Nancy S. Kaplan, Ed.D., Associate Provost for Academic Support Services and External Academic Partnerships, has been appointed as Chair of the BIG EAST Conference’s Working Group on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
“I am honored to have been asked to serve in this important role,” said Dr. Kaplan. “The BIG EAST Conference and our working group members have been laser-focused on many critical issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. I look forward to working with my colleagues as we continue this important work together.”
St. John’s University was an early signatory to the 2016 NCAA Presidential Pledge, an association-wide commitment to promoting diversity and gender equity in intercollegiate athletics. All 11 BIG EAST schools have since signed the pledge.
“Nancy is a true leader in the social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion space,” said Simon G. Møller, Ph.D., Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs, University Distinguished Professor, and Provost Endowed Chair.
“Her invitation to be the Chair of the BIG EAST Conference Working Group on DEI is a testament to her leadership and commitment.”
BIG EAST Commissioner Val Ackerman expressed similar praise for Dr. Kaplan. “Nancy has been at the forefront of issues around gender equity and racial and social justice for many years and has been a vital contributor to our conference-wide efforts to make an impact in these critical areas,” she said. “We are very pleased that she has accepted our invitation to chair our DEI Working Group and know her perspectives will be invaluable as we build out our DEI plan and further support our schools.”
As part of the continuing efforts of the BIG EAST Conference Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group, the Conference has created the BIG EAST Talent Bank to identify qualified, minority candidates interested in pursuing careers in college athletics.
The working group, which includes representation from all 11 BIG EAST member institutions, was formed in 2019 to develop a strategic roadmap to further the athletics-related DEI efforts underway on member campuses.
“At the outset, our DEI Working Group prioritized hiring strategies and the goal of bringing more women and people of color to our athletics department ranks,” Ms. Ackerman added. “We hope the Talent Bank will help us better correlate the make-up of our student-athlete populations with our leadership tier and provide an additional resource to our schools when senior and mid-level positions become available.”