Dr. Kenneth Coopwood hired as VP for diversity and inclusion

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dr. Ken CoopwoodDr. Kenneth “Ken” Coopwood Sr., has been named Missouri State University’s first permanent vice president for diversity and inclusion. He begins his duties Oct. 1.

Coopwood comes to Missouri State after eight years at Indiana University Northwest in Gary, Ind., where he was director of diversity programming, assistant to the chancellor and an adjunct faculty member in the School of Education.

“We are very pleased Ken has accepted our offer to be our first permanent person in this role,” said Missouri State Interim President Clif Smart. “He has the right combination of talent, experience and interpersonal skill to help us achieve our diversity goals. We look forward to having him join our team.”

Coopwood will have responsibility for a reorganized unit that includes the office for institutional equity and compliance, multicultural student services (which includes TRIO Student Services), the Multicultural Resource Center and the Disability Resource Center.

Coopwood, who will be paid $112,000, replaces Dr. Leslie Anderson, who had served as the interim vice president since August 2010. Anderson will remain available until Dec. 31 as part of the transition and orientation before returning to the faculty full time Jan. 1, 2012.

In a related move, effective Sept. 1, H. Wesley “Wes” Pratt will become the permanent equal opportunity officer and director of the office for institutional equity and compliance. He had served as interim since Feb. 1. Pratt’s salary will be $75,000.

“Wes has proven himself to be a valuable asset as the equal opportunity officer,” said Smart. “He has strong commitments both to Missouri State and to the community of Springfield, which is important. I am very pleased he has accepted the position on a permanent basis.”

Coopwood received three degrees from Indiana State University: B.S. in business administration in 1988; Master of Public Administration in 1992; and Ph.D. in Educational Administration, Leadership and Foundations in 2000. He is a product of the AASCU Millenium Leadership Institute and the Harvard University Institute for Higher Education.

Prior to joining Indiana University Northwest, Coopwood worked nine years from 1994-2003 for his alma mater in various roles in diversity, affirmative action, judicial programs, athletics marketing and the African American Cultural Center. Prior to that, he worked at Indiana Purdue University Fort Wayne.

During his career, Coopwood has received a number of awards, including the Shining Star of Leadership Award in 2009, the Diversity Advocate Award in 2000 and the Multicultural Program Award in 1998. His work has received national recognition by U.S. News and World Report and the Student African American Brotherhood for student retention and development of minority males. In 2010, IU Northwest was nationally recognized for its breadth of diversity programs.

“I was honored to return home and serve the community that provided my personal and professional foundation,” said Coopwood.  “I trust that my presence was valuable to those I was privileged to serve.”

Pratt was named the diversity outreach coordinator for the office of the provost at Missouri State in 2007. He obtained his Juris Doctorate degree from San Diego Law School, San Diego, Calif., and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Drury University.

Pratt formerly served as deputy director of the Maryland Job Corp Centers, where he administered and managed a statewide career and youth development program. Prior to that, he served as director of the California Conservation Corps in Sacramento, Calif.; as a law partner in the firm of Kemp & Pratt in San Diego, Calif.; and on the San Diego City Council.

Both appointments are subject to formal approved by the Board of Governors, which is expected to occur at the Oct. 28 meeting.

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