By: Amelia Bodge, Staff Writer
Over the last few months the University of Southern Maine has been putting efforts into creating a more diverse and inclusive community. This includes things like creating the Intercultural and Diversity Advisory Council (IDAC) and two new staff hires.
Joining USM over the summer as the new director of Intercultural Student Engagement was Will Johnson. Along with Johnson the second new hire joining USM is Dr. Isabella Glenn, who will become USM’s new Associate Vice President for Equity, Inclusion and Community Impact.
Dr. Glenn joins USM after a 24-year long career undertaking efforts to create diversity, inclusion, and equity. She has worked at many different universities, most recently she was employed at Hollins University in Roanoke, where she served as the Special Advisor on Inclusivity and Diversity.
Glenn earned her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science & Mathematics at Furman University. She obtained her Master’s degree in Higher Educational Administration at the University of South Carolina and her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Clemson University.
Glenn has already started her work with USM ahead of her arrival in Maine; remotely from her home in Greenville, South Carolina she has been working through email and Zoom meetings. Something relatable in this post-pandemic and socially distanced world many are currently experiencing.
In one of these Zoom meetings, with the USM Office of Public Affairs, Glenn mentioned some of her plans while working with USM going forward.
“My role is to take the lead on looking at diversity, equity and inclusion issues at USM from a structural standpoint, I understand that there is a lot that’s already happening around this area. My goal will be to get a sense of what’s happening and try to coordinate and collaborate with various partners on campus, to move us forward in this area.”
Glenn has experienced desegregation first hand. She stated in the mid-1980s, as a freshman at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, she was one of only seven African-American women in her class as a Computer Science & Mathematics student.
These experiences will be important as racial issues have become the forefront throughout the country amidst highly publicized cases like the death of George Floyd. People are now realizing the importance and severity of some of these issues more than they have in the past.
Here at USM, subjects such as the drawing in and employment of faculty of color, the climate on the campuses and the needs of students will be a quintessential part of her job, stated Glenn.
“I don’t plan to come into USM as a person who is going to be like the diversity police or judging people,” Glenn said. “We want to hold people accountable for their words and their actions, but in a way that maintains their humanity as well.”