BIDDEFORD — The University of New England is pleased to announce that G. Christopher Hunt, Ed.D., will join the university’s leadership team as the associate provost for Community, Equity, and Diversity. He will start Aug. 1.

This is a newly created position at UNE, providing institutional leadership around race and diversity and affecting virtually every area of the institution, including training, hiring, employee and student recruitment, curriculum, student experience, and building community partnerships.

The position was created as part of UNE’s five-year strategic plan, Our World, Our Future. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the increasing urgency of the national conversation around race, UNE accelerated the hiring process despite the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is an uncertain time for the world and for the higher education landscape,” said UNE President James Herbert. “As university leadership evaluated our strategic priorities, we concluded that this role was critical in carrying forward anti-racism work at UNE and ensuring we are a welcoming community for all.”

Hunt will report directly to Provost Joshua Hamilton and will meet regularly with President Herbert. He will also join the President’s Cabinet, the university’s most senior-level executive team, so that he can directly advise UNE leadership on matters of diversity, race, inclusion, and belonging.

“President Herbert and I have been heartened to see the many efforts across UNE to promote diversity and inclusion, from top-down initiatives from the administration in accordance with our strategic plan to grass-roots initiatives at every level of the university,” said Provost Hamilton. “What we lacked, until now, was a centralized person who could help us coordinate all that work and make sure we were not duplicating efforts or working at cross-purposes.”

Dr. Hunt comes to UNE most recently from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania where, since June 2017, he was the Dean of Equity and Inclusion, the interim Chief Diversity Officer, and most recently the Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President. Prior to his time at Lafayette, he spent eight years at Moravian College, in Bethlehem, where he was the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Intercultural Advancement & Global Inclusion, building that office at Moravian from the ground up.

He earned his Doctor of Education at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include college student development, critical race theory, stereotype threat, sexual misconduct prevention, U.S. generations, Black student college success, racial battle fatigue, and college student retention.

“As I was looking to transition into my next role, I needed to see solid evidence that the commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion wasn’t just written rhetoric, but that there was actually movement and progress,” said Hunt. “I found that evidence in abundance at UNE: in the strategic plan, where a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is embedded as one of the main pillars; in UNE’s investment in conducting a campus climate study; and in the creation of this new role that I will be taking on. And, perhaps most importantly, I was struck by UNE’s stated mission to create a welcoming community for all — from my time speaking with President Herbert and Provost Hamilton, and others, I get a real sense that this is an area close to their heart, not just a box they need to check. My family and I are very excited about this opportunity, and I look forward to doing good, collaborative work with people across the university.”

“While Dr. Hunt’s role will be instrumental, I want to be clear that the responsibility of promoting diversity and belonging must be shared across the university,” said President Herbert. “Ultimately, we will continue to call on the entire UNE community to engage in this work. Dr. Hunt will help us build bridges across the institution, facilitate difficult but necessary conversations about race and anti-racism, among other critical topics, and ensure that we continue to make progress as an institution and as a community.”

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