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Office of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Chief Diversity Officer & Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Diversity

Vernese Edghill-WaldenDr. Vernese Edghill-Walden joined Northern Illinois University in 2015 as our first chief diversity officer and senior associate vice president for academic diversity. In this esteemed role, she reports directly to the executive vice president and provost and is part of the president’s cabinet. 

She is responsible for coordinating university initiatives that improve access, academic equity, inclusion and professional development & training for faculty, staff and students. Her main goal is to improve upon the university’s commitment to be welcoming and inclusive to the diverse populations that call NIU and the DeKalb community home.

Over Dr. Edghill-Walden’s 25-year career, she has been committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. Prior to joining NIU, Dr. Edghill-Walden was the provost and chief academic officer of the City Colleges of Chicago where she was responsible for leading district-wide academic departments to enhance the quality of education for more than 120,000 City College of Chicago students. She spent 12 years as director of the Center for Black Culture at the University of Delaware followed by 3 years as director of diversity at Georgetown Day School before pursing her Ph.D. at Howard University. Dr. Edghill-Walden came to Chicago in 2007 as associate director of research and evaluation at Richard J. Daley College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. 

Born in Barbados, and raised in Brooklyn, New York and East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, Dr. Edghill-Walden holds a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University in sociology, a master’s degree from the University of Delaware in higher education administration, and a Ph.D. in sociology with a specialization in race, class and gender, social inequalities and urban sociology from Howard University. Dr. Edghill-Walden’s area of research is race and gender equity and black women’s career mobility, specifically in higher education.

Dr. Edghill-Walden is married, has one son and resides in DeKalb, IL. She and her family are delighted to be a part of the NIU community.

Honors & Awards

  • Recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King Service Award from the DePaul and CCC Adult Bridge Program
  • Recipient of the Bucknell University Multicultural Student Services Center’s Founders Award, Bucknell University, October 2012
  • Recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Service Award, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Nu Xi Chapter, University of Delaware Chapter, Newark, Delaware, February 2009
  • Selected as the 2006-2007 Graduate School Fellow, reporting to Dean of Graduate School

Professional & Graduate Memberships

  • Member, Chief Academic Officer Group, American Council on Education (ACE) 2014-Present
  • Member, National Association of Black Women in Higher Education, 2014-Present
  • Member, Association of Black Sociologists, 2003-Present
  • Member, National Association for Black Culture Centers, 1990 to 2000 

Contact Us

Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Office of the Provost
Altgeld Hall 215


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