Carol E. Henderson Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion |Chief Diversity Officer | Adviser to the President

Portrait of Carol Henderson

Contact Information


As I enter the Emory community, I recognize that we are at a crucial intersection in the university’s journey. “One Emory,” the powerful metaphor fueling our strategic framework, One Emory: Engaged for Impact, does not mean “same Emory,” so how do we align our ongoing efforts regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion with this vision?

It was heartening to me that my position was created not just by leadership but also by the community, whose members had substantial input into the work that my office will now do. My arrival is therefore a community arrival, which is a wonderful way to enter a new space.

The first thing I will set in motion are a series of dialogues that will help us define diversity, inclusion, and access so that we go forward with shared understandings. With the help of an advisory board consisting of key stakeholders from across the university, we will inventory current practices and challenge ourselves to articulate what more should be done to align our work on inclusion, diversity, and equity with our institutional goals, principles, and values.

Diversity and inclusion, to me, will never be about numbers or ticking off boxes. We think that we have achieved the goal when we make our environments diverse, but that is the second step. First, we need to prepare our campus to receive community members in ways that allow people to bring their “whole selves.” So, inclusion is about creating space in which faculty, staff, and students can thrive, where they feel appreciated and can see themselves in the images, traditions, and culture of the campus community.

With regard to faculty and their central role in our drive to eminence, we must look again at how we hire and professionally develop our professoriate. By examining the climate in our departments and looking anew at our promotion-and-tenure processes, curricula, and professional-development opportunities, we can identify ways to develop principles and methods of professional engagement in the professoriate that support, create, and cultivate a more equitable and diverse faculty.

I plan to engage our broader community on and off campus. Our location in Atlanta provides a valuable geographical endowment that we must live up to, becoming more fully in practice who we say we are. In short, I and others will build bridges of access, partner, and leverage Emory’s resources in order to transform communities that might be a block or a world away.

One Emory affords us the opportunity to reflect on its most critical premise—that we abandon our silos and take fuller advantage of the rich intellectual capital we have in each other. In the visits I already have had around campus, the interest in realizing diversity, equity, and inclusion at Emory is palpable. I look forward to capitalizing on this momentum. 

I am on a journey of discovery in this first year, one that I am undertaking with support at so many levels because we recognize that we cannot, as an institution, achieve preeminence without being inclusive, equitable, and diverse. At the end of this academic year, I will consider our efforts a success if we have created a community vision to address the three themes that have been constant in the conversations I have had thus far—climate and culture practices that lead to real inclusion; professional-development and education awareness around intercultural competencies in classrooms, curricula, and workspaces; and better accountability mechanisms.

Selected Career Milestones

  • As inaugural vice provost for diversity at University of Delaware (UD), I developed and led the implementation of Inclusive Excellence: An Action Plan for Diversity
  • Partnered with the UD Faculty Senate Diversity and Inclusion and Education committees to develop stronger criteria for the multicultural requirement recertification process, and a diversity module was added to the First Year Experience seminar
  • Created an Inclusive Excellence Post Doc Fellow to work closely with me to advance the directives in the Inclusive Excellence plan. The program served as a means of diversifying the administrative pipeline for those committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Co-winner of the 2017 Diversity and Inclusion Gold Award, Delaware Society for Human Resource Management
  • UD received the 2017 and 2018 INSIGHT into Diversity HEED Award


BA, University of California–Los Angeles
MA, California State University of Dominguez Hills
PhD, University of California–Riverside



I constantly return to the idea that I am a product of a family and community. I cannot separate myself from that. We, as an Emory family, have to embrace those same connections, those same dependencies and strengths.