Queens College President Frank Wu announced the school’s first chief diversity officer (CDO)/dean of diversity during his “State of the College” address on Monday, Nov. 1.
Jerema DeWese, a Queens College and CUNY alumna, will serve as the school’s CDO/dean of diversity at the school’s leadership level, supplementing the duties of the existing Title IX compliance officer, to enrich its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Following a national search, Wu said DeWese brings extensive experience from both the public and private higher education sectors to the position and will provide essential leadership to help Queens College advance diversity, equity and inclusion as prominently envisioned in its new strategic plan.
“As an alumna, Jerima is well-acquainted with our exceptionally diverse student body; this perspective, in addition to her expertise, made her an excellent candidate. It gives me great pleasure to welcome her home to the college.” Wu said. “Together, with Michael Das, our deeply committed Title IX compliance officer, Jerima will be rolling out anti-bias training that will address not only egregious discrimination, but also implicit bias.”
DeWese, who earned an MA Degree in urban affairs and public management from Queens College in 2011, has more than two decades of higher education experience in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), student affairs, academic affairs, enrollment management, human resources, diversity and compliance, alumni affairs, and fundraising and development.
As a New Yorker, a product of the CUNY system and a Queens College alumna, DeWese says she is truly honored to be given the opportunity to serve as chief diversity officer/dean of diversity of Queens College.
“I am so looking forward to the fulfilling experience to collaborate and partner with the entire Queens College community — students, faculty, and staff — to [as stated in the Queens College mission statement] ‘prepare all students to serve as innovative leaders in a diverse world that they make more equitable and inclusive,’” DeWese said.
Most recently, DeWese served as the chief diversity and affirmative action officer, Title IX coordinator, and ADA Section 504 compliance officer at Purchase College of the State University of New York (SUNY), where she oversaw the school’s Office of Diversity and Compliance and its Multicultural Center.
While at Purchase, DeWese created and implemented a DEI Call to Action Plan comprising nine points to symbolize the nine minutes-long assault resulting in George Floyd’s death. Her accomplishments include securing grant funding for campus faculty diversification efforts; conceived, implemented, and oversaw campus-wide Title IV, VI, VII, IX and Section 504/ADA compliance laws, requirements, training, instructional programs and activities.
Additionally, DeWese has also implemented and facilitated campus-wide anti-bias training for all college stakeholders, secured and maintained Hispanic Institution (HSI) designation for the college, and chaired the college’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan Committee.
As CDO/dean of diversity at Queens College, DeWese will partner with Wu and campus constituents in spearheading efforts to establish diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence as core values throughout all aspects of the school community. She will champion the importance and value of a diverse and inclusive college environment and lead the development of a vision and effective strategy to create such a culture.
The CDO/dean will work with all levels of the institution to promote processes and procedures to positively impact student, faculty and staff development, community relations, and organizational effectiveness by recommending diversity-oriented programs and initiatives.
DeWese has served in senior administrative and educational leadership positions in the areas of student affairs, student development and campus life, career and transfer services, enrollment management, gifts and records, development and external affairs, and admissions services.
She also holds a BS Degree in public administration and human resources administration, and an AAS Degree in business management and human resources.