Fussell to Fill New Director of Diversity and Inclusion Position
Latesha Fussell brings to AAP a breadth and depth of experience in creating vital academic and cultural programs that dismantle racial injustices in higher education.
Fussell will join the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning as Director of Diversity and Inclusion on March 22, focusing on student support and success from entry to graduation and as students look toward career paths beyond their education. She comes to AAP from Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, where she was director for intercultural affairs.
Jenn Michael, director of Student Services, says Fussell will be a critical asset to the college, working closely with both the AAP Office of Student Services and the Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion that will soon be appointed. "She is more than ready for this role, and I've seen first-hand the work she can do on a college campus," says Michael, who has prior experience working with Fussell at Wells College. "I am thrilled she is joining our team and can't wait for the students, faculty, and staff to work with her."
At Stonehill College, Fussell served as cochair of the Racial and Equity Justice Institute and supervised a staff that provided academic, cultural, and personal support to students, including students of color, first-generation college students, international students, and LGBTQ+ students. She launched a mentorship program connecting alumni of color with students of color and helped create living-learning and special interest housing for first-generation and students of color in collaboration with offices for academic, advising, and residence life.
"It was a pleasure to speak with Latesha Fussell about her experience and her outlook," says Neema Kudva, cochair of the AAP Council on Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) and associate professor in CRP. "She brings new ideas, and her perspective on supporting BIPOC at AAP is very much in line with the intention of the council to work collaboratively with faculty, staff, and students to support increased diversity and inclusive practices at the college."
Prior to working at Stonehill College, Fussell was the director of campus life for diversity and inclusion at Wells College in Aurora, New York (2016–19), and academic advisor in the educational opportunity program (EOP) at the State University of New York at Potsdam (SUNY Potsdam) from 2014 to 2016. She earned three degrees from SUNY Potsdam: a master of science in education for special education (2014), a master of science for teachers in childhood education (2012), and a bachelor of arts in sociology (2011). Fussell is currently pursuing a doctor of philosophy in higher education at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
"We're excited that Latesha Fussell has been chosen for the AAP Director of Diversity and Inclusion position. Latesha's background brings together her professionalism, depth of academic knowledge, and direct focus on institutional change," writes Sekou Cooke (B.Arch. '99), an alumnus of AAP's formerly established Office of Minority Educational Affairs (OMEA). The OMEA alumni, self-organized in 2020, together with the Alumni Committee on Diversity, and the AAP Advisory Council has been actively involved in reinstating this office to support increased recruitment, retention, graduation, and career path guidance for Black, Indigenous, and historically underrepresented minority students in AAP.