By Abbie Willans
IVY TECH COMMUNITY COLLEGE officials made diversity a major focus in 2019 and soon realized officials needed to expand their offices and hire people whose sole job would be to shape a “sustainable, inclusive culture.”
To that end, Ivy Tech officials created a new position and named Doneisha Posey executive director of Employee Diversity, Equity and Belonging at Ivy Tech. Posey’s job is to ensure employees at every campus location in Indiana are treated fairly and experience an environment that promotes diversity.
“We are very proud to have Doneisha Posey join our Diversity, Equity and Belonging team at Ivy Tech Community College,” says Doran Moreland, the interim vice president of Diversity, Equity and Belonging. “Doneisha’s exemplary background in civil rights and employment law will be instrumental as Ivy Tech builds statewide practices for diverse hiring and promotion. Doneisha has already made important contributions in her first few weeks by gathering feedback from faculty and staff throughout our statewide system.”
Posey’s prior experience made her the ideal candidate for the position. She served as deputy director and general counsel of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, as well as legal advisor for the Governor’s Commission on Minority and Women Business Enterprises and as an immigration litigation attorney.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in the inaugural role as the executive director of Employee Diversity, Equity and Belonging,” Posey said in a statement. “Ivy Tech is a diverse and vibrant community, and I look forward to building upon — and contributing to — Ivy Tech’s commitment to diversity, equity and belonging by working collaboratively across all campuses to foster an inclusive climate for all employees.”
Currently, her biggest goals are to come up with transparent policies and procedures that will create cohesion and solidarity among Ivy Tech employees. Posey is appreciative of the proactive approach Ivy Tech is taking.
“I’m happy we live in a world today where people are talking about diversity,” Posey says. “The college is being intentional and making a plan, and not just saying, ‘Let’s treat everyone nicely.’”
Posey also is an adjunct professor at Indiana University McKinney School of Law. She teaches Housing Discrimination and Segregation in the fall semester and Race and the Law during the spring semester. Posey admits it is a lot of work to keep up with both jobs, but she does it because she enjoys teaching. The students who take her classes are interested in the subjects and like to participate, so it never feels like a burden, but rather another opportunity to talk about things she is passionate about.
Growing up in a multicultural household, she saw from an early age the inequity of society and wanted to do something about it.
“At some point in law school, I realized this was the path I wanted to be on,” she says.
During college and her early career, Posey “put herself out there,” researched people making a difference in the city, called lawyers she looked up to so that she could meet over coffee and learn about them, and attended many events. She wants to teach young people not to be afraid to talk to people they admire.
“You never know what that conversation will lead to, or the impact you can have on someone,” she says.
The connections Posey made back then have aided her tremendously as executive director now. Her contacts have given her advice and tips for her new job, and the work she did with the Civil Rights Commission led her to meet people from Ivy Tech before she was offered the role.
Programs and positions like hers are becoming more normalized, especially at higher education institutions. She appreciates that her job is focused solely on college faculty and employees, and that there is a counterpart position meant for catering to similar needs of the students.
“If we want our students to be at their best, we have to be at our best,” she says. “It starts with us first.”