Salem State University announces the appointment of Sean T. Bennett, EdD, as vice president for diversity and inclusion effective June 1, 2020. Reporting directly to President John Keenan, Bennett will lead the university’s strategic diversity and inclusion priorities, working collaboratively with stakeholders throughout campus to develop, implement and embed inclusive excellence in all university endeavors. He joins Salem State with over 17 years of experience in higher education, including executive-level leadership within both student and academic affairs.
“Diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of Salem State’s strategic plan,” said Keenan. “Dr. Bennett is an accomplished leader with an impressive history of fostering strong collaborative cross-campus relationships to build vibrant and inclusive environments. I look forward to working alongside him and all members of our campus community as we strive toward inclusive excellence.”
“I am extremely excited about joining the Salem State family,” said Bennett. “While the COVID-19 crisis has placed intense strain on us all, the challenges present an opportunity to reflect on our broad commitments to inclusion and engagement. It is heartening to see so many educators across the nation mobilize to address the diverse range of challenges confronting students. During my visit to the Salem campus, I was blown away by the leadership demonstrated by students, faculty, and staff.”
Bennett is currently the assistant dean for academic operations and student success in the College of Engineering Technology at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Bennett is known for building an informed, welcoming community and for promoting student success. In his current role, he worked to increase participation in RIT’s honors program, helped increase the first-year retention rates, created a distributed leadership model for advising, and improved continuous student enrollment efforts through outreach programs. Prior to his tenure at RIT, Bennett was the associate vice president for Institutional Diversity Initiatives and Pipeline Programs at Clarkson University where he oversaw university initiatives aimed at improving the recruitment and retention of students from traditionally underrepresented populations.
Bennett holds a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania, a master of education in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University, and a master of education from the State University of New York at Brockport. Prior to joining the world of higher education, he worked in K-12 education in both administrative and teaching capacities for seven years.