Centenary hires Dr. Latoya Pierce as first Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer
SHREVEPORT, LA — Dr. Latoya Pierce, an academic and educator with deep experience in fostering multicultural awareness and dialogue and instituting inclusive practices and processes, will join Centenary in January 2022 as the College’s first Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer. Pierce comes to Centenary from St. Bonaventure University in New York, where she was director of the university’s enormously successful online master’s program in counselor education and is also currently serving as interim dean of the School of Education.
“I am both honored and privileged to be chosen as the founding Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Chief Diversity Officer at Centenary College of Louisiana,” said Pierce. “Part of what attracted me to the position is in the institution’s value statement ‘…Centenary College promotes the values of compassion, integrity, intellectual and moral courage, and personal and collective responsibility.’ These values allow us to serve and see the whole student, to holistically nurture the mind and spirit, and to educate students who lead with integrity. It also encourages a sense of community among students, faculty, and staff, and the conviction to have courageous conversations around race, ethnicity, gender equality, sexual identity, and other topics.”
Pierce earned a Ph.D. in counselor education from the University of New Orleans and also holds a master’s degree in counseling and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Loyola University New Orleans. She has held administrative and teaching positions at Loyola University in New Orleans, University of New Orleans, Arkansas State University, Walden University, and Louisiana Tech. Pierce has served as a subject matter expert in diversity for the Louisiana State University system, as well as a cultural and linguistic specialist at Arkansas State.
Pierce plans to immediately assess the campus climate and needs at Centenary through meetings with students, faculty, and staff. She will also work closely with the College’s Diversity Committee to establish goals, strategies, benchmarks, and actionable items that will inform a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) guiding principles document as well as a DEI strategic plan that aligns with the College’s broader strategic planning process.
In the long term, Pierce hopes to build a comprehensive repository of DEI resources for Centenary and work with student organizations and the campus community to host DEI programming events. She has a broad vision for Centenary’s potential to take a leadership role in DEI education, and will work with local and regional constituents to create productive partnerships. As DEI Dean, Pierce will also emphasize the recruitment, transition, and retention of students and faculty who belong to underrepresented groups and populations.
“I am very happy to have Dr. Pierce join Centenary in this important new position,” said Centenary president Dr. Christopher L. Holoman. “She brings a special set of skills to our campus and I am sure will be a powerful advocate for students, faculty, and staff as we continue to make Centenary a great place to live, learn, and work for all members of our community.”