp our campus culture permanently,” he said. Nixon also noted that “this will take arduous work. We will surely make mistakes, but if we remain committed to each other, this shared commitment to be transformed — along with our commitment to Christ — will infuse us with his spirit and enable us to become the institution we have been called to be.”

President Luxton formally introduced Nixon in this new role to the Andrews University community through one of her Stories of Andrews, where she described Nixon as “an individual who has had to face challenging decisions on his faith commitment and his choice of priorities. In making his choices, Michael’s passion for his faith has deepened; so has his understanding and commitment to equity and inclusion. In the last few years he has shown unequivocally that when it comes to faith and career, faith must come first. And when he has chosen where to ‘walk’ it has been to walk alongside the disadvantaged, rather than where he might find visible personal success.”

Currently, Nixon serves as the legal coordinator for the Fair Housing Justice Center in New York City. His previous experience has included the establishment of an Office of Service and Social Action at the University of Saint Francis while serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, and working with the Council of American Islamic Relations and in The John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Legal Clinic while attending law school in Chicago.

Alisa Williams is managing editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.

Image Credit: www.andrews.edu

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8095

Congratulations Andrews and your administration led by Andrea. Continue the good and necessary work ahead. I just wish and pray that a similar attitude could prevail as the GC. Blessings to you at Andrews, Jim Bussau

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I wonder what would have happened if Moses had had a VP for “diversity and inclusion” during the wilderness wanderings? Maybe things would have gone better for the “mixed multitude,” a marginalized group of non-Jewish or partly Jewish individuals. Their concerns were not adequately addressed. And sometimes they were punished for speaking up for themselves.

Do we really need this? Can’t we grow up and quit being so hyper-sensitive, and maybe start assuming good motives in those around us, rather than making accusations of racism whenever something doesn’t please us?

In an environment where education is not affordable to so many of us, do we really need another faculty member?

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Andrews consistently ranks among the highest in the nation’s university diversity sweepstakes. It would seem that being the best isn’t good enough.

Perhaps we should ask if you’re white and have never felt marginalized by your race. Perhaps we should ask if you’ve seen accusations of racism when none were actually made (you might want to re-read the article). Perhaps we should ask if you’re unaware of how common such administrative positions are at university campuses across the country.

Maybe you should assume there are good motives in the position even if it doesn’t please you.

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A diversity ranking is nothing more than a headcount. Andrews is focused now on some serious heartwork. This is needed on its campus, in our church, and in our nation. So proud of Andrews for taking the lead!

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They need a VP for uniformity (in acceptance of the admonitions of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy) and exclusion (of apostates passing themselves off as faithful).

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We are heavily diverse among the student body but not among faculty.

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It’s a shame that Christianity, as it is expressed on SDA campuses, doesn’t already excel at both diversity and inclusion (we are actually quite good at diversity - its the “inclusion” aspect that is weighed and found wanting). It is high time we promote the intentional practice of inclusion with an official department such as this one. Most other large non-christian universities in the United States already have such an office. Better late than never!

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Michael Nixon acceptance to serve as Andrew’s University first Vice President is success best revenge. Look at Michael’s handsome robust black portrait. Isn’t it brilliantly portrayal victory narrative of self explanatory that it defines Diversity and Inclusion…away from the chain of legs and wound around the neck…blood liquid flame! America 's incorrect restrospect that ‘Black’ remain in the cotton field… Lets America 21st century ruling class tremble at the Black Revolution to freedom and truth. One good act of vengeance deserves another.