CMU alumna Shawna Patterson-Stephens named next chief diversity officer

Mar 8, 2021 | Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University President Bob Davies announced alumna Shawna Patterson-Stephens will be serving as the next vice president and chief diversity officer in a March 8 email to the campus community.

Patterson-Stephens will officially step into her role on June 1. She is replacing A.T. Miller, who stepped down in August 2020. Stan Shingles, former assistant vice president for University Recreation has served as interim this past academic year.

“The future of diversity, equity and inclusion at Central Michigan University is bright knowing we will have Dr. Patterson-Stephens at the helm,” Davies said. “Her background, skills and vision are exactly what we need to advance our ambitious goals. I am thrilled to welcome her back to CMU.”

Patterson-Stephens got her bachelor's degree from CMU, master's degree in student affairs administration from Michigan State University and her doctorate in higher education from Florida State University. 

She currently serves as the associate vice chancellor of student affairs and director of the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Patterson-Stephens held positions as a residence hall and complex director at MSU and leadership roles at the University of Pennsylvania and the Davis Intercultural Center at Williams College. 

Davies said Patterson-Stephens will play a large role in "advancing the university’s goal to become a more inclusive institution."

"I am beyond honored to be entrusted with this tremendous opportunity and responsibility; to strengthen and co-facilitate the strategic implementation of inclusive excellence throughout the very community that provided me with a foundational understanding of diversity, inclusion and social justice education,” Patterson-Stephens said in the email. “Central Michigan University has grown so much since my tenure as an undergraduate student, and I am profoundly grateful to be able to contribute towards the cultivation of an engaging, pluralistic learning environment."

Patterson-Stephens was selected by Davies as the result of a nation-wide search with DHR International. The search committee was chaired by Interim Vice President/Chief Diversity Officer Stan Shingles and Senior Vice Provost Julia Johnson.