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Office of Access and Opportunity

Karen Kassebaum named ODEI director of diversity education and inclusive excellence

As part of the university’s commitment to fostering an inclusive learning and working environment, the University of South Carolina has named Karen Kassebaum, Ph.D., as the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’s director of diversity education and inclusive excellence.

Kassebaum will develop, plan and execute educational programming for faculty and staff that promotes understanding and engagement on issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

In this role, the director will serve as a strategic thought leader who builds, maintains and shares resources to increase capacity of the campus community to engage across differences.

“Dr. Kassebaum will bring a wealth of subject matter knowledge in the area of inclusive excellence and equity to the University of South Carolina,” said Julian R. Williams, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. “As we work to expand our professional development and educational framework centered around the creation of an inclusive campus, Dr. Kassebaum’s efforts will be essential.”

Kassebaum, a native of Chicago, earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Psychology and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Higher Education from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

“I am excited about the opportunity to collaborate across campus with faculty and staff on how we as individuals can educate ourselves to be a campus known nationally for inclusive excellence education,” Kassebaum said. “I am also looking forward to exploring how I can create and leverage partnerships to work collectively toward the diversity, belonging, equity, and inclusion values of the institution.” “I am most excited about lifting the voices of our current campus experts to expand our diversity of thought and education practices.” In closing Kassebaum stated that we will need to look at the needs of our institution and commit to learning and growing together.  

At the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Kassebaum serves as the assistant vice chancellor for Inclusive Leadership and Learning. She develops and coordinates efforts for institutional-wide diversity education while also developing resources for diverse staff talent searches, onboarding, retention and success.

Kassebaum is the founder and CEO of Athlete2Athlete, an organization that provides transitional mentoring and leadership development for student athletes. Kassebaum is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and the Omaha Chapter of The LINKs, Incorporated.

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