The University of Maryland announced Tuesday that its interim chief diversity officer and associate provost, Roger Worthington, will step down from his post after holding it for just over a year.
Worthington plans to return to this university’s education college as a faculty member in August, according to a letter from university President Wallace Loh and Provost Mary Ann Rankin that was sent to vice presidents, deans, department chairs and directors.
After this university’s first chief diversity officer, Kumea Shorter-Gooden, resigned in January 2017, Worthington took on the position in July of that year. His appointment followed the fatal stabbing of Bowie State University student 2nd Lt. Richard Collins on this university’s campus.
Worthington had served on the search committee for his position, but did not participate in the same public forum process as other candidates. The Student Government Association initially took issue with this, with then-president AJ Pruitt criticizing the lack of student input in the decision, but the group later stated its commitment to working with the new appointee.
As chief diversity officer, Worthington oversaw the release of the university’s first comprehensive campus climate survey, the launch of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education and the implementation of new protocols for responding to hate bias incidents. He also brought in new staff to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
The 2016-17 academic year saw 13 reports of hate bias incidents and five reports of white nationalist posters found across the campus. The tide of hate bias incidents continued during Worthington’s tenure: From the first day of the fall semester until Dec. 8, this university saw 27 reports of hate bias incidents, 15 of which were verified by the university administration.
Beginning in 2014, Worthington served as the chair of, and was a professor in, the counseling, higher education and special education department at this university. He previously served as a professor, chief diversity officer and assistant deputy chancellor at the University of Missouri.
The university plans to have a firm conduct a national search for a newly created position, the vice president of diversity and inclusion. Consultants will come to the campus in the fall to gain input from “student, faculty, staff, alumni, and external community stakeholders,” the letter read.
This story will be updated.