Announcing our Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

Barbara A. Bichelmeyer, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor
Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, 4:10 p.m.
KU Lawrence staff, faculty and affiliates, Active Lawrence and Edwards Students

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I am pleased to announce that following a rigorous national search, Nicole Hodges Persley has been named vice provost for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging effective immediately. Nicole has been serving as interim in that role since January. 

As an institution, we are working to make diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging a foundational priority as part of our Jayhawks Rising strategic plan. In order for KU to be an exceptional learning community that lifts each member and advances society, DEIB can’t be the job of one person or one campus department. Throughout her time as interim vice provost, Nicole has helped expand awareness that a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment where everyone feels they belong is a shared campus responsibility. Nicole’s leadership approach is to be a collaborator, facilitator, partner and ally, and to create awareness and energy around our DEIB initiatives.

As interim vice provost, Nicole has worked with campus leaders to create a framework that will guide and facilitate improvement in every academic and administrative unit on KU’s Lawrence and Edwards campuses, including encouraging and supporting the efforts of unit leaders to establish, measure, monitor and communicate metrics, targets, benchmarks and progress toward success for improving DEIB at our Lawrence and Edwards campuses.

I’m grateful to Nicole for all she has already done, and I’m pleased she has agreed to continue leading our efforts to ensure that diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging are integrated into everything we do at KU. As she takes on this role, Nicole will continue to focus on outreach, engagement and strengthening relationships with students, faculty and staff. She also will work closely with campus leaders to prioritize DEIB in the strategic plans, financial plans, and in hiring and employee support.

Nicole was selected from four finalists after an extensive national search, which included search committee interviews, meetings with faculty, staff, students, university governance representatives and unit leaders, as well as public presentations. It became clear through the search process that Nicole’s social justice experiences and background, her vision and passion for meaningful and lasting change, her collaborative leadership style, and her understanding of KU make her an ideal choice to continue leading our DEIB efforts.

I am excited to continue working with Nicole and all of you to achieve our vision of an inclusive and nurturing community where all Jayhawks feel they belong. Finally, I want to extend my sincere thanks to Derek Kwan and Jide Wintoki, search co-chairs, and the search committee members for their outstanding work.



Barbara A. Bichelmeyer

Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor