WMU News

Martha Warfield appointed to lead presidential initiative

Feb. 6, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Dr. Martha B. Warfield, assistant vice president for student affairs and director of the Division of Multicultural Affairs at Western Michigan University, will lead a Presidential Initiative on Diversity and Multiculturalism at WMU.

The initiative and Warfield's leadership role in the effort were announced Feb. 5 by WMU President Judith I. Bailey in her State of the University address to the campus community. Warfield, who will restructure but continue her responsibilities in student affairs, will take a seat on the president's senior staff and lead a Council on Institutional Diversity charged with four main goals:

to develop a comprehensive diversity plan;

to review the policies, procedures, and limitations for the recruitment, retention, and participation of diverse groups and individuals across campus;

to determine specific strategies and needed resources to improve the campus diversity climate; and

to recommend ways to strengthen the use of the limited resources that already exist.

"As an institution, we reap tangible benefits when each individual is welcomed, respected and included in classroom discussion, study and work environments that are civil and respectful," Bailey said in making the announcement. "Until now, the University has not had one individual charged with the cross-campus responsibility for planning, implementing, advising and evaluating the effectiveness of policy and practice to advance a more positive and diverse University."

Warfield will coordinate staff and programs of diversity initiatives already under way on campus through such units as the Office of Institutional Equity, the Lewis Walker Center for Race and Ethnic Relations, International Student Services, Disabled Student Services and the Center for Women's Studies. The council she will lead will provide advice on policy changes necessary to build diversity. Membership of that group will be announced in the coming weeks.

Warfield came to the University in 1992 as a psychologist and associate professor in the Counseling Center. She has been director of the Division of Multicultural Affairs since 1993 and a mental health consultant for the Michigan Department of Labor since 1995. She was named to her current position in 2002.

A licensed psychologist, she has a distinguished professional background that spans careers as varied as social worker, educator, researcher, probation officer, counselor and entrepreneur. Since joining the WMU staff, she has been active on a multitude of on- and off-campus organizations, and she was the recipient of a WMU Distinguished Service Award in 2001.

Warfield earned a bachelor of science degree in social science from WMU in 1961, a master of arts degree in education from the University of Oregon in 1969 and a doctor of philosophy degree in counseling psychology from Michigan State University in 1979. She also was a postdoctoral fellow in MSU's Institute of Research in Teaching.

The co-author of publications on educational equity and school desegregation, Warfield has extensive experience as a speaker in academic settings, community forums, conferences and videotape productions for public and education-based television programs. She served for eight years as chairperson of the Special Projects Commission of the National Alliance of Black School Educators, was an appointee to the Michigan Department of Social Services Board of Directors, and has been involved in a variety of other local, state and national organizations.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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