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UMSI announces new Director of Inclusion, Equity and Outreach

Monday, 09/21/2020

Ann Arbor - The School of Information has appointed Devon Keen to a newly created position, the Director of Inclusion, Equity and Outreach, Dean Thomas A. Finholt has announced. Keen joins the school’s management team and will play a leadership role in the development and implementation of UMSI’s outreach and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, including completion of the current U-M five-year DEI strategic plan and subsequent, continuing DEI efforts. Another priority will be to continue building UMSI’s outreach to community colleges and to explore strategic directions for  K-12 outreach. 

“We were one of the first units at the university to put DEI efforts front and center through the appointment of an Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in 2016,” said Dean Finholt. “With this new, director-level position, we are supporting our commitment to create an anti-racist, diverse, inclusive and supportive community at UMSI.”  

Devon Keen joined UMSI as the assistant director of the Health Informatics program in 2015 and in 2017 became the assistant director of Outreach and Transfer Student Initiatives. Before coming to UMSI, she worked in administration at the U-M African Studies Center. 

In her most recent position at UMSI, she initiated the Community College Summer Institute, which introduces Michigan community college students to the university experience. In 2020, Washtenaw Community College recognized her efforts with its inaugural Equity in Action award. She was also the recipient of the UMSI outstanding staff member award in 2018.

“My previous role in UMSI and prior roles at the African Studies Center and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS) have been focused on relationship building and creating initiatives that ensure the broadest access to the University's resources and opportunities,” Keen said. “This position provides me with a greater line of sight and influence to create strategies that ensure access at the highest possible level. The hope is that what we do here will serve as a case study for other schools and colleges at U-M and beyond.

“I am eager to be part of making our commitment to anti-racism highly visible and deeply felt by everyone who enters our community,” she added. “Through our messaging, of course, but more importantly through our curriculum, community norms, practices and outcomes. That we develop clear ways for folks to contribute to ongoing efforts without the burden of figuring out how to sustain them -- that's our job.”

“I’m thrilled to see Devon Keen assume this important role in UMSI,” said Judy (Lawson) Schabel, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at UMSI. “Since her arrival at UMSI, Devon has demonstrated innovation, creativity and collaboration. In the past two years, Devon and I have worked as a team to guide UMSI’s DEI Strategic Plan implementation, including developing our DEI GSSA position, advising students and student groups, creating new programs such as iDEI Talks, consulting on a range of policy and process changes across UMSI, organizing educational sessions and offering the first school-wide DEI retreat.

“Having Devon assume a full-time role focusing on DEI broadly while continuing to lead UMSI’s outreach and transfer program efforts will have a significant and positive impact. She will be an outstanding addition to UMSI’s current team of directors.” 

Keen’s appointment is effective Sept. 1.