CORVALLIS, Ore. - Kim D. Kirkland has been named as Oregon State University's executive director for equal opportunity and access.

Kirkland, who will join OSU on Feb. 28, 2017, has served for more than eight years as the director of the Office of Equal Opportunity at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

"The university's executive director for equal opportunity and access is central to the success of OSU's equity, diversity and inclusion efforts," said Oregon State President Edward J. Ray.

The executive director is responsible for overseeing compliance with federal, state and university policies and regulations regarding affirmative action, equal opportunity, disability access and other civil rights.

Kirkland said her approach is to encourage people to talk through cultural misunderstandings and mistakes through facilitated conversations. This helps build community and bridge communication gaps.

"People must give others permission to make mistakes with them in order to gain a better understanding of differences," she said, "and begin to talk to one another if we are going to take this journey of cultural understanding and bridge the diversity divide." 

Kirkland succeeds Clay Simmons, who has served Oregon State as interim executive director for equal opportunity and access since Feb. 1, 2016. Upon Kirkland's arrival at OSU, Simmons will return to his role as the university's chief compliance officer.

As the director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX deputy coordinator, she has been responsible for monitoring compliance with the university's equal opportunity, anti-harassment, anti-discrimination and sexual misconduct policies as well as all related federal and state laws and regulations.

Kirkland also has had the responsibility for investigating and resolving complaints of discrimination and harassment. In addition, she has served as IUPUI's official liaison with governmental civil rights agencies and developed the university's affirmative action plans.

Previous to working at IUPUI, Kirkland served for more than four years as affirmative action officer and senior investigator at Bowling Green State University, as vice president for compliance programs at the Meridian Group in Ohio and as General Electric Aircraft Engines/Aviation manager of equal employment opportunity and diversity programs.

Kirkland received a doctorate in leadership studies from Bowling Green State University, and is a graduate of the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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