St. Francis College Appoints Jeanne Arnold, Ed.D., as its First Permanent Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer
St. Francis College
St. Francis College has tapped Jeanne Arnold, Ed.D., as its first permanent Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer (CDEIO), effective July 1, 2021. Dr. Arnold will also serve as the College’s Chief of Staff, and report directly to Miguel Martinez-Saenz, Ph.D., President of St. Francis College, as a member of his cabinet.
As CDEIO, Dr. Arnold will oversee SFC’s agenda to foster a learning and working environment that supports an increasingly diverse student body and workforce, and that champions programs and dialogue that lead to greater understanding of relevant issues.
“Dr. Arnold will be instrumental as the College continues to embrace its Franciscan commitment to being an inclusive community where all members feel like they belong,” said President Martinez-Saenz. “I’m absolutely thrilled she accepted our invitation to join the SFC family.”
Last month, the St. Francis College Board of Trustees and College leadership unveiled SFC Forward, an initiative that includes relocating SFC’s campus from Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights to The Wheeler building in Downtown Brooklyn in September 2022.
As part of SFC Forward, the Board and College leaders also committed to efforts promoting diversity, equity and inclusivity in all aspects of SFC’s collegiate life.
“SFC Forward is a holistic effort to position the College to serve many future generations of students,” said President Martinez-Saenz. “The issues under Dr. Arnold’s purview are absolutely critical to that mission.”
Since 2014, Dr. Arnold has been Chief Diversity Officer at Gettysburg College, and she held a similar role at Grand Valley State University for nearly seven years prior. Dr. Arnold filled administrative functions at the University of Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2007, the last four years of which were as the Executive Director of the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs. Among her dozens of professional and leadership achievements include serving on the Board of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education since 2012.
“It is my privilege to join St. Francis College, and I am truly delighted to work with the President and the entire SFC family to elevate the College’s longstanding tradition of nurturing a hospitable environment through the development and implementation of a sustainable infrastructure to support DEI strategies,” said Dr. Arnold, who earned a doctorate in education and a master’s in social work from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s in psychology and social welfare from Pennsylvania State University. “It’s particularly exciting to be part of SFC Forward, as we prepare to move to a new campus to serve our diverse community of students, faculty and staff in even more creative and innovative ways.”
In the past year, SFC has undertaken several projects to promote achievement of students who have been historically under-represented in higher education. Spearheaded by Dale Favors, special counsel to the President, and Monique Moore Pryor, Chief Engagement and External Affairs Officer, SFC collaborated with IHS Markit to host two multi-week workshops run by Wall Street Bound, Inc. that readied students for careers in finance.
Last year, the New York State Department of Education selected SFC to host a Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) that prepares students from under-represented populations for jobs in medicine, health and other fields that require professional licenses. SFC’s CSTEP enrolled its first students in the 2020-21 academic year.
In 2020, 24% of the SFC student population identified as Black, and 28% as Hispanic. Women make up more than 60% of all students and the majority of the College’s full-time faculty. Ten percent of the student body consists of international students, with enrollees coming from Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Serbia, Albania, Spain and more than 70 other countries.
President Martinez-Saenz first announced the creation of the CDEIO position in July 2020. Since November 2020, Jeffrey Diaz, President of Jeffrey Emil Diaz Consulting, has served in that capacity on an interim basis. Monique Moore Pryor served as Chief of Staff when she joined St. Francis College in 2018 until taking on her current role last year.
“I want to thank Jeffrey Diaz, who has enabled us to move our DEI agenda forward thoughtfully to this point,” said President Martinez-Saenz. “He will be instrumental as Dr. Arnold transitions into her new role, and I look forward to his ongoing engagement with SFC as our critical DEI work continues.”