LAWRENCE — Erin Duran has spent the last nine years doing diversity work. Now, he will bring his expertise to the University of Kansas, where he will serve as the assistant vice provost in the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB) beginning Aug. 16. The position will focus on staff initiatives and issues.
“Erin brings a great deal of knowledge, experience and compassion to this role,” said D.A. Graham, interim vice provost of diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging. “He will be an integral part of our DEIB office, and I have the utmost confidence that he will foster a community culture consistent with the values of DEIB and university strategic objectives for all staff.”
Duran, who will report to Graham in this role, will assist in leading institutional planning, implementation and assessment of goals and strategic priorities of KU as it pertains to diversity and inclusion as well as equity and belonging for staff. Duran will partner with the associate vice provost in faculty development and the assistant vice provost in student affairs to ensure collaboration and development of a campuswide approach to collectively benefit the entire university.
“I think it’s a unique opportunity to bring together some of the work I’ve been doing over the past five years,” Duran said. “I am really excited to have the chance to focus on supporting staff and seeking to advance goals around diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging with the staff population.”
Duran spent the previous five years as the director of gender and sexuality programs at Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. He was closely involved in staff advocacy efforts both in that role and as chair-elect of the staff council, the college’s staff advocacy body.
“I’ve been part of some really big wins as far as establishing more inclusive bereavement policies and parental leave policies for staff,” Duran said.
Duran will provide KU campus leaders and employees with the resources, training and strategies needed to achieve DEIB outcomes. He will develop and coordinate ongoing programs and initiatives to support and retain marginalized and underrepresented staff.
The first step, Duran said, will be to talk to staff members across campus in various roles to get a “well-rounded and holistic view” of what the staff experience looks like at KU. That perspective and the relationships he builds will be the springboard for Duran to contribute to positive change.
“Staff is so frequently left out of this,” Duran said. “It’s commonly focused on students and faculty. I’m excited to do that work and really engage with the staff community in this new and exciting way.”
“All too often when we talk about staff, we’re talking about a particular type of staff and not everyone that plays such vital roles on our campus,” he said. “All staff jobs are important. All those experiences need to be understood and spoken to in the work that DEIB is going to do.”
The incoming KU assistant vice provost has also spent the last two months as the interim dean of institutional equity and inclusion at Connecticut College. He’s also previously held positions at Syracuse University and Gettysburg College, where he oversaw efforts to expand the resources and opportunities of LGBTQ+ students at each university.
A first-generation college student, Duran received his master's of education in college student affairs from Pennsylvania State University and bachelor of arts in sociology with a concentration in gender and women studies from Grinnell College in Iowa.