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Joanne Woodard

Vice President of Institutional Equity and Diversity, University of North Texas

Denton, Texas
Office Representing: Disability/Equity & Diversity

Joanne Woodard serves as the vice president of institutional equity and diversity and chief diversity officer (CDO) at the University of North Texas (UNT). She coordinates UNT's diversity and inclusion strategic initiatives; oversees the university's efforts to maintain a diverse, welcoming and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff; and builds alliances and partnerships in the communities UNT serves. Woodard also serves as UNT's affirmative action/equal opportunity officer and ensures the university's compliance with federal and state EO laws and requirements. In her previous role as vice provost for Institutional Equity & Diversity at North Carolina State University (NC State), Woodard was known for her work on faculty salary equity and the integration of multiculturalism and internationalization. Woodard served as co-chair of NC State's "At Home in the World Program" while participating in the American Council on Education's (ACE) programmatic initiative of the same name. Woodard's collaborative and innovative work contributed to NC State being recognized with the "Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization."  

How did you first get interested in or involved in higher education issues?

"As a first-generation college graduate, I came to understand the profound impact higher education had on me and my ability to reach my goals and assist others in doing the same. I first became involved in higher education issues when teaching my first undergraduate history survey course at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) in Durham, NC. After serving in a number of faculty positions and administrative roles at three institutions, I realized my passion and purpose lay in improving access to higher education and ensuring successful matriculation and degree attainment by all students, regardless of factors such as socio-economic background, race and gender. I was drawn to equal opportunity work and affirmative action to help level the playing field for all students."

Why did you apply to be a part of the Forward50? What drew you to this opportunity?

"As an administrator at UNT, I am acutely recognizant of the institution's position as an emerging Minority Serving Institution (MSI) and Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). One of the key concerns for minority and Hispanic students is financing their college education. Lack of financial resources can be the single largest impediment to access to postsecondary education for some groups. I hope my vantage point as a first-generation college student, a diversity and inclusion practitioner, and a former college instructor can be valuable in identifying best practices to improving the transparency of access to and affordability of postsecondary education."

Leadership roles with professional associations:

  • BRIDGES: Academic Leadership for Women Program (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill): Past Board Chair
  • National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE): Current Board Member

Membership(s) held with other professional associations:

  • College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR)
  • American Association for Access Equity and Diversity (AAAED)