2021 DAC Spotlight

Diane Forbes Berthoud, PhD, MA

Diane Forbes Berthoud, PhD, MAAugust 2021

UMB’s first chief equity, diversity, and inclusion officer focused on structures, strategies, and tactics needed to produce institutional change. 

During the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) search for its inaugural chief equity, diversity, and inclusion officer (CEDIO/VP), candidates were asked during virtual town halls to address their view of the evolution of the role of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in higher education.

“Equity is really thinking about what the history and the structural barriers have been for traditionally marginalized populations, for groups that are underserved and underrepresented. Equity is concerned with barriers and disparities and recognizing them,” Diane Forbes Berthoud, PhD, told her town hall audience in January 2021.

She said that stronger investment in such things as infrastructure, staff resources, and pipeline programs will not only facilitate a greater examination of those barriers, but also “will establish the kinds of structures and the strategies and tactics to bring about the change that’s needed.”

Forbes Berthoud will have an opportunity to enact institutional change at UMB after taking the new role of CEDIO/VP, reporting directly to President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS. As CEDIO/VP, she will steward UMB’s commitment to EDI; catalyze the institutional change necessary for deepening and strengthening that commitment; and design and put into place a transparent accountability framework to measure and evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the University’s EDI initiatives at every level of the institution.

“I am excited to welcome Dr. Forbes Berthoud to UMB, and I am eager to work with her to identify issues and improve structures and systems at our University to continue to build a culture that is truly inclusive and equitable for every member of our community,” Jarrell said. “I was so impressed with the thoughtful and collaborative way Diane interacted with her future UMB colleagues during the search process. It’s no wonder she was able to accomplish so much at the University of California, San Diego [UCSD].”

Forbes Berthoud was hired after a national search and rigorous selection process organized and conducted by selection committee co-chairs Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Bill and Joanne Conway Dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing, and Dawn M. Rhodes, DBA, MBA, senior vice president and chief business and finance officer, UMB.

“Diane Forbes Berthoud brings a rich array of experiences working with students, faculty, and staff in higher education as well as a proven track record of effectively engaging community stakeholders in initiatives focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion,” Kirschling said.

“Diane was exceptionally impressive at every stage of the search process,” Rhodes said. “I am convinced that her previous experience on a health sciences campus positions her well to be the inaugural CEDIO/VP for UMB. I am excited to have her join the leadership team.”

As CEDIO/VP, Forbes Berthoud will work in close collaboration with the provost and other senior University officials, leading the development of a strategic action plan that will leverage current efforts and create a sustainable infrastructure that affects every aspect and every level of UMB.

“I look forward to working with every part of the University community to achieve our goals,” Forbes Berthoud said. “The work of equity, diversity, and inclusion is not a solo job. It’s not the chief diversity officer saying, ‘This is the way.’ It is really understanding both the principles and the values, sharing those in a leadership role, and bringing everyone into that picture to achieve a cohesive vision and have outcomes that will really move the institution toward greater excellence.”

Jarrell said, “We have to be open to understanding how issues of the past impact our present reality, and what our individual and collective roles are in creating a more equitable and inclusive culture. And I am confident that Diane Forbes Berthoud will play a critical role as an advisor, a leader, and a catalyst for the institutional change we seek.”

Forbes Berthoud held several critical positions at UCSD, most recently associate vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion. In that role, she led the management of the university’s first Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence, directed central aspects of an accountability process involving senior leadership, provided leadership in the development of accountability data dashboards to track key metrics, and oversaw the creation of an equity, diversity, and inclusion best practices resource and diversity strategic planning toolkit to guide the planning and implementation processes.

Before serving as UCSD’s associate vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion, Forbes Berthoud oversaw academic planning, strategic planning, and implementation as academic director of the university’s 4,000-student Sixth College. She served on the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women, developed and enhanced the global education program, and was honored with a universitywide diversity award for outstanding efforts in advancing UCSD’s academic and institutional goals in EDI. Forbes Berthoud also was founding faculty of the RISE San Diego Urban Leadership Fellows Program, a partnership with the University of San Diego to advance leadership and workforce development and civic engagement, and she was recognized as a 2020 San Diego Woman of Distinction by San Diego Woman Magazine for her contributions to higher education, community, and society.

Forbes Berthoud also has considerable history in the Baltimore-Washington region, serving as faculty and lecturer at George Washington University, George Mason University, Howard University, the University of Maryland, College Park, and Trinity University, where she was associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication. Outside of academia, she served as an organizational development consultant with Montgomery County Government and the American Psychological Association, and ombudsperson at the U.S. Capitol. Forbes Berthoud received her PhD and MA in organizational communication and social psychology from Howard University, and a BA in communication and a certificate in Spanish translation and interpretation from Barry University. She holds a management certificate from the University of California, a certificate in mediation from the National Center for Conflict Resolution, and is a graduate of the UC-Coro Systemwide Leadership Program.

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