Quinnipiac University

Don C. Sawyer III appointed associate vice president and chief diversity officer

April 30, 2018

Don C. Sawyer III sits in a chair in the lobby of the Center for Communications and Engineering.

Don C. Sawyer III has been appointed associate vice president and chief diversity officer effective May 15. Sawyer has been serving as interim associate vice president and chief diversity officer since January.

In his new role, he will be responsible for coordinating efforts to advance diversity and inclusion initiatives in support of the university’s core value of a strong sense of community. He also will lead efforts to support a campus climate that is welcoming and supportive of all members and coordinate diversity-oriented programs and initiatives, including the review, updating and implementation of the university’s strategic plan for diversity and inclusion.

“Don is the ideal candidate for this position,” said Mark Thompson, executive vice president and provost. “He knows Quinnipiac well and has forged strong relationships with students, faculty, administrators and staff across our three campuses. During his time here, he has worked with multiple groups to find solutions to complicated issues and strived to create an environment that leads to our recruiting, retaining and graduating civically engaged students.”

With more than 18 years of experience in higher education, Sawyer is a certified diversity trainer and conflict mediator who has held positions in residential life, admissions, multicultural affairs, fraternity and sorority affairs, student activities, experiential learning, student leadership and STEM retention. He has extensive experience in sponsored grant management, budgeting, recruiting, advising, retention, mentoring, supervising, assessment and conflict management. In addition, he has experience with creating and implementing a host of social, cultural and educational programs for campus and community partners.

A member of the Quinnipiac community since 2012, he recently earned tenure and a promotion to associate professor in the department of sociology, criminal justice and anthropology. Sawyer is also a clinical professor at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine.

His scholarly focus is on race, social justice, urban education, hip-hop culture, visual sociology, prisoner reentry and youth critical media literacy. He recently founded the #HipHopHeals Project, a community-based recording studio for Haitian and Dominican youth living in the Dominican Republic. In addition, he created the #HipHopProject, a youth, hip-hop and social justice program at Quinnipiac.

Outside of his work in public schools, Sawyer is partnering with a fellow scholar on research projects focusing on the intersectional experiences and social mobility of black male students at predominately white institutions. His research adds to the work of scholars interested in finding solutions to the plight of students of color at all levels of the educational system.

He earned a doctorate and a master’s degree in sociology and another master’s in cultural foundations of education from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hartwick College.

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