University of Florida’s Multicultural and Diversity Affairs has selected Will Atkins, the current interim director, as its new executive director, effective immediately.
“Out of a robust and competitive applicant and finalist pool, Mr. Atkins has been selected to serve as the Executive Director of MCDA,” said Dr. David Parrott, vice president for student affairs said in a statement. “The University of Florida, the Division of Student Affairs, and our students will benefit from his leadership, compassion, and commitment to excellence.”
MCDA leads the Division of Students’ Affairs efforts to promote diversity, inclusion, education and empowerment throughout campus.
As executive director, Atkins will head the various departments within MCDA, including Black Affairs, Hispanic-Latino Affairs, Asian Pacific Islander American Affairs, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer Affairs, and Intercultural Engagement.
Former director Lloren Foster was removed last September after his contract was not renewed on Sept. 15. Foster had served as director since August 2015.
After a national search, four candidates were brought to Gainesville for evaluations which included interviews, a review of strengths and weaknesses provided by the search committee, and reference checks with the candidates’ employers and faculty members, according to the statement.
For the position of executive director, UF looked specifically at each candidate’s leadership style, communication skills and experience in advocacy.
Atkins, who has served as interim executive director for the past six months, was ultimately chosen for the role. His recent efforts include co-leading the Black Student Affairs Task Force, launching an intercultural dialogue series, and organizing a town hall event with President Kent Fuchs.
“Mr. Atkins brings a strong foundation in social justice education, serving underrepresented students and working on campus climate initiatives and assessment,” said Dr. Mary Kay Carodine, assistant vice president for student affairs in a statement. “His excellent relationships and collaborations with academic colleges and departments, student organizations and alumni combined with the strength of the team, poise MCDA to make a substantial and lasting impact on campus.”