Office of the President

Appointment of Nicole Butts as Presidential Associate for Inclusive Excellence and Diversity

May 4, 2020

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Nicole L. Butts as Presidential Associate for Inclusive Excellence and Diversity. In this essential leadership role, Ms. Butts will report directly to me and serve as a member of my Cabinet.

This position underscores our values and supports the goals of our strategic plan. This position also responds to the discourse among our faculty, staff and students, who understand that diversity alone does not achieve our desired institutional climate or reflect the equity and inclusion that underpins excellence in higher education. The mosaic of knowledge is informed by differing life experiences, values, beliefs, learning, and skills. A publication of the Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute emphasizes this point:

“Our nation’s universities and colleges need diversity in discipline, intellectual outlook, cognitive style, and personality to develop a dynamic intellectual community. Diversity of experience, age, class, physical ability/disability, religion, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation are just some of the qualities that contribute to the richness of the environment for teaching and research.”  

Cal Poly Pomona’s institutional excellence is fundamentally linked to our inclusive excellence. Therefore, in making this appointment I have modified the title from its previous iteration, “Presidential Associate for Diversity, Inclusion and Campus Climate” to “Presidential Associate for Inclusive Excellence and Diversity.” While the responsibilities and focus on campus climate remain the same, this updated title assures that as a campus community we stay focused on the intended outcome.

Ms. Butts will work across divisions to leverage and build upon the successes we have already achieved. She has served in this role as the Interim Presidential Associate since last November. As Cal Poly Pomona’s senior administrator responsible for facilitating the advancement of diversity and inclusivity, Ms. Butts will support divisional leaders in the design and implementation of campus plans to enhance inclusion, develop training initiatives in support of our campus climate, and work with stakeholders in the colleges and divisions to recruit, retain, and advance excellence across campus.

During her time at Cal Poly Pomona, she has distinguished herself as a collaborative and innovative administrator with skills, talents, and experience aligned with our needs as an institution This is a position focused on institutional culture, and building our capacity as leaders, managers, scholars, educators, and staff to create an environment that enhances student learning and fosters a sense of belonging. Ms. Butts brings nearly two decades of working in organizational development management in both the public and private sectors, including higher education, with a particular focus on promoting diversity and inclusion and ensuring that best practices, both within and outside higher education, are brought to bear.

In her short tenure at CPP, Ms. Butts has already helped achieve tremendous progress in our diversity and inclusion efforts, which also addresses the feedback from our recent WASC accreditation team last fall. Working across the campus community, she developed and launched Cal Poly Pomona’s first Inclusive Excellence Council. Consisting of faculty, staff, and students, the Council serves as an advisory body charged with upholding and promoting Cal Poly Pomona’s core value of inclusivity as delineated in our Strategic Plan. Likewise, she is finalizing the creation of our Campus Climate Response Team (Inclusive CPP) and overseeing the launch of a campus-wide climate survey. Additionally, she has played a key role in supporting Academic Affairs in its Faculty Success Initiative.

Ms. Butts came to Cal Poly Pomona in February 2019 to serve as Interim Director of Employee Diversity, Inclusion and Campus Climate in the Division of Administrative Affairs. Prior to Cal Poly Pomona, she served as Human Resources Director for Equal Employment and Affirmative Action at UC Riverside. Ms. Butts holds a bachelor’s degree from Howard University and a master’s degree from Bowie State University, along with numerous professional certifications.

I want to take this opportunity to again thank the members of the search committee for their diligent efforts during this process. The search committee is:

  • Sara Garver, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences (chair)
  • Micah Parker, ASI
  • Alex Wei Wu, College of Business
  • Victor Okhuysen, College of Engineering
  • Chantal van Esch, College of Business
  • José Aguilar-Hernandez, College of Education and Integrative Studies
  • Erika DeJonghe, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences
  • Alejandro Morales, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences
  • La ‘Keisha Beard, Office of Student Life & Cultural Centers
  • Nicole Hawkes, Office of the President
  • Leon Strayer, Student Support & Equity Programs
  • Saccara Lim, Office of the President

Please join me in congratulating Ms. Butts on her appointment. Our work to promote inclusive excellence represents a foundational component of our mission and I thank you for the work each of you do to sustain our core values.