Caldwell named vice provost for faculty affairs and diversity

Kia Lilly Caldwell, professor of African, African American and diaspora studies at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, has been named vice provost for faculty affairs and diversity at Washington University in St. Louis, announced Beverly Wendland, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Kia Lilly Caldwell
Kia Lilly Caldwell (Photo: Tanisha Walker)

Caldwell, whose appointment is effective July 1, succeeds Adrienne D. Davis, the William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law and professor of organizational behavior and leadership in the Olin Business School, who stepped down May 31 after 10 years as the university’s first vice provost for faculty affairs and diversity.

A sociocultural anthropologist, Caldwell also will join the Department of African and African-American Studies as a professor and the Dean’s Distinguished Professorial Scholar in Arts & Sciences.

At UNC-Chapel Hill, Caldwell worked with the Office of the Provost to oversee faculty mentoring programs across departments and schools. She is co-principal investigator for TEAM ADVANCE, a nearly $1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant focused on mentoring women faculty in STEM, especially women of color. In her role with the provost’s office, she partnered with deans and departments to strengthen faculty initiatives for units across the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.

Caldwell, whose academic leadership experience includes faculty development as well as diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, served as director of faculty diversity initiatives in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences.

“At UNC, her efforts produced real and tangible advances for faculty across disciplines — from STEM to the humanities. Kia is passionate about making sure that faculty of all backgrounds can flourish.”

Beverly Wendland

“Kia has a history of demonstrated leadership in faculty development and diversity, equity and inclusion. At UNC, her efforts produced real and tangible advances for faculty across disciplines — from STEM to the humanities. Kia is passionate about making sure that faculty of all backgrounds can flourish,” Wendland said.

“I look forward to the opportunity not only to learn from her accomplishments at UNC but also to partner with her in creating an environment in which our faculty thrive,” Wendland added. “I’m thrilled to welcome her to WashU, and I can’t wait for our faculty to start working with her.”

“I’m excited about joining WashU and working with campus partners to advance faculty development, support and success,” Caldwell said. “This role offers a unique opportunity to combine my expertise and passions related to faculty affairs and equity and inclusion. I look forward to furthering the excellent and exemplary work that Professor Adrienne Davis and others have been doing at the university.”

Caldwell joined the UNC Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies faculty in 2005 after positions in the California State University system.

Her research focuses on race, gender, Black feminism, health policy and HIV/AIDS in Brazil and the U.S. Her current research focuses on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Black communities in the U.S. and Brazil and how Black women have reenvisioned democracy and human rights through activism and office holding across the Americas.

Search committee members

Provost Beverly Wendland appointed a search committee to identify candidates for the position of vice provost for faculty affairs and diversity.

Vijay Ramani, the Roma B. and Raymond H. Wittcoff Distinguished University Professor at the McKelvey School of Engineering and chair of the Senate Council, chaired the search committee.

The other members of the committee, which was staffed by Lisa Siddens, assistant provost and senior adviser in the provost’s office, were:

Nicole Hudson, assistant vice chancellor for the Academy for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion;

Todd Milbourn, the Hubert C. & Dorothy R. Moog Professor of Finance at Olin Business School and vice dean of faculty and research;

Fred Ssewamala, the William E. Gordon Distinguished Professor at the Brown School; and

Adia Harvey Wingfield, the Mary Tileston Hemenway Professor and associate dean for faculty development in Arts & Sciences.

She is co-founder and director of the African Diaspora Fellows Program, which provides professional development in African American and Afro-Latin studies to middle and high school teachers in North Carolina. 

Caldwell, who is fluent in Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, is the author of two books, co-editor of two anthologies and has written more than 30 scholarly articles and book chapters. Her most recent book, “Health Equity in Brazil: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Policy,” looks at how institutional and structural factors impact gender and racial health equity in Brazil.

She has received grants and fellowships from the Ford, Rockefeller and Mellon foundations, the NSF and the American Psychological Association.

Caldwell, who has been a collaborator on multinational projects focusing on gender and citizenship and Black women’s health in Brazil and the United States, recently was elected to the executive committee/board for the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora.

Among her service at UNC, she was the lead organizer for a symposium on “Black Women in the Academy” and she serves as faculty adviser for the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association. She was a fellow in UNC’s Academic Leadership Program and a participant in the BRIDGES Academic Leadership Program for Women.

Caldwell earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish literature and civilization and a certificate in Latin American studies from Princeton University. She earned a master’s in Latin American studies and a doctorate in social anthropology, both from the University of Texas at Austin.

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