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In the news: Nefertiti Walker

In the news: Nefertiti Walker
Nefertiti Walker COURTESY PHOTO

University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan announced at last week’s UMass Board of Trustees meeting that he has appointed Nefertiti Walker to serve as presidential advisor for Equity and Inclusion. Walker currently serves as vice chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at UMass Amherst and will continue to serve in that capacity as she advises President Meehan on university, state, and national issues; works with campuses to prepare system-wide annual updates to the Board of Trustees; convenes meetings of campus chief diversity officers; and develops strategic priorities for the President’s Office aimed at achieving Board of Trustees goals.

Walker will begin her service with the President’s Office on January 10, 2022.

The appointment of Walker is the latest in a series of initiatives by President Meehan to focus more attention and resources on enhancing diversity and inclusiveness across the 5-campus, 75,000-student, 18,000-employee university, which has become increasingly diverse. Students of color now comprise 40 percent of the UMass student population, compared to 33 percent in 2015.

Prior to joining the UMass Amherst administration, Walker served as associate dean for an inclusive organization in the university’s Isenberg School of Management. She is a tenured faculty member at Isenberg, teaching courses in leadership and organizational behavior, sport organizational development, and foundations of DEI in business. Her research examines organizational inclusion and exclusion, seeking to understand the experiences of people with marginalized identities, and using those insights to design more inclusive organizational cultures. Her work includes more than 70 international publications and presentations, and she has been published in top journals such as the Journal of Sport Management and the Journal of Business Research.

She is a research fellow with the North American Society for Sport Management. She has been awarded the 2017-18 Isenberg School of Management Teaching Excellence Award and the 2018-19 Isenberg School of Management Research Excellence Award.

Walker earned her Ph.D. from the University of Florida. She received her bachelor’s and master’s (MBA) degrees from Stetson University, where she was a Division I NCAA basketball player. She also lettered in basketball at Georgia Tech.