SMU Welcomes New Chief Diversity Officer

President Sharon Diaz is pleased to announce that Shirley Strong, M.Ed., B.A. has been appointed Chief Diversity Officer of Samuel Merritt University effective May 27, 2014.

Shirley Strong (pictured left) has spearheaded initiatives in the fields of education, philanthropy and social action for over 30 years.  She has been the Dean of Students and Director of Diversity at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) since 2006.  An innovator and leader at CIIS, Shirley has worked to transform the university, inspire students, staff and faculty while demonstrating leadership in creating an inclusive, beloved community.  She uses the concept of beloved community as a touchstone for her life and work.

Prior to working at CIIS, Shirley spent ten years with the Levi Strauss Foundation directing social justice initiatives that were effective in dismantling discrimination in various communities and constituencies.  She has extensive experience across a number of academic institutions including San Francisco State, Mills College, CSU Hayward (now CSU East Bay), and the University of New Mexico.

Shirley is a compassionate social justice educator, and is committed to supporting individual and social change leading to greater equity and inclusion.  She deeply respects all people, places and things, and believes in an integral consciousness based on love, justice, compassion, responsibility, and shared power.

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