The University of Maryland named a new vice president of diversity and inclusion this week, after a national search for the high-profile position.
Georgina Dodge, who has held similar roles at Bucknell University, the University of Iowa and The Ohio State University, will serve as a member of University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh’s Cabinet.
“I am honored to be chosen to lead diversity and inclusion at the University of Maryland,” Dodge said in a statement. “Across many higher education institutions, I have listened and learned from the communities I serve, and I look forward to partnering across the university to foster a vibrant and inclusive climate for all.”
She will take on a challenging role in College Park. Her predecessor spent one year in the job before stepping down.
Several racist incidents on campus in recent years — including the 2017 killing of black Bowie State University student Richard W. Collins III, allegedly by a white former University of Maryland student, now being prosecuted as a hate crime — have increased tension and fears among current and prospective students.
African-American representation in the new freshman class dropped to at least an eight-year low, the data show. Just 7.3 percent of the new freshman class, roughly 340 out of 4,700 students, is black.
The university wrote in a news release that Dodge will bring a “unique perspective” to College Park as a first-generation college student. Before launching a career in academia, she served in the U.S. Navy as an electronics technician. She attended Golden West Community College in California, before continuing at University of California, Irvine, where she graduated summa cum laude. She earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in English from University of California, Los Angeles.
She’s taught courses in African-American, Asian, Multiracial and Women’s Literatures and served as director of the Department of African American and African studies at the community extension center in Columbus, Ohio.
“Following a highly competitive national search, Georgina was selected based upon her 23-year career of successful leadership in diversity, equity, and inclusion at three universities,” Loh said in a statement. “She is a tireless advocate for human rights, civil liberties, and equal opportunity, and we welcome her to Maryland.”