Sherri Ann Charleston, one among the nation’s leading experts in diversity and better education, has been
named Harvard’s chief diversity and inclusion officer (CDIO), President Larry Bacow announced today.
Her appointment is effective Aug. 1.
A historian trained in U.S. history with attention on race, women, gender, citizenship, and therefore the
law, and an attorney with a specialization in constitutional and employment law, Charleston last served
because the assistant vice provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion and chief social action officer at the
University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison.
“Sherri is an administrative leader and interdisciplinary scholar whose work on the intersection of history
and law informs her efforts to translate theory into practice that improves education ,” Bacow wrote in an
email sent this morning to the University community welcoming Charleston to her new position. “She is
widely admired for her ability to integrate all aspects of an establishment into her strategic thinking and
decision-making. I welcome Sherri’s leadership and expertise during this important area.” In her
leadership roles at UW-Madison,
Charleston has been liable for assessing and evaluating progress toward the goals of a campus-wide
strategic diversity plan. She also oversaw its Office of social action Programming and Planning, Office of
Employee Disability Resources, and a number of other undergraduate scholarship programs aimed
toward recruiting and retaining students who are historically underrepresented there. “I am thrilled to
ascertain the groundswell of labor that already exists at Harvard, and that i anticipate to synthesizing and
integrating the University’s many effective diversity and inclusion efforts into a clear
, innovative strategy for enhancing diversity, equity, access, inclusion, and belonging across campus,”
said Charleston. “My approach to the work is extremely much grounded in my academic interests in
history and therefore the law, and in brooding about how we’ve evolved, and the way we haven’t evolved,
around questions of race and gender, and it comes from a deep passion toward effecting sustainable
organizational change, and creating structures that outlast all folks , in order that we will actually make
I fundamentally believe that a lot of of the challenges that we face in education relative to diversity, equity,
inclusion, and belonging have answers rooted in applied research. We must work together within the field
to seek out them.” “… I anticipate to synthesizing and integrating the University’s many effective diversity
and inclusion efforts into a clear , innovative strategy for enhancing diversity, equity, access, inclusion,
and belonging across campus.” — Sherri Ann Charleston As Harvard’s new CDIO, Charleston will
function a senior central administrator prioritizing and championing diversity and inclusion, working
together with administration and school leadership across the University.
She also will play a pivotal role in leading the continued implementation of the recommendations of the
President’s Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging. she is going to report on to Bacow, and can be a
member of the tutorial Council. Charleston has directed various units at UW-Madison over the course of
As an academician and administrator with considerable experience translating theory into praxis, she has
expertise in social action , Title IX, and Americans with Disability Act enforcement and compliance. Her
focus has been translating and facilitating diversity and inclusion research into practice, giving her an in-
depth understanding of best practices for diversity, recruitment, and therefore the retention of scholars ,
staff, and school of color.
She is an expert in organizational leadership and data-informed decision-making associated with diversity
and inclusion. As a mirrored image of her commitment to the present work, in 2019 Diverse Issues in
education magazine named her one among the highest 35 women in education
. Charleston is that the person to carry the newly formed position of CDIO, following the completion of the
work of the Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging. Lisa M. Coleman, Harvard’s first chief
diversity officer, left her post in 2017 to require on an identical role at ny University. In 2018, John
Silvanus Wilson was appointed by Drew Faust to function senior adviser to the president, launching the
University’s implementation of the task force’s recommendations.
“John’s beat the last two years has helped set the inspiration for Harvard’s pursuit of sustainable inclusive
excellence,” Bacow said. “In the months ahead, he will still function a senior adviser to me on several key
projects, before resuming his research on historically Black colleges and universities, which he came to
Harvard to conduct in late 2017. it's his passion to assist map a brighter future for one among America’s
most challenged education sectors.
” As an interdisciplinary scholar who employs both legal and historical methodologies, Charleston’s
scholarship has focused on exploring the connection between the law and issues associated with race,
gender, and equity. She concurrently holds faculty affiliations with the Departments of Gender and
Women’s Studies and academic Leadership and Policy Analysis at UW-Madison. Charleston earned her
B.A. from Columbia University in history and African American studies; M.A. and Ph.D.
from the University of Wisconsin school of law . She may be a native of Detroit and in her spare time she
enjoys reading, dancing, boating, hiking, and traveling together with her spouse, LaVar J. Charleston,
who is associate dean within the School of Education at UW-Madison.
“I anticipate to working closely with Sherri and other members of my senior leadership team to drive and
support our strategic plans for diversity, inclusion, and belonging across the University,” wrote Bacow.
“She will need the recommendation and support of individuals throughout the University as she begins
the important work of helping us become the type of community we need to be. The urgency of this
moment must not be wasted.”