About the VP
As vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Dr. Laura Renée Chandler leads the strategic discussion advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion across the university and, working with key campus leaders, builds, guides, and assesses policies and practices that encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion as a means of improving Oglethorpe’s cultural climate and identity. Her work extends into programming, training and development, curricular initiatives, and recruitment and retention of faculty, staff, and students.
In her previous position as the Director of the University of South Dakota’s Center for Diversity and Community, Dr. Chandler led diversity and inclusiveness initiatives that served the needs of the student body and supported communities that have been historically underrepresented. While there, she was a member of the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusiveness and directed efforts to build a diverse and welcoming learning environment and community for students, to foster greater cultural understanding between majority and minority populations, and partnered with faculty, staff, and departments across campus to enhance the student experience and support retention.
Dr. Chandler was also Assistant Professor of History at South Dakota State University, where she designed and taught courses in U.S. history, the civil rights movement, women’s history, African American Studies, and global citizenship and diversity. She also developed and led initiatives focused on engaging students and community members in critical conversations on contemporary issues such as race relations, social justice, gender identity, and interpreting social protests from a historical perspective.
Dr. Chandler is co-founder of the South Dakota Coalition for Justice and Equity, a community organization focused on creating more transparency and accountability in the South Dakota justice system. She also served as director of the South Dakota African American History Museum and as a member of the Brookings Human Rights Commission and the boards of LEAD South Dakota and South Dakota Voices for Peace.
Dr. Chandler received her MA and PhD in History from Rice University in Houston, TX, and a BA in Political Science from Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN.