Communications faculty named interim leader for RIT’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion

Associate professor Keith Jenkins begins appointment June 1

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Keith Jenkins

Keith Jenkins, director of Undergraduate Programs in the College of Liberal Arts at Rochester Institute of Technology, has been appointed interim vice president and associate provost for Diversity and Inclusion at the university. The associate professor of communication will take on the new role beginning June 1.

Jenkins, who came to RIT in 1992, has been recognized with numerous awards in both teaching and diversity initiatives including the 2010 Eisenhart Award, given for outstanding teaching; the 2004 RIT Diversity Trailblazer award; and in 2005 he was the recipient of RIT’s Isaac L. Jordan Pluralism Award for his commitment to diversity on and off campus. His research work focuses on intercultural communication, political and visual rhetoric and most recently, includes a study of the impact of race on rhetoric and an analysis of the public speeches of President Barack Obama.

Jenkins will replace Kevin McDonald, who held the diversity leadership position since 2010 and will be taking on a similar role with the University of Missouri.

“Keith also served as RIT’s first Assistant Provost for Diversity from 1999 to 2002 and now he will serve the university again in this very important way,” said RIT President Bill Destler. “My thanks and best wishes go out to both Keith and Kevin for their service to our community. I know Kevin will go on to do great things in Missouri. At the same time, Keith will begin his leadership with a program that is poised to move forward with a capable leader.”

Plans for a national search for a permanent diversity officer are pending.