Dana Bozeman, Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion

Earlier this year, Harris welcomed Dana Bozeman, the new Assistant Dean of Diversity & Inclusion at Harris. In this role, Dana serves as the senior leader responsible for advancing diversity and inclusion efforts across Harris. She leads the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and works with Harris leadership and the Dean to engage with students, alumni, staff, and faculty. She also collaborates with partners across the University and externally.  

Dana has been a higher education administration professional for more than 17 years, and has trained students, faculty, staff, and private organizations for more than 12 years in diversity and leadership-related topics. She currently serves as a member of the Diversifying Faculty in Illinois Board.

We sat down with Dana to learn more about her and her goals in her new Harris role:

What makes you most excited to join Harris as its new Assistant Dean, Diversity & Inclusion?

I am excited to build upon the foundational structure started by predecessors working directly with the students, staff, and faculty at Harris to enact a roadmap for diversity. To me, policy is a verb. The opportunity to work with so many brilliant people that are actively seeking change in multifaceted areas and bring those diverse perspectives to this work and community is amazing.

What does it mean to truly embrace diversity and practice inclusion? How would you describe your philosophy on diversity and inclusion work in higher education?

Embracing diversity and inclusion means being intentional in making sure that people feel a sense of belonging in the community and valuing their voice. It means having conversations that can be uncomfortable but respecting different experiences so that as many perspectives are considered as possible. I believe that higher education is the ideal space to learn about and explore difference.

My philosophy in higher education and especially in relationship to my work at Harris is that we are all in it together. Inclusion and belonging are the responsibility of all community members. Belonging is a paramount component within diversity and inclusion. It creates space for people to bring their authentic selves to the academic community. This freedom benefits everyone because the perspectives, ideas and voices of people that may have been left out strengthen our understanding of all issues.

What do you think is most understood about D&I work, and what can we do to combat these misperceptions?

I think that sometimes people believe that D & I work is meant to shame groups of people or force a prescribed set of values. I think that engaging people directly in conversations, building community and providing opportunities to learn more about the experiences of people that hold different identities than our own is the best way to chip away at those misconceptions.

The D&I Roadmap, launched ahead of the 2020-2021 academic year, was a three-year “living plan,” and it is now in its third year. What is coming on the horizon? The first version of the road map is a testament to the Harris School intentionally assessing and planning to have a more diverse and inclusive environment. We will conduct another climate survey as a part of the assessment of the current roadmap and will produce an updated roadmap based on the Dean’s vision and our findings. This commitment to continuous improvement and leadership is a hallmark of the Harris School.

What would the Harris community be most surprised to learn about you?

I think people would be surprised to learn that I am a Momanger and cheer mom. My daughter is a SAG actress and a national champion cheerleader.