The Division of Student Affairs announced Tuesday morning that Interim Director of Multicultural Student Services Norris Chase would be promoted to be the first executive director of Diversity and Inclusion.
Chase said the news both humbled and excited him.
“It’s a blessing,” he said. “I’m still surprised that I get paid to do what I do…I’m just so genuinely excited.”
Student Senate Vice President of Diversity Affairs Jay Mehta said he was “overjoyed” with the hiring of Chase.
“Through his previous position, he propelled Bradley in the direction of not only accepting each other’s cultures, but also educating the community on the importance of understanding different cultures to promote the inclusion of one another,” Mehta said. “No matter what position, Norris will keep planning different events and keep open communication lines between the community and himself to further students’ understanding of diversity.”
With the announcement of Chase’s appointment also comes the change in name from Multicultural Student Services to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
“The [current] name has a lot of stigma that comes with it, and in addition, we did not capitalize as well as we could have on it,” Chase said. “This rebranding gives us a different approach to achieving our goals…Diversity and inclusion is so wide and is an umbrella that gives us new connection possibilities with students. It’s a new brand, a new approach, a new energy [and] a new beginning.”
Chase said one of his primary goals is to improve the student experience through enhanced storytelling.
“We have to do a better job at documenting what we do,” he said. “It’s all about the student experience, capitalizing on it and allowing [students] to tell their stories.”
A week named for Bradley’s first African-American professor Romeo B. Garrett was one example Chase had to illustrate goals for future projects.
“Our office hosts a Garrett Week [every year] in the third week of April,” he said. “[The week has] a list of activities and programs that celebrate [Garrett’s] legacy and ideals. He had such an appreciation for diversity, culture and inclusiveness, especially in a time where he could have gotten hurt for doing that stuff.”
Chase said this week often goes unnoticed in the campus community, and as executive director, he plans to empower students to help him promote greater inclusivity and appreciation for culture on campus through activities such as Garrett Week.
He also said he is looking forward to getting to work on motivating others alongside himself to focus on the office’s number one priority: the student experience.
Vice President of Student Affairs Nathan Thomas said he is excited about the future with Chase at the helm.
“I look forward to working with Norris in this new capacity and to begin the implementation of his many ideas in creating a renewed focus to this important area,” Thomas said.
Chase said the students are the reason he does what he does, and he is honored to be able to serve them and the campus alike.
“The supportive community of Bradley is something that I’ve benefited from and also grown from,” he said. “My professional experience has been shaped by Bradley, and so coming from where I come from, being in a place where people appreciate you but also challenge you is something that I can’t tell you how much I appreciate.”
Chase’s new role took effect April 1.