Final candidate for Elma Lewis Center holds forum

by Martha Schick / Beacon Staff • October 15, 2015

The fourth and final candidate for Executive Director of the Elma Lewis Center held an open forum on Wednesday.

The applicant’s name is being withheld by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion due to confidentiality concerns.

Ten people, predominantly from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Elma Lewis Center, attended the forum in the Beard Room in the Little Building.

The candidate said she is a trained sociologist and described herself as a mother of color. She said she currently works at The New School in New York, and previously worked in government and policy. She also works with the Brooklyn Historical Society. In her presentation, the candidate described how she interpreted the “Four Cs”—capacity building, convening, connecting, and communicating—that each candidate addressed in their presentations. This candidate also mentioned a “fifth C”: “being a caring individual,” which she said was important to mentoring.

“Working in Boston, there’s the opportunity to continue working in an urban context,” she said.

She said she has great admiration for the existence of the Elma Lewis Center, particularly at a college like Emerson.

“Very few centers at predominantly white institutions are named after women of color,” she said of the center, which is named for a black woman who advocated for arts education and minority issues in the Boston community.

Sylvia Spears, vice president for diversity and inclusion, said the search committee will meet in the next week to discuss the potential contenders. She said she hopes they’ve made an impact on the community.

“This individual will lead the college’s civic engagement initiatives,” Spears said. “The person’s ability to relate to faculty, staff, and students is important.”

Managing Editor Hunter Harris contributed to the reporting of this article.