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STANFORD -- Sally M. Dickson, associate dean for student affairs and lecturer at the Stanford Law School, has been named director of the university's Office of Multicultural Development, effective March 21.
At the Law School, Dickson has been responsible for a variety of services to more than 500 students - including academic, personal and career counseling - and oversight of minority recruitment, admission and retention.
Under her direction the past six years, the number of minority student applicants to the Law School has doubled from around 500 to 1,000 annually. This year, 23 percent of first-year law students are from targeted minorities, compared to 15 percent ten years ago.
"Sally Dickson had earned the respect, both personal and professional, of her colleagues," President Gerhard Casper said. "She has been praised for her remarkable sense of responsibility, her enthusiasm and her drive in her work at the Law School. We are fortunate to have her to apply those traits and her broad academic and administrative experience to this position."
Dickson succeeds acting director Judith Little, a 10-year veteran of the Office of Development who led the Office of Multicultural Development - formerly the Affirmative Action Office - on an interim basis after director Sharon Parker resigned in May.
During the interim, an ad hoc advisory committee chaired by History Professor Al Camarillo recommended that the office spend less time on student multicultural affairs and redirect attention toward its original mission: staff affirmative action.
"One of the things that attracted me to this position," Dickson said, "is that the office will refocus, as it did for many years, on affirmative action - so that we, as an institution, will have a clear understanding about what achievements we've had and what challenges are before us.
"The Camarillo Report also was absolutely correct to recommend that the office focus on staff issues, which I think was somewhat undefined before. At a time when all corporations and institutions of higher learning are going though changes, how those issues are addressed will be critical.
"There's no question that the Office of Multicultural Development has incurred changes during difficult times within the university," Dickson said. "The professionalism and commitment of the office staff members needs to be recognized, and I look forward to meeting and working with this excellent staff."
As director of the Office for Multicultural Development, Dickson will monitor and report data on universitywide hiring and promotion of employees who are African American, Asian American, Native American, Chicano/Latino, women or disabled. She also will analyze the data, advise university officials of affirmative action developments, and recommend appropriate actions and policies.
A native of Queens, N.Y., Dickson earned her bachelor's degree with honors from City University of New York, and a law degree from Rutgers University.
She served as academic dean at the new College of California School of Law and as assistant dean and lecturer at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco before coming to Stanford in 1988.
In addition to her student affairs work at the Law School, Dickson has taught courses on criminality and subordinated communities, the Los Angeles riots of 1965 and 1992, and a "Lawyering for Social Change" class that focused on the political and economic factors leading to group subordination. She will continue as a lecturer at the Law School, probably teaching one course a year.
Dickson has served three years as resident fellow in Stanford's African American theme house, Ujamaa, and two years as resident fellow at Lagunita West.
She also served as a member of the provost's Committee on Recruitment, Retention and Graduation of Targeted Minority Groups, and on the search committee for the vice president for student affairs.
Her professional affiliations include membership in the National Conference of Black Lawyers and membership on the boards of the Santa Clara County Bar Association and the San Francisco Legal Services Foundation. She also is the chair of the Board of Directors for the East Palo Alto Law Project, which provides free legal services to residents of East Palo Alto.
She is the mother of a teen-age son, Shaka, 16, and a daughter, Carmen, 13.
Luis Fraga, associate professor of political science, led the internal search committee that recommended Dickson for the position.
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