After a summer of unprecedented discussions on diversity and inclusion, Rowland Hall leaders felt it wasn’t enough for students to talk about these events in class. The institution decided to apply these discussions and find resources to invest in a new director of equity and inclusion position.
Rowland Hall has hired Dr. Chandani Patel as its first director of equity and inclusion. She will join the school community on July 1.
In this endowed role—made possible by a $2.4 million donation from the Cumming Family Foundation—Dr. Patel will support Rowland Hall’s core value of welcoming everyone and elevate the school’s longstanding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). She will serve in this full-time, permanent position to advance the diversity and inclusion work of the school.
“The search committee was drawn to Dr. Patel’s focus on building communities of belonging where members feel safe to learn and grow together,” said Head of School Mick Gee.
Dr. Patel has taught and written extensively on how concepts of race, identity and belonging shift across places, languages and cultures. She has spent the last 10 years advancing DEI initiatives across a number of institutions, most recently as the director for global diversity education at New York University (NYU). Dr. Patel holds a PhD from the University of Chicago, where she studied comparative literature with a focus on South Asian and African literatures, and an MA in humanities and social thought and a BA in comparative literature, both from NYU.
“I believe deeply in relationship building across a community,” said Dr. Patel. “I look forward to being part of a community where all voices are represented so that we can work towards building an inclusive teaching and learning environment for all students, faculty, staff and families.”