New VP of Mission, DEI and Student Engagement responds to calls for change

By Faith Pitsikoulis
May 3, 2021

Dr. Angela Campbell will return to Cabrini as the Vice President of Mission, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and Student Engagement.

Dr. Angela Campbell is the first VP of Mission, DEI and Student Engagement. Photo by Cabrini University.

The VP of Mission, DEI and Student Engagement, which is an expansion of the Vice President of Student Life role, is dedicated to supporting and uplifting diversity throughout the institution.  Even though Campbell starts her position on May 10, she already feels at home.

After receiving her doctorate from the urban education program at Temple University in 2013, Cabrini hired Campbell as a full-time assistant professor.  During her tenure from 2013-2018, Campbell developed the Center for Urban Education certificate program in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership, and served as the Assistant Dean in the School of Education. Her background dealing with issues of equity and education began while she was teaching English at an urban charter school in Philadelphia.  This is where Campbell noticed the various inequities that exist in urban education.

Cabrini’s mission is what brought her back to the institution.

“The mission of Cabrini is so in sync with my life purpose that work became effortless,” Campbell said.  “I always had opportunities at Cabrini to grow.  I was able to develop and become the coordinator of that certificate program.  Through the relationships that I’ve had at Cabrini, it only made sense for me to heed the call that came from DT [Dr. Donald Taylor, the university president] to serve in his cabinet – an extraordinary honor.  It’s a gift, and I know it’s a gift from God.  It’s the place where I was able to grow, develop and shine my light, and now lead.”

Campbell’s main goal is to translate the institution’s vision and values into how it serves its students.  Her hope is for all students to be fully engaged in academics, student life and in service to others.  She believes the first step in this process is supporting President Taylor’s vision and sharing her gifts with the school community.

Dr. Angela Campbell was an assistant professor at Cabrini from 2013-2018. Photo by Cabrini University.

“Equity and justice in education is a long-term initiative.  It’s a marathon race, not a sprint.  We are in a moment.  This is not forever and at this moment, decisions have been made in order to create room and space for longer-term success and sustainability of our programs.”

Campbell is referring to the recent cuts made to Black studies and Spanish as majors, along with many other cuts made to faculty and departments.  However, she made sure to mention the possibility of these majors returning in the future.  

“If the institution is able to attract new sources of revenue and interest in these programs, we could potentially sustain these cherished programs,” Campbell said.  “We’re at intersecting global and national crises: a global pandemic and a long-awaited reckoning to realize authentic racial equity and justice.  Tough decisions have been made.  I’m coming in to help us move forward with faith and trust in Cabrini’s mission as a gift to the world.  I’m going to work with what we have right now, and lean into this moment of renewal and possibility.  We have a great opportunity to confront our fears, remove our ignorance and heal our wounds.  Let’s bring out the best parts of ourselves in this work.  Let’s re-imagine better days ahead.  Let’s be the change we want to see, together.”

Diversity has the potential to be Cabrini’s biggest strength when facing the long road ahead.  With BIPOC students making up almost half of the student population, Cabrini can pave the way for universities across the nation.

“That’s a miracle.  I don’t know of many schools that can boast that statistic, and I want to start my leadership by saying this is a miracle in the United States.  In many schools, you know you don’t have real integrative racial diversity.  You have either majority this group, or majority that group.  Cabrini has a wonderful opportunity here.  We want more students to see and feel the power of inclusive excellence, the beauty, benefits and depth of real diversity, beyond tokenism, in an equitable, multi-racial democratic society.  Cabrini has, alongside its issues, extraordinary strengths.  Each one of us is a miracle walking with a story yet to be told!  I’m telling you Cabrini  will be a miracle on the hill that other schools will look up to and say, this is what an inclusive, multi racially just America really looks like,” Campbell said.

She is also urging the community to think about its diversity and how all members can learn and grow together, which requires recognizing when progress is being hindered and taking accountability for shortcomings with courage, humility, compassion and respect.  She leaves us with these words, “Let’s live, learn, teach, lead and love with purpose.”

Faith Pitsikoulis

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