Don C. Sawyer III named interim associate vice president of academic affairs

By on December 6, 2017

Photo courtesy of Quinnipiac University
Assistant professor of sociology Don C. Sawyer III was appointed the new associate vice president for academic affairs and chief diversity officer on Nov. 29 by Executive Vice President and Provost Mark Thompson.

Sawyer’s appointment comes as his predecessor, Diane Ariza, is leaving the university after being appointed as the vice president of diversity and inclusion at Nazareth College. Sawyer will serve in his new role while the university searches for a permanent replacement for Ariza.

Sawyer has been in the field of higher education for 18 years while working as a diversity trainer and conflict mediator.

Sawyer has served on the Faculty Senate, the College of Arts and Sciences Executive Committee and the Athletics Council, according to Thompson. Additionally, Sawyer was a student organization supervisor and on the Ad Hoc Committee on Racial and Ethnic Harassment.

As an applied sociologist, Sawyer has geared his work toward diversity. Sawyer works in the Greater New Haven community on urban public school projects and programs that support men that are re-entering society after serving time in prison.

“(Sawyer) is committed to being an agent of positive change, a model colleague and a genuine team member dedicated to realizing the Quinnipiac University mission and vision,” Thompson said.

Even though he will be taking on new responsibilities, Thompson is confident that Sawyer will be successful.

Thompson also expressed his gratitude for all that Ariza has done for the university.

“During her seven years at Quinnipiac, (Ariza) has displayed leadership and vision in helping the entire university community to define, enable and foster an inclusive campus culture that embraces the diversity of identities, ideas and values that embody Quinnipiac,” Thompson said.

Ariza is one of the creators of Quinnipiac’s Inclusion, Multiculturalism and Globalization in Education (IMaGinE) program. The program is one of Ariza’s many contributions to the Quinnipiac community.

“Through her oversight of the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement, she has facilitated and supported profound high-impact learning experiences, as well as mentorship and leadership development, for thousands of Quinnipiac students,” Thompson said.

Sawyer said he is honored to serve in his new role.“Dr. Ariza has laid a wonderful foundation and I hope to continue to push inclusive excellence forward at QU,” Sawyer said in a statement. “I have enjoyed working with QU students and I have made many wonderful connections… I am excited about my new role.”

Ariza plans to leave Quinnipiac for her new position on Jan. 2.

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