Saint Martin’s announces John Hopkins, Ph.D., as new chief diversity officer

SMU Chief Diversity Officer

Saint Martin’s University has announced that John Hopkins, Ph.D., will be their new chief diversity officer. He will take this title effective January 1, 2022. The chief diversity officer is a new position at Saint Martin’s that will report to the president and the dean of students. As the chief diversity officer, he will help shape a holistic vision and initiatives on how Saint Martin’s realizes diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in all facets of university life. He will also serve as the university’s ambassador for DEI initiatives in partnerships with various on and off-campus constituents, specifically the South Puget Sound region and tribal nations.

“DEI is not accomplished through the efforts of one person,” says Dr. Hopkins.  “It requires all of us. My hope in this new role is to collaboratively envision and develop the strategies that help us live out our Benedictine, Catholic tradition more fully so every student feels a deep sense of belonging.”

Dr. Hopkins will continue his direct work with students and will collaborate with administrators, faculty, and staff to lead institutional change and educational effectiveness by cultivating organizational capacity for diversity, equity, inclusion, and equity-mindedness.

“We are excited for John to take on this new role to guide our community in these efforts,” said Saint Martin’s University President Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D. “The work of diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism is never-ending and requires that we all continue to work together. I hope all in our Saint Martin’s family will be engaged and remain committed to creating an environment where we truly live up to our Benedictine values of community, hospitality, listening, respect for persons, and justice.”

Dr. Hopkins has been a longtime advocate and mentor in the field of diversity and equity. He currently serves as an associate dean of students, the director of the Diversity and Equity Center (DEC), and as an adjunct faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is currently co-chairing the Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity (DEI) Committee this year, which is a newly established standing university committee composed of abbey members, students, staff, and faculty.

He first came to Saint Martin’s in 2006 to be the director of intercultural initiatives. Over the years, he has been instrumental in creating and managing programs of support for all our students, but especially students of historically underrepresented identities; programs that integrate a greater appreciation and understanding of our Benedictine values and Catholic social teaching in the college experience; and educational opportunities for students, faculty and staff to learn more about diversity and equity issues.

These programs have included the AHANA Orientation Program, the Benedictine Leadership Program, the Yakima service immersion trips, and the Breaking Bread lecture series. The AHANA (African-American/Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian-Pacific Islander, Native American) Orientation, which started in 2010 with 8 student mentors and 30 new students, has grown in impact each year: at this year’s orientation 18 student mentors welcomed 95 first-year students.

Dr. Hopkins is a citizen of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. His scholarship focuses on Indigenous education, policy, and philosophy. In his book, Indian Education for All: Decolonizing Indigenous Education in Public Schools (Teachers College Press, 2020), he critiques Native education policy reform in Montana State, proposing decolonizing learning as necessary strategies in pedagogical and curricula reform.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Seattle University, a master’s degree in philosophy from Marquette University, and a doctorate degree in the social and cultural foundations of education from the University of Washington.

In addition to the new chief diversity officer position, Saint Martin’s will also be adding a new position in the DEC. The new program manager of the DEC will assist in building community, developing programs, and providing resources, support and advocacy for students with historically underrepresented identities. This program manager will be an active contributor to the overall goals and responsibilities of the Office of Student Affairs and to the university’s strategic priorities related to DEI. More information about this new position will be shared in the coming months.

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