Rider names Lawrence its first-ever VP of diversity, equity and inclusion

Barbara Lawrence has been named Rider University‘s inaugural vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, and chief diversity officer, the school announced Tuesday.

Lawrence, who previously served in a similar role at Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C., will begin Sept. 13.

Lawrence is charged with leading Rider’s strategic direction as it relates to inclusive excellence. She will serve as a member of President Gregory Dell’Omo’s cabinet.

“The creation of this new senior leadership position represents an important step as we continue to grow our efforts to promote equity and inclusion in every aspect of our campus,” Dell’Omo said.

Lawrence said she welcomed the opportunity.

“I am excited to join the Rider community as we address critical issues of diversity, equity and inclusion together,” she said.

At Guilford, Lawrence developed the institution’s five-year strategic diversity, equity and inclusion plan and served as an associate professor in the criminal justice and community and justice studies programs. Prior to serving in that role, she was an associate dean of academic affairs and student administration and chair of the Justice and Policy Studies Department.

Dell’Omo said she is a perfect fit for the role.

“Barbara joins our university as a committed and student-focused leader with extensive background in issues related to equity, inclusion and diversity,” he said. “She will champion Rider’s strategic goals to proactively foster an inclusive learning and working climate where all students, staff and faculty have an opportunity to succeed.”

Prior to working in higher education, Lawrence spent 12 years as a police officer in the New York Police Department. Her criminal justice accomplishments include co-developing and implementing the first domestic violence unit; writing national law enforcement model domestic violence and cultural diversity training curricula; and preparing and conducting domestic violence training for employees, judges, attorneys and outside agencies.

Lawrence received a Juris Doctorate from Indiana University School of Law, a Master of Public Administration in public policy and criminal justice from Indiana University-Purdue University and a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She is certified as a Title IX coordinator and investigator.