By Nathaniel Luce
Melissa Thomas-Hunt, a recently appointed Professor of Management at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, has been named Vanderbilt University’s inaugural vice provost for inclusive excellence, as announced by Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente.
In the vice provost for inclusive excellence role, Thomas-Hunt will report to Wente and is charged with leading the development and implementation of a vision for equity, diversity, and inclusion across academic affairs. She will collaborate with the provost’s direct reports and key stakeholders, especially the school and college deans, to advance priorities that directly impact academic, faculty and student affairs. She will prioritize close working relationships with students and faculty as well as partner with Wente to support the university’s senior leadership.
“I am both humbled and honored to have been selected by the search committee and Provost Wente to serve as Vanderbilt’s inaugural vice provost for inclusive excellence,” Thomas-Hunt said. “My parents are both educators and deeply committed to providing broad access to high-quality education. When I was a child, my father, in particular, spoke of Vanderbilt with the highest esteem, and all of my interactions here have exceeded the expectations that he set.
True inclusion means that wherever one starts and from wherever one hails, Vanderbilt provides an environment in which individuals feel seen, valued and able to achieve at the highest level. – Melissa Thomas-Hunt
“True inclusion means that wherever one starts and from wherever one hails, Vanderbilt provides an environment in which individuals feel seen, valued and able to achieve at the highest level. I look forward to continuing to move Vanderbilt forward in this endeavor.”
Thomas-Hunt comes to Vanderbilt from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, where she served as senior associate dean and global chief diversity officer.
She received her master’s and doctoral degrees from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University. Her research and teaching interests focus on conflict management, negotiation and inclusive leadership within global teams and organizations. She also has spent numerous years teaching negotiation to executives and served as faculty leader for The Women’s Leadership Program at Virginia’s Darden School. Her current research activities focus specifically on the effects of status and power on negotiation processes and outcomes and the evaluation and integration of expertise within diverse groups.
“Melissa’s influential body of research on teams, negotiation and diversity will be a terrific complement to the work being done by faculty in the Owen School’s Organization Studies area,” said M. Eric Johnson, Ralph Owen Dean and Bruce D. Henderson Professor of Strategy. “We look forward to having her as a colleague and engaging her in the life of the Owen School.”
Read more about Melissa Thomas-Hunt’s appointment on MyVU.