LAWRENCE — E. Nathan Thomas III, a highly successful educator, administrator and entrepreneur, has been named the vice provost for Diversity and Equity at the University of Kansas. Thomas will join the KU community on July 14.
Jeffrey S. Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor, said Thomas’ 20 years of experience and accomplishments will allow him to make immediate progress on enacting the goals tied to student, faculty and staff diversity as well as student success in Bold Aspirations, KU’s strategic plan.
“Nathan is a proven leader whose background aligns with KU’s mission of educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world,” Vitter said. “Nathan’s exceptional work at the University of South Florida Polytechnic where he was the first and founding director of Campus Diversity, and at Invictus Human Capital Management, where he has been a consultant for diversity in higher education for four years, makes him a perfect fit for this position.”
As vice provost for Diversity and Equity, Thomas will act as the institutional leader for diversity, equity and inclusion. He will work with the campus community on the recruitment, retention and professional development of under-represented faculty and staff and coordinate academic support and programs for students from under-represented groups. The vice provost is responsible for developing and enacting a framework and outcome metrics that will promote diversity and serve as an action plan for the university and units across campus, among a number of other duties on and off campus.
“I am honored to take on this position and excited to join the Jayhawk community,” Thomas said. “I believe my unique experiences at the University of South Florida and working with institutions large and small as a consultant provide an excellent fit to help KU meet its diversity goals as well as other goals and strategies of Bold Aspirations. During my time at USF I strove to enhance faculty, staff and student success and sense of belonging. I’m excited to grow the existing programs at KU and increase that sense of belonging for all Jayhawks.”
At USF, Thomas developed, enacted and managed diversity efforts for eight years. That included a mentoring program to support the retention of diverse students, an organizational framework and strategic plan to support campus diversity, and he founded the Diversity Advisory Group, composed of faculty, staff, students and community members, to assist in facilitating the office’s initiatives, including providing diversity training and enacting a pair of campuswide Diversity Climate Surveys.
While at USF, Thomas helped write a successful multi-university NSF grant proposal aimed at increasing the number of women and minorities in technology disciplines. As a founding partner of Invictus, Thomas has worked with organizations to enhance organizational culture, compliance, structure and strategy.
Thomas received a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in community/clinical psychology from Norfolk State University. In 2005, he received a doctorate in ecological-community psychology from Michigan State University. Thomas is married to Tamara Baker and has two children, Landon, 7, and Sydney, 5. He replaces Fred Rodriguez, who retired in summer 2013.