Professor Floyd Cheung Named Vice President for Equity & Inclusion
May 29, 2019
Dear students, staff and faculty:
At the end of the spring semester, we were in the closing stages of our search for a new vice president for equity and inclusion. I thank all of you who participated in meetings and forums with the finalists and provided thoughtful feedback to me and the search committee.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we did not fill the position.
Rather than continuing the search, I have made the decision to invest in the talent within our own community. Floyd Cheung, professor of English language and literature and of American Studies and director of the Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning, has accepted my invitation to serve as Smith’s next vice president for equity and inclusion, effective July 1. Many other institutions have pursued Floyd for positions in inclusion and equity because of his experience in—and passion for—this work. I could not be more pleased to have such a widely respected and committed leader for Smith in this role.
A 20-year member of the Smith community, Floyd teaches and publishes in American literature, American studies and Asian American literature and culture. He is a member of the Five College Asian/Pacific/American Studies Certificate Program, for which he served as the founding chair. In his five years directing the Sherrerd Center, he has focused the Center’s programming on inclusive teaching, by offering panels, workshops and training in such topics as power and privilege in the classroom; by engaging students as partners in teaching and learning; and by promoting the importance of microaffirmation and microresistance. In my conversations with Floyd about the position, he told me “I have been studying race as it intersects with class, gender, and other registers of identity for most of my life. I have been incredibly fortunate to think about this topic through the lens of literature with the fierce and creative students of Smith since 1999. Without consciously planning it, I find myself prepared to answer your call to do the work of promoting equity and inclusion across all sectors of our campus community.”
Before finalizing Floyd’s appointment, I asked him to meet with the search committee and my Cabinet to ensure he heard the community’s needs and aspirations regarding inclusion at this time in Smith’s history. The feedback I received from these groups confirmed that Floyd has the support he will need to create a community in which everyone feels a sense of true belonging.
When classes resume in the fall, I will host a reception for Floyd to welcome him to his new role. An important aspect of Floyd’s initial work will be ensuring momentum on needs and challenges identified through our Inclusion in Action conference and by students advocating for marginalized groups. He will also chair the planning of our Otelia Cromwell Day celebrations.
In closing, please join me in thanking the search committee—Cowiya Arouna ‘21, Matilda Cantwell, Deanna Dixon, Samantha Earp, Amy Hunter, Eseza Kironde ’20, Mona Kulp, Bill Peterson, Danielle Ramdath and Maria Torres—for their commitment, dedication and wise counsel. I am truly grateful for their work.