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Columbia Names Geraldine Downey New Vice Provost for Diversity Initiatives

Columbia University has named Geraldine Downey, professor and chair of the department of psychology, vice provost for diversity initiatives. Downey succeeds Jean Howard in her new role, effective July 1, 2007.

Geraldine Downey
Geraldine Downey

“Provost Alan Brinkley and I are very pleased to announce our appointment of Geraldine Downey as the University’s new vice provost for diversity initiatives,” President Lee C. Bollinger stated in a letter today to the University community. “Geraldine is a respected colleague, an innovative teacher, an award-winning psychologist, and a treasured member of the Columbia community.”

Trained at University College-Dublin, Cornell, and Michigan, Downey is a leading developmental psychologist recognized for her path-breaking research on identity formation and her vigorous commitment to mentoring students. As professor and chair of the department of psychology, she has extensive experience in faculty recruitment and development. She also serves as director of Columbia’s Social Relations Laboratory.

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In her new role as vice provost, Downey plans to give special attention to the question of diversity in the sciences—an issue of national concern and one in which Columbia can become a national leader. She will also continue current efforts to advance diversity generally in the professional schools and the arts and sciences.

Columbia created the position of vice provost for diversity initiatives in 2004 to underscore its commitment to diversity, and in particular, to increase the identification, recruitment, and retention of a diverse group of faculty, administrators, and officers of research, especially those historically under-represented in American higher education. The vice provost also works to increase the representation of such groups in the undergraduate and graduate populations and to create policies and programs that will enhance the work-life experience of all members of the campus community.

Published: July 16, 2007
Last modified: Jul 20, 2007