Amy Freeman, the former chief diversity officer and associate vice provost at Tufts, will leave her position and return to Pennsylvania, University President Anthony Monaco and Provost and Senior Vice President David Harris announced in an emailed statement to students on March 27. Robert Mack, the associate dean of student success and advising, will assume the position of Chief Diversity Officer on the Medford/Somerville campus. The role has been split between Mack and Joyce Sackey, the current dean for multicultural affairs and global health at the Tufts School of Medicine, who will fulfill the responsibilities of Chief Diversity Officer on Tufts’ Health Sciences campus. The appointments are three-year appointments, according to Tufts’ Executive Director of Public Relations Patrick Collins.
In the email, Freeman shared with the university that she has decided to leave Tufts for family-related reasons.
“Among her most notable work has been leading Provost Harris’ Bridging Differences committee, which Joyce and I will now co-chair,” Mack wrote to the Daily in an email.
The Bridging Differences Initiative, launched in September, was tasked with encouraging open dialogue on campus.
Mack will continue some of his previous work, in addition to adopting the new role. He explained why the role had been divided between two people.
“The [Chief Diversity Officer] role has been split between me and Dr. Joyce Sackey on Tufts’ Health Sciences campus to ensure Dr. Freeman’s work can continue uninterrupted, and to provide both Dr. Sackey and I the bandwidth necessary to maintain key aspects of our previous roles,” he told the Daily in an email.
Mack elaborated which duties of his old job he will retain.
“While I assume new responsibilities as Chief Diversity Officer for the Medford/Somerville campus, I will also retain a number of my current responsibilities. [These include] the supervision and leadership of [the Office for Student Success and Advising (OSSA)] and the management of our new F1RST Resource Center and new pre-orientation program, which will provide support to first-generation, low-income and undocumented students beginning in Fall 2018,” Mack shared with the Daily in an email.
Mack also shared the role he can have on campus as Chief Diversity Officer.
“I will have the opportunity to think broadly and specifically at the needs of undergraduate and graduate students, and those of faculty and staff, with the goal of making recommendations and supporting efforts to create a campus climate embedded with a fundamental commitment to inclusion,” he said.
Mack also shared that he hopes to be a part of changes that are needed to improve the campus environment. This includes expanding representation among staff, faculty and students, he said.
Harris and Bethany Kirby, a junior, expressed excitement about the prospect of Mack taking on a larger role in the Tufts administration.
“Rob is a coalition builder, a strategic thinker, an excellent listener, and a skilled administrator. He is committed to the success of all members of our community. These skills … make him a very strong choice for the position of [Chief Diversity Officer] on the Medford/Somerville campus,” Harris wrote in a statement to the Daily.
Kirby, who was the QuestBridge Chapter liaison during her sophomore year, worked with Mack to discuss the logistics of planning a first-generation center and to help organize events.
“I really can’t explain just how much he has done for low income/[first-gen] students on this campus … he has helped many students overcome various obstacles and generally makes low-income/first-gen students feel welcome at a place where they aren’t necessarily the most welcomed,” Kirby wrote to The Daily in an email.
Kirby is confident Mack will be successful in his new position.
“I believe he is more than prepared to take on this role and personally feel that he will bring both experience and passion to any position he holds,” Kirby said.