Rockhurst University Welcomes First Chief Inclusion Officer

Wednesday, April 17, 2019
New University Chief Inclusion Officer Leslie Doyle

Leslie Doyle, Ed.D., grew up across the street from the Rockhurst University campus. This month, she’s been welcomed back as the University’s inaugural chief inclusion officer.

In this position, Doyle will lead the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, a newly created office charged with driving strategic efforts to make Rockhurst a home for all. Working collaboratively across campus, the office will assist students, faculty and staff from historically marginalized populations, and will develop offerings for the campus community that facilitate growth in self-awareness and understanding of others.

“This project is about paving a path for our future as an institution,” said Rockhurst University President the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J. “Walking with one another as true companions is at the core of our educational mission and, as critically, of our identity as a Jesuit institution.”

For 13 years, Doyle has been part of the staff at Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri. Most recently, she served as the director of service, diversity and social justice at the institution.

Doyle earned a Bachelor of Science at Northwest Missouri State University, a Master of Science in higher education at the University of Kansas, Master of Management in business and leadership at Fontbonne University, and Doctor of Education in higher education leadership at Maryville University.

In addition to bringing almost two decades of experience in higher education to the job, Doyle’s local upbringing means the position is also something of a homecoming.

“When I was young, my mother would watch us cross the street to play on campus, that was our playground,” she said. “So to come back and have the opportunity to have an impact in the place I grew up is really exciting.” 

Doyle’s hiring is the culmination of a process more than a year in the making, following a yearlong campus climate survey conducted by Rankin and Associates that included an anonymous survey and in-person sessions for faculty, staff, and students designed to foster honest evaluations of inclusiveness on campus. Those discussions, Doyle said, helps set the stage for institutional transformation in an intentional, long-lasting way.

“I think that what I’ve learned in my work is that it’s important to include everyone in the conversation,” she said. “I admire the work that’s already been done at Rockhurst, and I look forward to continuing to build toward a common goal of making inclusivity our way of proceeding.”