Purdue University's Polytechnic Institute has appointed Dr. Levon T. Esters as the college's first associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion and faculty affairs.
Esters, a professor in the Department of Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication in the University's College of Agriculture, will also hold a faculty appointment in Polytechnic's Department of Technology Leadership & Innovation. The Polytechnic Institute offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in such technology-focused areas as aviation, computing, and engineering technology.
"I look at this as an opportunity to take what I've learned over the years related to diversity, equity, inclusion and faculty success and contribute to similar programming efforts in another college," said Esters. "I would rank the Polytechnic as one of the top colleges at Purdue in terms of the commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. For me, that is impressive, and I want to be a part of this moment."
Esters' research centers on the STEM career growth of students at historically Black land-grant colleges and universities. He also studies the educational and professional mobility and development of Black graduate students and faculty. While at the College of Agriculture, Esters directed Mentoring@Purdue, a program that aims to increase representation of students from marginalized backgrounds attaining advanced, STEM-based agricultural and life sciences degrees.
"Creating a consistent culture in which everyone who walks through the doors of the Polytechnic feels a sense of welcome and belonging is extremely important and is something that I will work to accomplish, but it will take the support of everyone in the college," said Esters.