Release Date: October 3, 2023
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Seval Yildirim, vice president for diversity initiatives and chief diversity officer at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has been named vice provost for inclusive excellence at the University at Buffalo.
UB President Satish K. Tripathi and Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs A. Scott Weber announced Yildirim’s appointment, effective Nov. 20, in a campuswide email today (Oct. 3).
The vice provost for inclusive excellence serves as UB’s chief diversity officer, reporting jointly to the president and to the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.
“As a university committed to achieving social justice in all of our endeavors, we are delighted to welcome a scholar and leader with such an impressive record of advancing equity and inclusivity in higher education,” Tripathi said. “I have every confidence that Professor Yildirim, in this critical role, will harness her experience and creative vision to ensure that we continue translating our most cherished values into action and build upon UB’s reputation as a welcoming scholarly community that celebrates, and thrives on, our diversity of backgrounds, cultures and lived experiences.”
Enhancing campus diversity and promoting a university-wide culture of equity and inclusion are critical to UB’s goal of becoming one of the Top 25 public institutions in the nation. Within this context, Yildirim will lead and enable UB’s efforts to further develop a culture of equity and inclusion across all units of the university.
She will be responsible for assessing current initiatives and shaping a unified, comprehensive strategy for inclusive excellence that is aligned with UB's mission and universitywide efforts to continue to cultivate innovation in the inclusive excellence space.
Weber and Tripathi noted that Yildirim brings to UB extensive administrative experience in equity, diversity and inclusion, including in the areas of recruiting and retaining faculty and students from underrepresented groups, promoting inclusive pedagogy and classrooms, and building high school-to-university pipelines.
“As vice provost, Professor Yildirim will play a key role in partnering with UB’s other senior leaders, unit diversity officers, and academic and academic support units across campus to further UB’s goals around inclusive excellence,” they wrote.
“She will oversee the Office of Inclusive Excellence, which is responsible for leading, enabling and monitoring UB’s efforts to institutionalize the culture of equity and inclusion university-wide to build campus diversity, enhance teaching and scholarship, increase cultural understanding, and foster a welcoming campus environment.”
At UNLV, Yildirim is responsible for aligning and expanding the university’s EDI-related initiatives to promote student, faculty and staff success. She oversees the Office of Diversity Initiatives, the Intersection: Academic Multicultural Resource Center, the First Gen Network and the Undocumented Student Program.
During her tenure at UNLV, she has led efforts to increase faculty diversity in STEM fields, and has worked on forming the University Council of Inclusive Excellence, forming the Native American Taskforce, and helping create a taskforce to make recommendations on addressing microaggressions and bullying.
In addition to her role as chief diversity officer at UNLV, Yildirim is a professor of interdisciplinary studies and law, focusing on secularism, religion and state relations and individual rights in liberal democracies. She also served as pro bono counsel and legal consultant on various individual rights cases across the United States.
“I am so excited to join the UB community and return to New York. I have known UB to be an outstanding research university, and I am looking forward to working with colleagues across the university and the community at large on continuing to build a campus that is an inclusive and nurturing environment for all,” says Yildirim. “I am so impressed by all the diversity, equity and inclusion work that has already been accomplished at UB, and know that I will have an enthusiastic campus community supporting me as we continue to advance inclusive excellence at UB.”
Prior to UNLV, Yildirim was associate vice provost for faculty affairs and development and co-chief diversity officer at California State University, San Bernardino. A professor of law at Whittier College prior to joining CSUSB, Yildirim has also held visiting faculty positions at Harvard, UC Berkeley, Villanova University, and New York University.
Yildirim holds a JD and LLM from New York University School of Law, an MA in international affairs from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University and a BA from Randolph-Macon Woman's College.