School of Leadership Studies faculty member Dr. Placida Gallegos has been named chair of Fielding’s first Diversity & Inclusion Council, effective immediately.

“In this critical role, Placida will bring her considerable experience to assist all of us in the organization to take responsibility for and leadership in developing a truly inclusive culture,” said President Katrina Rogers. “This is a strategic issue for us as our graduates are navigating in an increasingly diverse context that requires being able to move across differences.”

As chair, Dr. Gallegos will lead the council in ensuring that the Fielding culture is inclusive, the curriculum topics reflect diversity, the faculty is competent around issues of diversity, and the student experience supports diversity and inclusion.

We need to be a place where everybody can be comfortable bringing their differences,” said Dr. Gallegos, who sees this as a critical time for addressing issues like these. “We’re poised in a moment when Fielding is changing and the world around us is changing. We can do this, or we can fall behind in terms of being leaders in this space. There needs to be a strong commitment from the top and a big follow-through — and we have so much support from the board right now and from President Rogers.”

Dr. Gallegos at Clinical Psychology Summer Session last month

An organization development consultant for 30 years, Dr. Gallegos has helped many other organizations create healthier, more inclusive cultures where people can contribute their individual and cultural strengths. She wrote the “Inclusive Leadership” chapter for the handbook Diversity at Work: The Practice of Inclusion.

“This is a chance to bring that experience to my own backyard,” she said. “I know Fielding, I understand our promise, and I care deeply that we walk our talk. Also, I have a really big network of people that I can bring in to support our work. Students and alums really want to be involved!”

A faculty member for 13 years, Dr. Gallegos previously served on Fielding’s Diversity Work Group will fill the position until the university hires a Chief Diversity Officer. She is splitting her time equally between the council and her role as doctoral faculty.