Dr. Alisha Knight Named as Incoming Associate Provost of Diversity and Inclusion and Senior Equity Officer
In this senior leadership post, Knight will help to shape and implement the College's strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Washington College has named Dr. Alisha Knight as the incoming Associate Provost of Diversity and Inclusion and Senior Equity Officer, a new role that will officially begin on July 1.
This inaugural position will help to shape and implement the College’s strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion. Some of the key priorities that will fall under Knight’s area of influence and responsibility include recruiting, developing, and retaining diverse faculty and staff within Academic Affairs; leading the effort to foster an inclusive learning environment for all students; and guiding and supporting – through collaboration with partners in other departments -- the implementation of the campus-wide strategic plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“Dr. Knight is a brilliant and highly respected member of our campus community and someone who has already been actively engaged in this important work,” said Michael Sosulski, President of Washington College. “Tapping someone to officially lead our institution’s efforts around diversity and inclusion is a major step forward for the College.”
Knight, a Professor of English and American Studies specializing in African American literature and print culture at the turn of the 20th Century, will officially assume her new role as of July 1. As Associate Provost, Knight will report directly to the Provost and will be a member of the Senior Staff. As the Senior Equity Officer, she will also meet regularly with the President. In addition to assuming these new responsibilities starting in July, she will continue to teach one course per semester starting with the 2022-23 academic year.
“I applaud Provost Harvey and President Sosulski for taking this bold step of establishing a strategic diversity leadership position at the College, and I am honored to serve as our inaugural Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion,” said Knight. “I’m committed to helping the college advance its strategic diversity agenda and to serving as a partner and resource for the campus community.”
While this position is situated within Academic Affairs, Knight will work closely with the College’s next Director of Intercultural Affairs – a critical role within Student Affairs. Dr. Knight is participating on the search committee for the Director role. In addition, she is meeting with a range of campus constituents throughout the spring. Provost Harvey notes that Dr. Knight’s spring “incoming” status empowers her to quickly gain insight and become a strategic leader on diversity, equity, access, and inclusion.
“I’m delighted that the whole college will now benefit from Alisha’s acuity, urgency, empathy, and impact,” said Harvey. “In a faculty of extraordinary individuals, Alisha is one of our most talented and passionate faculty leaders. Her vision of education has always integrated the full student experience and she will now bring that integrative vision of education to the whole college.”
Finalizing a senior-level position that is dedicated to DEI initiatives was identified as a top priority at the institution, and naming Knight to this post is the culmination of a careful review and thoughtful analysis around what structure was the best fit for Washington College. “It was important that we shape this role in a way that would allow Alisha to step in right away and deepen her engagement, while still staying connected to our core focus on teaching and learning,” said Sosulski. “Ultimately, architecting the role this way was just right for both her and for the College and we are incredibly excited about what we will accomplish under Alisha’s leadership.”
Knight is the 2020 recipient of the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the 2020 Cromwell Award for Innovation in Teaching. She is a 1993 graduate of Spelman College, and from there went on to earn advanced degrees from Rutgers University (M.A. in 1995) and Drew University (M.Phil in 2001, Ph.D. in 2004).