Learning Spanish led Beverly Warren, Ed.D., Eckerd College’s first-ever executive director of inclusive excellence, on the path to a career in educational equity.
“I majored in Spanish as an undergraduate to be able to connect, engage and serve marginalized populations,” said Warren, who will begin her tenure at the College on Aug. 9.
With more than 17 years’ experience in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) work, Warren said she is excited to join Eckerd as the institution embraces the future under its new president, Damián J. Fernández, Ph.D., to whom she will report. “The next major challenge for DEIB work has to do with the preparedness of institutions and organizations to not only view change as necessary but also embrace the transformations at the student, staff, faculty and administration levels with the enthusiasm I have seen at Eckerd so far,” she added.
Eckerd College began its search for an executive director of inclusive excellence in early 2021 after President Fernández prioritized the position based on feedback from a series of listening sessions across College constituencies. A generous donor funded the position for the first three years. The new executive director will be asked to take charge of and sustain a culture of equity and inclusiveness through the development and implementation of effective assessment tools and programmatic opportunities and initiatives designed to increase DEIB among students, faculty, staff and external stakeholders.
“‘Inclusive Excellence’ is one of four pillars in our developing Strategic Plan because advancing our commitment to increase diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at the College will enhance the Eckerd experience for all,” Fernández said. “Dr. Warren will work with the College’s executive team and others across the institution to enhance campus culture, strengthen pedagogy, and develop recruitment and retention strategies for the benefit of students, faculty and staff.”
Warren, 43, serves as interim associate dean of extended opportunity programs and services at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District in El Cajon, California. In that position, she stewarded several targeted initiatives aimed at widening access to higher education to underserved communities, including foster youth. She also has worked as the director of extended opportunity programs and services at San Diego City College and the director of educational opportunity programs and ethnic affairs at San Diego State University, where she completed her Master of Arts in education and a Doctorate of Education in educational leadership.
After graduating from Fisk University with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, Warren turned her study abroad contacts into her first job as a substitute teacher and college admission counselor at the American School of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. She looks forward to finding ways to broaden access to those life-changing global learning opportunities for socioeconomically disadvantaged students as well as being an advocate for students of privilege. “Being able to travel to places and see different ways of life can be incredibly beneficial for our students of privilege to appreciate the cultural differences,” she explained.
“Dr. Warren’s experience will help us to create a DEIB strategic road map,” Fernández said. “Her commitment will keep us focused on our goals. Her conviction will allow Eckerd, through its students, to make a positive impact on our world.”