Building on one of four key priorities of his 19-month-old administration, President Troy Paino today announced the creation of a Cabinet-level position that reinforces the University of Mary Washington’s commitment to greater diversity and inclusion. Paino named Sabrina Johnson to the new position of vice president for equity and access. She also will serve as the University’s chief diversity officer.
“Sabrina Johnson will provide leadership in advancing diversity and inclusion as essential components of the University’s mission,” said Paino, who made the announcement at a spring semester assembly of UMW faculty and staff. “We look forward to having her help define UMW’s commitment to developing and sustaining an equitable, inclusive, and supportive working and learning environment for all.”
Among her duties in the new role, Johnson will provide strategic and visible leadership for equity, access and diversity initiatives across all university program and administrative areas.
“I am humbled to lead a community of truly dedicated faculty, staff, and administrators in their efforts to create and sustain learning and working environments where equity, access and inclusion are key indicators of excellence and success,” said Johnson.
Providing and sharing leadership in these areas is not new for Johnson, who has served two decades as the university’s affirmative action and equal employment opportunity officer (AAEEO), most recently in the role of associate vice president for human resources. Over the last 10 years, Johnson also has served as chair of the advisory committee on diversity and community values, the charge of which has been to foster a learning and working environment in which diversity, fairness, respect and personal and institutional integrity are valued. She organized the president’s community advisory committee on diversity for former presidents William Anderson and Richard Hurley, led the community-wide initiatives to establish a bias incident reporting protocol and helped spearhead the University adoption of the statement of guiding principles on diversity and inclusion. Most recently, Johnson has been co-chair of Paino’s task force on diversity and inclusion, and she continues to provide leadership for the implementation of its recommendations.
Johnson earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. She holds a juris doctorate from the College of William and Mary’s Marshall-Wythe School of Law and is a licensed member of the Virginia State Bar.
Creating a more diverse and inclusive University community is one of President Paino’s top priorities. He first outlined these priorities in a speech to the UMW community last August and elaborated more on them in Wednesday’s address. Other goals include promoting a culture of service and community,
re-imagining the liberal arts for the digital age, and immersing students in applied and impactful learning experiences.
Among his action steps, Paino proposed developing and implementing a dedicated office to coordinate, assess and provide accountability for University initiatives focused on diversity, inclusion, equity and access.
Other diversity and inclusion initiatives—which Johnson already is involved in—are: reinforcing the legacy of civil rights leader and former UMW Professor James Farmer; positioning the namesake James Farmer Multicultural Center as a thought leader for equity, access and diversity; creating a campus safe zone for students; and recruiting a more diverse faculty, staff, and student body.