January 13, 2021

University of Kansas Taps Ombuds to Lead Diversity Efforts

University Ombuds DA Graham will serve as Interim Vice Provost for KU's recently restructured Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. The university's Faculty Ombuds, Ada Emmett, will step up to fill Graham's role as Interim Ombuds. It is not clear how long this arrangement will last.

Here's more from the formal announcement to the campus:

Announcing Senior Leadership Changes, Program Realignments
The University of Kansas is making several organizational and reporting line changes that primarily affect the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, with most changes effective immediately.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging
Over the summer we decided to close the search for Vice Provost of Diversity and Equity and engage in listening and reflection as we reconsidered the mission and organization of the office in order to significantly improve diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging at KU.

From conversations with multiple groups and constituencies, it’s clear there is an urgency surrounding a remedy for change, yet not one group has indicated our efforts to date have worked well. Further, student government leaders have reported a need for more empathy at KU for the situations of students, in general, and those who are most marginalized, in particular. The time to enact meaningful change that helps make KU a better place for students, staff and faculty is now.

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University Ombuds D. A. Graham will become Interim Vice Provost in the newly renamed Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. He will work closely with Lawrence and Edwards Campus academic and administrative units on regular assessment and improvement of their strategic plans for diversity, equity and inclusion and administration of strategic initiatives. Support staff in Diversity & Equity will now report to D. A. Over the coming spring semester, D. A. will lay the foundation for the Office of DEIB by developing an aspirational vision for DEIB, creating a DEIB professional development program with mentoring and consulting resources, establishing metrics for change and more.

* * *

To ensure continuity in the University Ombuds Office, Faculty Ombuds Ada Emmett will serve as interim ombuds. Her primary appointment in KU Libraries will decrease from 80% to 20% to allow her greater ability to address responsibilities of the Ombuds Office.

Collectively, these changes result in a small reduction of staff within the DEIB structure. All programs remain. The realignment will allow the university to dedicate resources in areas that directly support faculty and staff, areas that have long been underserved, but that have broad implications for all members of campus.
Related posts: University of Kansas Names Experienced Ombuds; Today is the First Ombuds Day!; Video Introduces University of Kansas Ombuds; Robert Shelton: Long-time University of Kansas Ombuds; Animation Explains Why Students Come to the KU Ombuds; University of Kansas Seeking Next Faculty Ombuds; University of Kansas Names Faculty OmbudsUniversity of Kansas Ombuds Revamps Annual Report.


  1. Congratulations DA! This is the best news! You’ll be amazing!

    1. Thank you Emily! It will be a new challenge and I look forward to continuing to make a difference.

  2. Congratulations, DA! The University could not have made a better selection!
    All the best,