James C. Wimbush is Indiana University’s vice president for diversity, equity, and multicultural affairs; dean of The University Graduate School; and Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership.
Under his guidance, IU’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs (OVPDEMA) has prioritized the recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty, staff, and students and timely graduation of students. At the same time ensuring that Indiana University maintains a learning environment where people of all backgrounds can thrive while keeping a commitment to local and national outreach and advocacy.
Vice President Wimbush has helped IU garner national recognition for its efforts in diversity and inclusion in recent years, receiving such honors as:
- The Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award and Champion of Diversity award, presented by INSIGHT Into Diversity, the oldest and largest diversity publication in higher education
- The Institutional Excellence award from the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE)
- Campus Pride’s “Best of the Best” of the top-25 LGBTQ-friendly college campus in the U.S.
IU has also established numerous diversity and inclusion initiatives spearheaded by Vice President Wimbush, including:
- IU’s Antiracist Agenda, a thorough assessment and evaluation of the university, enhancing antiracist policies and practices
- IU’s Black Philanthropy Circle and IU’s Queer Philanthropy Circle, two initiatives designed to foster philanthropy and provide resources to improve the recruitment, retention, and degree attainment for students and the quality of professional life for faculty and staff on all IU campuses
- First Nations Leadership Ambassadors Council, an effort to better connect to and gain insight from the Native American community
For the 2019-2020 academic year, IU’s population of underrepresented minority students reached 26.5 percent. This progress is well above Indiana’s underrepresented population of 24.2 percent. Other significant milestones that have occurred during Vice President Wimbush’s tenure include:
- Establishment of the IU Racial Justice Research Fund providing grants for IU faculty, connecting researchers, and hosting ongoing “Racial Justice Research Workshop” series, in partnership with the Vice President for Research Fred Cate
- Administration of IU’s $1 million Pandemic Health Disparities Fund from the Office of the President focused on a broad range of wellness needs for students on all IU campuses, especially COVID-19’s impact on communities of color
- Management of a $1.6 million grant from the Office of Naval Research to train diverse STEM researchers in partnership with minority-serving institutions across the nation
- Facilitated IU’s first diversity assessment, conducted by the independent firm Halualani & Associates that has served as a baseline measurement and inform strategic planning efforts
- Establishment of a university-wide bias incident reporting system
Vice President Wimbush acquired his B.S. from Averett University and earned a master’s degree in human resources management and industrial and labor relations. He earned a Ph.D. in management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech). Since 1991, Vice President Wimbush has been a professor of business administration in IU Bloomington’s Kelley School of Business, where he has chaired several departments and received multiple teaching awards.