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Nsombi Ricketts to Leave The Graduate School

Modified: February 27, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

It is with mixed emotions that I inform you that Nsombi B. Ricketts will leave TGS on March 31, 2017 to become Assistant Provost for Diversity and Inclusion in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at Northwestern. Nsombi will begin her new appointment in the Office of the Provost on April 3, 2017.

Nsombi joined TGS in 2014 as our Assistant Dean of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. During her time with us, Nsombi implemented a new diversity recruitment strategy that led to the most diverse PhD class in Northwestern’s history in fall 2015, when 16% of incoming PhD students identified as being an underrepresented minority student. Nsombi enhanced major TGS diversity initiatives such as the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP), the Early Admission Decision Program (EADP), and Introduction to Graduate Education at Northwestern (IGEN), and launched a new format for the annual TGS Diversity Report. In 2016, Nsombi further developed TGS’s diversity, inclusion, and retention strategy: her team hosted quarterly Diversity Celebrations, they launched the TGS Diversity Peer Mentor Program, they administered the Mellon Foundation HSI Pathways to the Professoriate grant, and they established the 15th chapter of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society at Northwestern. 

In her new role as Assistant Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Nsombi will provide strategic support and management of the daily operations for Northwestern’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (OIDI). Reporting to Jabbar R. Bennett, PhD, Associate Provost and Chief Diversity Officer, Nsombi will support the development and implementation of the OIDI diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy, collaborate with institutional leadership and external stakeholders to promote a culture of equity and inclusion, manage the OIDI marketing and communications strategy, and lead efforts to create a diverse and inclusive environment for all Northwestern students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners.  

A search for the next leader for the Office of Diversity & Inclusion in TGS will begin immediately. We will be engaging faculty, student, and staff representation from the graduate community in that process as it moves ahead.

Northwestern is fortunate to be retaining Nsombi, who is also a SESP undergraduate alumna, as I know she will continue her outstanding work toward fostering a diverse and inclusive community here. Though I will miss working as closely with her, I know she will continue to serve our graduate community in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. Please join me in congratulating her on her new role.

With Warm Regards,

Dwight A. McBride, PhD
Dean of The Graduate School & Associate Provost for Graduate Education
Daniel Hale Williams Professor of African American Studies, English & Performance Studies

From the Dean