New chief diversity officer selected

Carmen Phelps

Carmen Phelps, a director in the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership (IDEAL) at Temple University, has been selected to serve as chief diversity officer at Northern Arizona University. Phelps will begin her new role August 1.

“Dr. Phelps has demonstrated visionary leadership in advancing university inclusion and equity initiatives,” said NAU President Rita Cheng. “Her experience and ideas will move NAU forward while keeping us true to our commitment of fostering a diverse campus community.”

In her current position at Temple, Phelps created a strategic plan for enhancing campus culture to advance cultural awareness, educating constituents on issues around race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion and ability. She developed relationships with student leaders and created programming that advanced diversity and inclusion, education and advocacy services.

“I’m incredibly grateful and excited to have been selected to serve as the inaugural chief diversity officer at NAU,” Phelps said. “I look forward to a productive and inspiring year of building relationships with students, faculty, administrators and staff. I’m especially excited to work in partnership with all stakeholders to foster an environment that is increasingly diverse and supportive of all identities and populations, and in which we recognize and validate the contributions we all make to the culture of our campus.”  

Phelps has held several faculty roles at Longwood University, Virginia Commonwealth University and George Washington University. She assisted the University of Toledo as a diversity advocate and educator while serving as a tenured associate professor for Women’s and Gender, Africana, Law and Social Thought, and Ethnic Literature programs.

Phelps earned bachelor’s degrees in ethnic studies and journalism from the University of Kansas, a master’s in English from Chicago State University and a Ph.D. in literature with a focus on activist writing from George Washington University. She holds a certification in Title IX from the American Association of Access, Equity and Diversity.