Chautauqua Names First-Ever Senior Vice President and Chief Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Officer
Following a national search, Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill today announced the appointment of Amit Taneja as Chautauqua’s first-ever Senior Vice President and Chief Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Officer. In this role, Taneja will oversee the development of organization and community programs, services, operations, trainings, procedures and policies to ensure that inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility are integral to all that is Chautauqua Institution. As Chief IDEA Officer, he will also collaborate with staff, patrons and other community stakeholders across Chautauqua to infuse IDEA principles throughout the Institution and into the planning and development of all its programs across the Institution’s four pillars of the arts, education, recreation and religion. He will jointly serve a role as a Senior Vice President of the Institution, providing overall leadership assistance in support of Chautauqua’s strategic plan.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to have attracted such a highly qualified and passionate team member to shepherd our commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility in all that Chautauqua is and does,” Hill said. “I am deeply grateful to the search committee that considered many highly qualified applicants and candidates for this role. The response to this employment offering speaks to a growing enthusiasm for Chautauqua’s mission and the opportunities that an enhanced focus on IDEA can bring to our mission.”
“I am honored to join the Chautauqua community at this pivotal moment, and am eager to partner with patrons, staff, board members and the larger Chautauqua County community to collectively advance the institution toward its IDEA goals,” Taneja said. “I have visited Chautauqua Institution on a few different occasions and felt a strong sense of mission resonance during every single visit. Chautauqua is uniquely positioned to help create the dialogue and tools that will help heal our divides, and I am grateful to do this work in community with others.”
Taneja has eight years of experience serving as a Chief Diversity Officer at two selective liberal arts institutions. He currently serves as the Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. There, he provides leadership for a number of institutional priorities, including faculty and staff hiring, curriculum development, and the creation and implementation of the institution’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan and the Anti-Racism Action Plan. His areas of responsibility include the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Office of International Students, and Academic Services and Learning Resources. In addition, he works closely with several offices across the institution through a dotted line structure, including the Offices of Admissions, Alumni Relations, Multicultural Education, Assessment, and Human Resources. He recently co-authored a free public resource titled “How to write an anti-racism action plan: A self-paced guidebook” that is currently being used at more than 50 colleges, non-profits, faith-based institutions, and schools.
Born and raised in India, Taneja migrated with his family to Canada in 1994. He is a first-generation college student and completed a B.A. in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, and an M.A. in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University. He is ABD (all but dissertation) status in the Higher Education doctoral program at Syracuse University. His research focuses on the intersections of race, class, gender and sexual orientation for LGBT students of color on historically white college campuses.
Taneja previously served as the Chief Diversity Officer at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. He has taught academic courses in Sociology, Women’s Studies, First Year Forum, and the Summer Start program at Syracuse University. He has facilitated numerous intergroup dialogues on race, gender, and sexual orientation. He has worked professionally in residence life, disability services, multicultural affairs, LGBT resources, and as a Special Assistant on Equity to the Senior Vice-Provost. A Certified Affirmative Action Professional (C.A.A.P.), Taneja serves as a consultant and speaker on a range of leadership, diversity and inclusion topics. He recently completed a three-year term as the President and Co-Chair of the Liberal Arts Diversity Officers Consortium.
Amit enjoys gardening, flying kites, and making bowties, and he is a techno DJ with his own podcast. He put his bowtie-making efforts on hold during the pandemic and made and donated more than 200 masks to essential workers, those working in health care facilities, and those at higher risk of COVID-19.
Taneja begins his tenure at Chautauqua on May 17. His office will be located at the Colonnade on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution.
The search process for this position was managed by the firm Isaacson, Miller.
Photo by Tom Rettig
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