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UVA Diversity Chief Appointed Top Post at International Reading Association

Known for his expertise on diversity in postsecondary institutions, Dr. William B. Harvey, the University of Virginia’s vice president and chief officer for diversity and equity, will employ his aptitude in a different arena when he assumes the executive director position at The International Reading Association (IRA) on Aug. 1, 2009.

During his four years at UVA, Harvey helped recruit and retain faculty, staff and students from historically underrepresented groups. Now, as the incoming leader for the IRA, Harvey will be promoting literacy instruction and research for students who are often underserved.

“IRA, in my mind, has the capacity to do a tremendous amount of good for untold numbers of people around the world,” Harvey said in an official statement. “I’m greatly excited about the opportunity to provide direction and leadership, and I hope the best days of the association are ahead of us.”

According to an IRA release, Harvey was selected for his “depth of understanding on the shaping of partnerships, policy and educational reform as a result of his experience directing major programs at the university level,” and for his “extensive administrative experience and his understanding of the education field.”

RA President Kathryn Au said that in selecting a new executive director, the organization wanted an experienced leader with a record of “achieving challenging goals in turbulent times.”


“We were especially impressed by Dr. Harvey’s track record of building teams and developing strategic partnerships. Also figuring strongly in the board’s decision were his career-long concern for issues of equity and his commitment to the students who most need the help of their teachers,” Au said in a statement released on May 19.

Ray Reutzel, IRA Board member and chair of the Search Committee added, “His varied experiences working with private foundations, government agencies, higher and teacher education, and international projects in Africa have led him to develop significant external relationships that can connect IRA with potential partners nationally and internationally.”

Before joining the administration at UVA, Harvey was the vice president and director of the Center for Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity in Washington, D.C. There, he initiated a program that encouraged postsecondary institutions to build relationships with middle-school students who attended schools with fewer resources.

The West Chester University- and Rutgers University-educated leader has also served leadership roles ranging from dean to co-director at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Richard Stockton College, North Carolina State University, and State University of New York-Stony Brook.

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