Lenoir-Rhyne University announced today that Emma Sellers, director of Multicultural Affairs, will be leaving Lenoir-Rhyne to pursue a career in city government. Sellers has served in the role of director since the Office of Multicultural Affairs' establishment in 2012. Aisha Adams, program developer for Lenoir-Rhyne's Equity and Diversity Institute, will assume the role of interim director of Multicultural Affairs effective May 17 and will begin working with Sellers to ensure a smooth transition.
"Emma's contributions to the Lenoir-Rhyne community as director of Multicultural Affairs and as a member of my Cabinet have been invaluable," said Lenoir-Rhyne University President Fred Whitt. "We are thankful for Emma's friendship and commitment to advancing our shared goal of fostering a welcoming, inclusive and supportive environment to learn and grow. With Emma's departure, we are fortunate to welcome Aisha Adams as interim director of Multicultural Affairs and to build on her experience leading the Lenoir-Rhyne Equity and Diversity Institute."
Over the last decade, the University has strived to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of campus life. Under Sellers' leadership, the Office of Multicultural Affairs was established and programs were created to increase faculty, staff and student awareness of social justice issues, increase diversity and inclusion offerings in curriculum and to increase the number of diverse students and faculty at Lenoir-Rhyne. In the last year, Sellers helped create an Athletics Diversity and Inclusion Committee, hosted speakers and panels on diversity and inclusion, and launched a University-wide task force on social justice.
"I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with the Lenoir-Rhyne community and am proud of the proactive steps we have taken to cultivate a more diverse, accepting and inclusive environment where differences are welcome and open dialogue is encouraged," said Sellers. "I have full faith and confidence in the university and Aisha's ability to build on our momentum to advance equity and inclusion. I am hopeful and excited about what is in store for the Lenoir-Rhyne community under Aisha's capable leadership."
Adams has extensive professional experience fighting for underrepresented communities, while promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. Adams was one of the driving forces behind the Lenoir-Rhyne Equity and Diversity Institute (LREDI) to train equity advocates, and also has been recognized as the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year by the Asheville Chamber of Commerce.
In her role as interim director, Adams will review the structure of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, identify how we can appropriately staff and expand our offerings in this area, review institutional processes, policies and programming, focusing on equity, diversity and inclusion.