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Scales-Ferguson named to lead institutional equity efforts

Office of Institutional Equity takes shape

Chalana Scales-Ferguson, JD

Chalana M. Scales-Ferguson has been named associate vice chancellor of institutional equity at Washington University in St. Louis, announced Scot Bemis, vice chancellor for human resources and institutional equity.

In this new role, Scales-Ferguson will oversee universitywide programs, services and initiatives that positively move the needle on fostering equal opportunity for all staff and faculty. Her appointment begins Monday, March 20.

As associate vice chancellor, Scales-Ferguson plans to support the mission of WashU by overseeing institutional compliance with equal-opportunity laws and practices and by working to strengthen a culture that supports a safe and nondiscriminatory living, learning and working environment for faculty and staff.

“Chalana’s appointment comes at a pivotal time for WashU as we work toward implementation of our strategic plan that focuses on creating an inclusive, equitable community that is nurturing and intellectually rigorous,” Bemis said. “Chalana embodies values that will help us achieve our goal of safe learning and working environments and provide support to our faculty and staff members to help them thrive both personally and professionally.”

Scales-Ferguson, who recently earned a Certified Diversity Executive certification, comes to WashU from Saint Louis University (SLU), where she served as the director of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging for the Chaifetz School of Business. Prior to her role at SLU, she worked at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law; previously, she worked in government and private law practices. Scales-Ferguson earned a juris doctorate and a certificate in employment law from SLU School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. 

‘Valued, supported and primed for growth’

“I am grateful and elated for the opportunity to further Washington University’s mission around institutional equity for faculty and staff in this role that meets at the intersection of my background in higher education, diversity, equity and inclusion, and employment law,” Scales-Ferguson said. “I am excited to have a role in shaping and influencing policies and processes, as well as aiding in the mitigation of risks, thereby having a positive impact on the employee experience and contributing to a work environment where employees feel valued, supported and primed for growth and development.”

Scales-Ferguson resides in Florissant with her husband, Lathon, and their dogs, Huey and Cano. She has two adult daughters, Jazmyn and Raevyn, who is set to graduate from Arts & Sciences in May.

Institutional equity office growing

The university’s Office of Institutional Equity is taking shape. 

“WashU is excited to stand up the Office of Institutional Equity that will be dedicated to advancing WashU’s commitment to fair and equitable treatment of all members of the university community in employment and educational opportunities by providing consultative, investigative and educational services,” said Shantay N. Bolton, executive vice chancellor and chief administrative officer. “The top priorities are ensuring equity, increasing diversity, promoting inclusion and maintaining a harassment-free environment.” 

Gillian Boscan, a consultant on the Human Resources employee relations team, has been named WashU’s inaugural director of investigations and conflict resolution. In this role, Boscan leads the university’s discrimination and harassment investigations and efforts to resolve related conflicts. Her promotion took effect March 1.

Boscan, who began working in WashU’s HR office in 2019, previously worked at SLU as a human resources consultant and at Paraquad, representing individuals with disabilities and conducting policy advocacy.

Sara Wright, director of compliance in Human Resources, will move to the institutional equity office to oversee equal-employment opportunity compliance, the university’s affirmative action plan and other compliance oversight. Wright began working in Human Resources in 2014. 

Further, the Academy for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, overseen by Nicole Hudson, assistant vice chancellor, will become part of the Office of Institutional Equity. It will continue to provide equity, diversity and inclusion-related consulting, educational opportunities, support for staff and faculty groups, and partnership on community events. 

This article was originally posted by The Source.