Dr. Sherrae Mack: “It’s about focusing on what we can do, together”
By Emily Croft, Staff Writer
The Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) has welcomed a new director, Dr. Sherrae Mack, who brings professional expertise and a passion for a personalized approach to her leadership.
Mack is a proud Cleveland native who has returned to her home state after several years. She attended Tennessee State University, a historically Black university, for her undergraduate degree before attending New York University for her masters in Africana Studies.
The new director topped off her academic career with a doctorate in African American and African Studies from Michigan State University.
She comes to Xavier after years of experience in student affairs and undergraduate education at the University of California, Los Angeles and Cleveland State University, where she was involved in the Black Studies Program.
Mack also has her own consulting firm, Dr. Rae & Associates, LTD, through which she provides culturally-relevant services to corporations, organizations, educational institutions and more.
This semester, Mack is particularly interested in ensuring the CDI catalyzes social change and inclusion in the Xavier community.
Through a personalized, hands-on approach, Mack emphasized that her focus is to “(make) sure that students from historically marginalized communities and populations get to and through college and do it in a way that is not at a cost to the multiple identities that they represent.”
“My work has always been about finding ways to make sure students feel campus is home in more ways than one,” she said .
After working in primarily-secular spaces, Mack also mentioned that she is excited about the unique emphasis of the Jesuit values and religion at Xavier.
“I’m excited to see how different work can come to fruition in a space where there is a component of faith,” she said.
Mack has been at Xavier since July 1 but has been motivated by the Xavier community and her colleagues within the CDI.
“I am incredibly inspired by our existing team and the exceptional, awesome, intentional work that has been done for years,” she said.
In addition to supporting students, Mack intends to spend the semester listening to the voices on campus. This is manifesting as feedback forms and surveys that are being used to identify how to effectively return to in-person programs.
“(We want) to hang out, to chill, to see their faces,” she elaborated.
By creating and shaping opportunities that are exciting to students, Mack hopes to uplift students on campus and the CDI’s partners in the greater Cincinnati community.
“It takes a village to graduate a student in a way that they had a welcoming, loving, supportive experience and want to come back and be a part of that village,” Mack said.
One event Mack is especially excited for is the Catalyst Leadership Summit, where diversity and inclusion student organizations and groups on campus can come together. The summit focuses on team-building across the organizations to promote collaboration in the future.
“It’s not just about one organization doing things. It’s about focusing on what we can do together,” Mack noted.
A program that Mack was particularly touched by was Smooth Transitions, a supplemental orientation program for first-year students with underrepresented identities.
“We’re really excited about getting to know them at the start of their journey and looking at them as a cohort in what is specific to their first year experience,” Mack said.
Mack is overfilled with excitement as she joins the community here at Xavier.
She ended by commenting, “Come by and see us. I want to do everything I can to reach out and get to know as many students as possible.”
The CDI is located on the second floor of Gallagher Student Center and is open from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.