WMU appoints new VP for diversity and inclusion

Contact: Paula M. Davis

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Following a nationwide search, Western Michigan University has named an experienced college administrator, professor and rising chief diversity officer to continue advancing the University's commitment to a culture of inclusivity.

Headshot of Dr. Candy McCorkle.


Dr. Candy McCorkle, currently director of diversity and inclusion at Alma College, will join WMU as its next vice president for diversity and inclusion, effective Aug. 1.

"Dr. McCorkle brings an extraordinary vision, passion and expertise to the challenge of building and maintaining a truly diverse and inclusive campus community," says WMU President Edward Montgomery.

"I am confident that, working with the WMU community, she will help make us a diverse and inclusive school of choice."

Dr. Yvette D. Hyter, who chaired the search advisory committee for the position, characterizes McCorkle as a rising leader in promoting diversity in higher education and well-suited to continue to increase diversity and to advance inclusion and equity at every level and across all units at WMU.

"Her role as vice president for diversity and inclusion is critical for the inclusive and equitable functioning of every unit within the University and essential for continuing established relationships and building new ones in the diverse communities served by WMU," says Hyter, a professor of speech, language and hearing sciences.

McCorkle replaces the retiring Dr. Martha Warfield, who was the University's first chief diversity officer and has served in that role since 2010. She retires at the end of July after more than 25 years with the University.

Director of diversity and inclusion at Alma since 2016, manager of the college's King Chavez Parks Mentor Program Grant and a WMU alumna, McCorkle says she is excited to begin the next phase of her professional journey at her alma mater. 

"WMU is an institution known for its innovation. It is an institution that instead of following the trends tries to identify its strengths and leverage those for the betterment of the students and the global community," she says, noting that the University has demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

"It is my goal as the new VP for diversity and inclusion to capitalize on that commitment and continue to move us forward to become an institution that values its students, staff and faculty. To be an inclusive institution, we must create spaces for each of us to be our authentic selves and to allow each voice to have influence in shaping our collective destiny," she says. 

"We are living in a time in which division seems to be the norm; however, I have never been one to adhere to norms. We have an opportunity to not only shape WMU but to shape higher education. I want WMU to be the gold standard for diversity and inclusion."

Candy McCorkle

In her tenure with Alma College, McCorkle has developed and implemented programming to promote diversity and inclusion on campus; facilitated diversity education for faculty, staff and students; and collaborated with the administration on creating policies and practices that foster inclusiveness. She also has collaborated with inner-city high schools in Detroit to assist students in gaining access to higher education.

Previously, she worked at Jackson College as an adjunct administrator, and then as assistant dean of the honors college; at Central Michigan University as director of the Global Campus Counseling Program in the Department of Counseling and Special Education; and at Spring Arbor University as director of the Master of Arts in counseling. She has been an assistant professor of counseling and special education at CMU and an associate professor of psychology at SAU, as well as a substance abuse prevention consultant in Battle Creek and a substance abuse therapist in Jackson.

McCorkle earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Wright State University, a master's degree in clinical psychology from Eastern Michigan University and a doctoral degree in counselor education and supervision from WMU.

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