Sheree Ohen has been named the inaugural associate dean of diversity, inclusion, and belonging for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Claudine Gay, Edgerley Family Dean of FAS, announced today. Ohen will begin her tenure Sept. 28.
“I am thrilled beyond words to come to Harvard at such a time as this,” said Ohen. “Dean Gay’s commitment to advance racial justice and address inequality is truly monumental. I am honored to step into this inaugural role to help build on the efforts already underway and to shape and co-create a strategic vision for sustainable inclusive excellence.
This work extends to all aspects of life, teaching, and living communities of the FAS.”
In her community message announcing the appointment, Gay called Ohen, who comes to Harvard from Clark University in Worcester, Mass., “a highly principled leader … known for the trusted partnerships she builds with people across the university community.” She praised Ohen’s work as a vocal advocate for equity and inclusion in higher education and noted her extensive experience as a guest lecturer, invited keynote speaker, and adviser to institutions and companies across the U.S. on best practices in diversity and inclusive excellence.
“I am delighted that Sheree will be bringing her expertise and passion to this newly created role,” Gay said. “As the FAS associate dean of diversity, inclusion, and belonging, she will serve as the lead FAS administrator responsible for conceiving, developing, and overseeing strategies to advance and support diversity, inclusion, and belonging for all constituencies at the FAS.”
For the past four years, Ohen served as chief officer of diversity and inclusion at Clark. The university received the prestigious 2018 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine under Ohen’s leadership, a national recognition honoring colleges and universities for outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Ohen, a California native, received an undergraduate degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law. After a successful career practicing civil rights litigation, employment law, and criminal defense, she began working in higher education to advance initiatives in equity and diversity in California and Massachusetts.
While at Clark, Ohen co-chaired the president’s commission on speech rights and community values, which led to the adoption of a statement of principles and policy focusing on freedom of expression. She also led the process of developing the university’s first campus climate survey and a strategic roadmap for more effective inclusivity measures.