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Stanford Report, May 17, 2000

Sally Dickson leaving to become vice president at Duke

Sally Dickson, director of campus relations, is leaving June 30 to take the position of vice president for institutional equity at Duke University, Duke announced Monday.

"It was a tough decision. What I have enjoyed most about my 12 years here at Stanford is the people I have worked with," Dickson said. "Stanford has been my home. It's an incredible institution. I'm leaving not only colleagues for whom I have the greatest admiration, but I feel like I'm leaving my family."

Dickson has been at Stanford since 1988. From 1988 to 1995, she was associate dean of student affairs at the School of Law and in 1995 she was named director of the Office for Multicultural Development. In 1997, her position was expanded and she was named director of campus relations, a post encompassing five offices: the Office for Multicultural Development, the Sexual Harassment Policy Office, the WorkLife Office, the Ombudsman's Office and the Help Center.

"For twelve years, Sally has served Stanford ­ first at the Law School and then in the Office of Campus Relations ­ with distinction, professionalism and grace," President Gerhard Casper said. "As an institution, we will miss her thoughtful guidance and enthusiastic leadership. As an individual, I will miss her collegial counsel and her warm friendship. I wish her all the best as she takes on the challenges and opportunities afforded by her new position at Duke."

In a press release, Duke President Nannerl O. Keohane said Dickson's "commitment to the values of inclusiveness and diversity, and to making sure that all members of the university community are treated with respect, plus her vision and experience, make Sally an ideal choice for this important leadership position at Duke."

Her appointment there follows a yearlong national search.

Besides holding a variety of positions at Stanford, Dickson was a resident fellow for four years at Lagunita West and three years at Ujamaa.

"While I have mixed emotions, I must say I'm excited about Duke University. It too is an incredible institution that really has a commitment to diversity," she said.

Dickson's duties there will be somewhat similar, but she also will deal with issues of faculty diversity as well as have oversight over affirmative action and related issues at Duke's three hospitals, she said.

At Stanford, Dickson has helped the president, provost and other senior managers address diversity issues. She also has been a resource for staff on those issues, and under her watch there has been an increase in the number of minorities in staff positions. The university still has a challenge in increasing the number of minorities in senior staff positions, she added.

Dickson said that her approach to diversity issues is one of "being respectful of our differences but also for people to explore and realize that we have similarities, too." She cited the multicultural spring festival, which brings together members of a variety of ethnic staff groups, as a concrete example of that approach.

She said she also has been a resource "for our students of color who do have a different experience here. When we're talking about the hard issues, through various dialogue groups I've had with students of color and police, with faculty, staff and students talking to managers, [we see] that the issue of race and class and culture and gender are socialized. It's learned behavior and there's a process of unlearning that. . . . What I think I have done is to get people to at least start addressing the issue. But it's a continuum, and I have faith Stanford will continue with it because it is committed to diversity." SR