UNLV is pleased to announce the appointment of Barbee Oakes, Ph.D., as chief diversity officer to lead its office of diversity initiatives, effective Sept. 1.
“Dr. Oakes brings to UNLV a wealth of leadership experience in the area of diversity and inclusion in higher education,” said Diane Chase, UNLV executive vice president and provost. “She was the driving force in developing successful diversity initiatives at her former institution, where she became its first chief diversity officer and served as assistant provost for diversity and inclusion. We are eager to welcome her to join us in our efforts to foster diversity and inclusion at UNLV.”
Oakes comes to UNLV from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she additionally had served as director for Wake Forest’s office of multicultural affairs and as coordinator of the undergraduate health and exercise science majors programs.
Oakes’ work at Wake Forest earned her several national awards and recognition, including being named in 2012 as one of 25 Women Making a Difference in Higher Education by Diverse Issues in Higher Education Magazine.
“Cross-cultural leadership has been named the top leadership challenge for the next century,” Oakes said. “With the second-most diverse student body in the nation, UNLV is a model of the future demographic diversity of America. I am passionately committed to working with President Len Jessup and Provost Diane Chase to cultivate a campus culture that leverages the unique diversity of the UNLV community as a competitive advantage.”
As the chief diversity officer at UNLV, Oakes said she plans to develop a strategic plan for diversifying the professoriate, strengthening cross-cultural leadership skills, and promoting equity in institutional policies and practices to maintain a campus climate that engenders a sense of belonging for every member of the UNLV community.
UNLV boasts more than 52 cultural, ethnic, and religious-based student organizations, and has received a Minority-Serving Institution designation from the U.S. Department of Education. UNLV additionally meets the requirements as an Asian-American- and Native-American-, Pacific Islander-Serving Institution.
Oakes holds a doctorate in exercise physiology and nutrition from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She was the first African-American female with a doctorate in the American College of Sports Medicine. Oakes holds a master’s degree in exercise physiology and a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science, both from Wake Forest University.