University to Enhance Title IX, Equal Opportunity, Inclusion Resolution Resources
In an effort to provide the best possible support and service to students, faculty and staff, the University announced today it is conducting a national search for the position of associate vice president and Chief Equal Opportunity Officer and appointing a new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator. Both steps are being taken as the University seeks to enhance the capabilities and resources of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Inclusion Resolution Services.
The Chief Equal Opportunity Officer will oversee the independent office that serves as an expert resource to the entire campus community. The position will report to Senior Vice President Andy Gordon, as part of his portfolio and will be independent from the Division of Human Resources.
Among the responsibilities of the office are to provide reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities; to handle Title IX, discrimination and harassment investigations; and to ensure University compliance with ADA, affirmative action laws and other federal mandates. Along with the existing staff in the office and the new Chief Equal Opportunity Officer, additional personnel will be hired to support investigations, professional development and training for faculty, staff and students.
Current Director of Equal Opportunity and Inclusion Sheila Johnson-Willis has been appointed interim Chief Equal Opportunity Officer and Title IX Officer, while the University conducts the national search. Johnson-Willis provides guidance and support to University leadership on matters of equal opportunity, affirmative action and anti-discrimination. For the last 12 years, Johnson-Willis has worked in the public and private sectors, with experience as the director and Title IX coordinator at Indiana State University and Colgate University. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Albion College in Albion, Mich., and a J.D. from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich.
“It is an honor to serve in this important and valuable role for Syracuse University,” says Johnson-Willis. “Since my arrival, I have continued to be moved by the commitment to equal opportunity and inclusion shared by our students, faculty, staff and administrators throughout the University. I look forward to the opportunity to broaden our efforts through further collaboration and innovation.”
Gordon also appointed Aaron Hodukavich as the University’s new ADA coordinator. Hodukavich has more than seven years of experience advocating for equal opportunity, access and inclusion for individuals with disabilities in employment and education. Since January 2012, he has managed the disability services office at Clark College in Vancouver, Wash. There, he serves as ADA coordinator and sits on a number of institutional committees and community task forces.
Prior to his time in higher education, Hodukavich worked at a variety of nonprofit organizations focused on disability rights and practiced special education law in the state of Oregon. He earned a J.D. from Howard University School of Law, where he was a Merit Scholar and the recipient of multiple awards for academic excellence. He will begin on Aug. 3.
“I am so pleased that Sheila has agreed to step into this interim role because her expertise and knowledge of the University will be instrumental as we bring additional resources into this area. Equally, I am excited that Aaron has chosen to join the University and provide significant expertise in the area of disability support to our community,” says Gordon. “I am confident the entire campus community will benefit from the additional resources we are creating in this critical area.”