Director, Brown Center for Students of Color

Director, Brown Center for Students of Color

Brown University

Providence, RI   |   November 24, 2020

About Brown University

Brown is a leading research university distinct for its student-centered learning and deep sense of purpose. Its students, faculty and staff are driven by the idea that their work will have an impact in the world. Founded in 1764, Brown is a leading research university home to world-renowned faculty, and also an innovative educational institution where the curiosity, creativity and intellectual joy of students drives academic excellence. Brown is a place where rigorous scholarship, complex problem-solving and service to the public good are defined by intense collaboration, intellectual discovery and working in ways that transcend traditional boundaries.

The Brown Center for Students of Color (previously known as The Third World Center) emerged in response to the needs of students following protests in 1968 and 1975.  Established in 1976, the Third World Center was designed to serve the interests and meet the needs of all students of color and to promote racial and ethnic pluralism in the Brown community. Students first began using the term “Third World” over “minority” because of the negative connotations of inferiority and powerlessness with which the word “minority” is often associated.  Although the term “Third World” may have negative socioeconomic connotations outside of Brown, Third World students here continue to use the term in the context originating from the Civil Rights Movement. The legacy of the TWC is memorialized in the annual Third World Transition Program (TWTP) that takes place at the beginning of the academic year. In 2014, the TWC was renamed to the BCSC, with the intention that the new name will signal a clear focus on students of color and thereby reduce confusion about who the Center primarily serves.

For more information on Brown University and the Brown Center for Students of Color, please visit

The Opportunity

During this critical period of reflection for colleges and universities across the United States, Brown University is uniquely poised to embark on the transformation necessary to thrive in the landscape of higher education for the future. While Brown has a demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion efforts across campus, as evidenced by its recent award for Higher Education Excellence in Diversity, the University recognizes the continued need to sustain and grow a welcoming, supportive learning environment for every member of the Brown community. For over forty years, the Brown Center for Students of Color (BCSC) has modeled inclusivity, empowerment, and advocacy for the experiences of marginalized students at Brown. Under the thoughtful leadership of its next Director, the BCSC will build upon this legacy and advance community building and capacity building opportunities focused on equity and inclusion for students, faculty, staff, and alumni across the Brown community.

As a valued partner in shaping the campus experience at Brown University, the Director provides visionary leadership and strategic planning for the services and programs of the Brown Center for Students of Color. The Director also cultivates a community environment that supports students of color at the intersection of their identities and lived experiences to ensure their academic and personal success.

The Director: collaborates with students, faculty, colleagues, and alumni as a campus-wide leader to create opportunities for students to connect their curricular and co-curricular learning; educates the campus community and institution and division leaders by advocating for the academic and social needs of students of color; and facilitates opportunities for community building in support of Brown and the Division of Campus Life’s mission. Serving as a liaison between students and higher administration, the Director is able to creatively bridge the University’s needs and goals with the student-driven activist and coalitional spirit and history of the BCSC. Grounded in supporting student activism, the Director builds successful partnerships within the University to advocate effectively for change. Within the BCSC, the Director supervises professional and student staff with humility and a dedication to dismantling formalized hierarchies in favor of a community-minded leadership approach.

As a scholar-practitioner, the Director implements and promotes principles of Third Worldism and transformative justice in BCSC services and programs. With a deep investment in building relationships with and mentoring students of color, the Director retains an authentic and collaborative connection with students – the heart of the BCSC. In challenging moments, the Director coordinates efforts for community care and healing to mitigate the effects of the multiplicity of systems of oppression affecting students of color on interpersonal and structural levels.

Serving on the Campus Life Executive Group, the Director actively contributes as a campus leader and often works in collaboration with students, faculty, staff, and alumni on issues related to equity and inclusion education.

Strategic Leadership

  • Direct the Brown Center for Students of Color and provide leadership, strategic planning, and priorities that are mission driven.
  • Ensure the strategic plans, organizational structure, programming, and assessment align with the mission and vision of the center. Utilize institutional data with relevant research and theory to inform practice. Ensure ongoing evaluation of the BCSC.
  • Lead the building and development of the BCSC as a leading student center with a primary focus on developing students around racial consciousness and third world solidarity, incorporating the core academic mission.
  • Place student experience in a broader context of critical consciousness, empowerment, and liberation, and encourage the development of students as agents of change in their lives and respective communities, including the local Providence community.
  • Aid students in harnessing the power of communication and collaboration across marginalized communities to create a welcoming, open place and educational opportunities for all individuals.
  • Provide leadership on the academic needs of the students from the BCSC and identity centers.

Management, Program Oversight, and Management of Resources

  • Oversee resource allocation to meet strategic objectives, including, budget management, fundraising and/or procurement of grants, and staff development and evaluation.
  • Supervise the Assistant Directors in the successful oversight and implementation of programs, including the Third World Transition Program, Minority Peer Counselor Program, Nurturing Alignment, Commencement Ceremonies, Heritage Series, Radical Foundations, Graduate Students of Color Initiative, and hourly staff workers.
  • Lead the Student Advisory Board that includes student representatives from all BCSC programs and beyond.
  • Support the professional growth of the staff in the BCSC.
  • Lead ongoing center assessment to ensure climate and support is where it needs to be for the center and the students the center serves. Implement responsive strategies that support the integrity of the center and the students.
  • Encourage and support programming that connects the curricular and co-curricular lives of students and supports the residential experience as an integral part of learning at Brown.
  • Work with faculty to encourage intellectual content and academic rigor in student programming.
  • Utilize the network of academic Deans to serve as a resource to the students the Center serves, and engaging Deans in the life and work of the Center.
  • Serve as an academic advisor.
  • Ensure knowledge of and appropriate access to academic and co-curricular resources like internships, fellowships, research, and applied learning opportunities.
  • Develop, advise, and support BCSC student staff (academically, professionally, and personally) and BCSC support staff who directly supervise student staff.

Collaborate and Partner

  • Develop strategic partnerships and relationships with key departments and offices on and off campus that bolsters the work and drives the mission of the Brown Center for Students of Color.
  • Ensure a focus on supporting the holistic success of student leaders of BCSC and affiliated programs and initiatives. Encourage connections between undergraduate students and faculty, graduate students, and alumni.
  • Establish collaborations with academic and administrative units and key University leaders to build commitment and support for the existence of sound co-curricular and academic programs and activities to benefit students of color., making student academic life and campus life seamless.
  • Collaborate with colleagues to identify and assess factors associated with student of color success and retention, and recommend creative, innovative, research-based strategies to address these.
  • Collaborate with the Office of Alumni Relations to encourage alumni-student engagement through the constituent affinity groups.
  • Liaise with the Office of Admission to support the success of recruitment, outreach, and yield events and in connecting student leaders and student organizations with recruitment efforts.
  • Work with the Graduate School and Warren Alpert Medical School to ensure effective support to graduate and medical students and encourage their involvement in supporting the success of undergraduate students and their programs.
  • Build relationships with key Providence community organizations and people that align with the mission of the center.
  • Serve on Divisional and University committees and working groups and undertake special projects as a representative of the Brown Center for Students of Color and the Division of Campus Life.
  • Remain informed of best practices, engage with professional networks, and contribute to improving the experiences of students of color on campus.
  • Address parental and family questions and concerns related to BCSC programs and initiatives.

Institutional Leadership

  • Participate in department, divisional, and University planning and success, including institutional diversity, and effectively represent Brown externally as a way to build institutional capacity.
  • Participate in leadership meetings and retreats of the Division of Campus Life, including Campus Life Executive Group (CLEG) meetings.
  • Interface with the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) and participate in meetings of the Diversity Advisory Board.
  • Participate on the Committee on Academic Standing.
  • Other duties as assigned.
Candidate Profile

For this critical leadership role, Brown University is seeking candidates who have demonstrated progressive leadership and management experience in related student affairs roles within an education setting or in a related field. As a valued thought partner on campus, the candidate will be able to lead the Brown Center for Students of Color with confidence and a vision for its future within the broader Brown community. The ideal candidate is a natural collaborator who brings a high level of fluency with students, staff, and administrators alike and an ability to deftly navigate a complex university system and its stakeholders.

In addition to the background listed above, the ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

A Strategic and Collaborative Visionary

  • A leader with a proven ability to mobilize others to achieve results and progress towards a collective vision.
  • A willing partner who is able to demonstrate successful collaboration with other offices, groups or departments within or beyond an institution.
  • Strong communicator who is equally able to inspire students, build rapport with faculty and staff, and engage in dialogue with university administrators at all levels.
  • Guided by sound judgment and able to make difficult decisions among opposing viewpoints.

Community-Driven Problem Solving

  • An innovative thought leader who is driven to generate creative solutions to complex problems, motivated by the needs of the communities they serve.
  • Draws upon depth and breadth of practical knowledge regarding educational issues related to equity, social justice and students of color in university settings
  • An intuitive understanding of youth development principles and ability to apply informed strategies to the challenges students face on campus.

Administrative Leadership

  • Demonstrated leadership experience managing professional staff, budget, and administrative responsibilities in a similar organization, ideally within a university setting.
  • Flexible in investing time to represent and lead the Center while maintaining an ability to model work/life balance.
  • An effective communicator with strong written and oral communication skills to tailor messaging to a variety of audiences, including students, community partners, university faculty and staff, and fellow administrators within the institution.

Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Tom Phillips and Marisa Chock are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please visit this link or email Marisa Chock. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


Brown University is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive academic global community; as an EEO/AA employer, Brown considers applicants for employment without regard to, and does not discriminate on the basis of, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, race, protected veteran status, disability, or any other legally protected status.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit