CORVALLIS, Ore. – Charlene Alexander, Oregon State University vice president and chief diversity officer, has announced she will leave OSU to return to Ball State University to help guide the university’s strategic initiatives.

Alexander joined OSU in the summer of 2017 after serving as a Ball State professor for 16 years and as Ball State’s associate provost for diversity and interim associate vice president for community engagement for four years. She will leave OSU on Sept. 17.

“Charlene has contributed remarkably to Oregon State University by leading the creation and development of the Office of Institutional Diversity,” said Becky Johnson, OSU’s interim president. “Students, faculty and staff of color and all members of the university community have benefitted from Charlene’s contributions, leadership, care and compassion.”

Johnson said Alexander has collaborated with OSU campuses, colleges, divisions and departments to advance the recruitment and retention of students from historically underrepresented communities; recruit and retain diverse faculty; foster an inclusive, safe and welcoming university community; and collaborate with community leaders to promote diversity, equity and inclusion statewide. Alexander also co-chaired a public safety advisory committee made up of faculty, staff and students and worked with the OSU Foundation and OSU Alumni Association to advance philanthropic support for DEI efforts, student success programs and alumni engagement initiatives among underrepresented community members.

“I will leave Oregon State University very pleased to see the many ways OSU’s leadership and community members have embraced DEI efforts,” Alexander said. “I am confident the university is on a path to build on the work already underway.”

Here are examples of OSU work within diversity, equity and inclusion that have occurred over the past four years:

  • Oregon State has been recognized for three consecutive years as a national recipient of a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. Last year, only 91 universities nationally were granted this award. The university’s President and Provost’s Leadership Council on Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice are working with the OSU President’s Office to advance more than 40 DEI initiatives within the university-wide effort called “Moving Forward Together.”
  • The university’s Strategic Plan 4.0 and OSU’s first comprehensive diversity strategic plan launched in 2018 make diversity and inclusion an essential foundation of the university’s land grant mission and provide for strategies and tactics already underway.
  • Along with the Office of Institutional Diversity, deans, academic leaders and faculty have created the Leading Change for Diversity Equity and Inclusion program to advance inclusion within colleges, schools and departments.
  • The Black Student Access & Success Initiative is providing university-wide student services and programs to contribute to the success of Black and African American students. In response, application rates among Black and African American students have increased, and the number of students attending OSU has increased by 6.4% since 2017.

“These and other university programs that are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion will continue as we affirm that we have more work to do,” Johnson said.

In the weeks ahead, Johnson will gather nominations and input from faculty, staff, students and stakeholders, as well as self-nominations, to inform her selection of an interim vice president and chief diversity officer. A national search for a permanent vice president and chief diversity officer will be launched in fall.

General OSU

About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 34,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport, OSU Portland Center and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.

Story By: 

Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, [email protected]


Charlene Alexander, 541-737-5936, [email protected]; Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, [email protected]

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