Whitehurst named vice provost for Educational Equity

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Marcus A. Whitehurst, who has nearly 20 years of experience in educational leadership, has been named Penn State’s vice provost for Educational Equity after holding the position in an interim capacity for more than a year. His appointment, effective Sept. 1, 2015, follows a national search to fill the position.

Before becoming interim vice provost, Whitehurst had served as assistant vice provost for Educational Equity since July 2007. He is succeeding W. Terrell Jones, who died Aug. 19, 2014, after an extended illness.

“In both his current and former positions, Marcus has done an outstanding job advancing the mission of the office and the University as a leader in promoting and ensuring diversity and equal opportunity at Penn State. He has shown tremendous leadership in his interim capacity, following the untimely death of Terrell Jones, and I am confident that he will continue to build upon those past successes,” said Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost, who made the appointment.

The vice provost for the Office of Educational Equity oversees 13 units with 75 staff members, in addition to working collaboratively with a number of offices both within and outside the University, with a goal of ensuring equal opportunity for a diverse body of students, faculty and staff at all Penn State locations. That includes overseeing the Office of Disability Services, the Equal Opportunity Planning Committee, the Multicultural Resource Center, the Office of Veterans Programs, and a number of student support services and programs.

In addition to providing support for staff, undergraduate and graduate students, and several university commissions, the vice provost works closely with the University Faculty Senate and individual faculty members to promote research, international exchanges and partnerships.

“It is certainly an honor and privilege to serve as Penn State's vice provost for Educational Equity. I truly believe in our office’s mission as we work toward creating a more welcoming and inclusive environment for our faculty, staff and students,” Whitehurst said. “Penn State consistently maintains a strong commitment to academic excellence, and when we combine academic excellence with inclusive excellence, we are in a position to transform lives across the University. I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead these efforts.”

As assistant vice provost, Whitehurst oversaw many of Penn State’s Educational Equity offices and staff. He collaborated on the University’s “A Framework to Foster Diversity,” a five-year plan to continue to build a diverse and equitable institution. He served as chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee, and collaborated with three presidential commissions: the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equity; the Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity; and the Commission for Women. He oversaw the Student Trustee Endowment Scholarship Committee and worked on diversity strategic planning across the University campuses.

Before becoming assistant vice provost in 2007, he served in several capacities at Penn State, including director of the Multicultural Resource Center for nearly a decade. He also has served as acting diversity advocate, overseeing University initiatives to improve the campus climate and served as a liaison for anyone reporting an incident of intolerance.

Whitehurst holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in social sciences from Binghamton University, State University of New York; and a master of higher education degree in higher education administration and a doctorate in educational theory and policy, both from Penn State. He has completed several post-doctoral training programs and taught courses in African and African-American Studies and Language and Literacy Studies.

Last Updated November 12, 2015