Ervin Announces Retirement as Inaugural Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer

Archie W. Ervin, Georgia Tech’s inaugural vice president and chief diversity officer, has announced his retirement from the Institute, effective January 1, 2024.   

Archie W. Ervin, Georgia Tech’s inaugural vice president and chief diversity officer, has announced his retirement from the Institute, effective January 1, 2024.     

The vice president and chief diversity officer position was created in 2010 by then-President G.P. “Bud” Peterson to infuse diversity leadership throughout the Institute community. Ervin was selected after an extensive national search to lead the Office of the Vice President of Institute Diversity, and arrived on campus during the 50th anniversary celebration of the matriculation of the first African American students at Georgia Tech.   

“Since Dr. Ervin's arrival, Georgia Tech has changed for the better,” said President Ángel Cabrera. “With the help of his leadership and expertise, Georgia Tech has become more diverse, welcoming, and inclusive than it has ever been. Our work to create a campus community where people of all backgrounds can thrive continues. We appreciate his impact and wish him all the best in his well-earned retirement.” 

Under Ervin's leadership, Institute Diversity launched the development and implementation of Georgia Tech’s Campus Climate Survey. The survey, conducted every four years, assesses the lived experiences of Institute community members to make data-informed recommendations about areas of opportunity. He created Tech’s first Institute-wide DEI organizational structure that included pan-university responsibilities and the first strategic operational plan for the Office of Institute Diversity. That structure was implemented in 2014, after over a year's work involving cross-campus collaborations that consisted of faculty, staff, and students. 

“When I first arrived at Tech, I found a community that was eager to engage with diversity and inclusion,” said Ervin. “Members of the faculty, including one of our deans, accepted my invitation to serve on my initial ‘kitchen cabinet’ to help with my transition to Tech. What I discovered early in my tenure here was that the desire to ‘move the needle’ was evident, and the only missing ingredients were the tools for engagement and the leadership necessary to leverage the incredible spirit and goodwill to make the university community more welcoming and supportive of everyone who has earned their right to be here whether as students, staff, or faculty. Nearly 13 years later, look at what Tech has become in the DEI space. We are not perfect, as nothing in human nature is, but we certainly are among the national leaders in the quest for inclusive excellence. In the words of Georgia Tech student Nicholas Selby at the 2013 Student Convocation at Georgia Tech: ‘We can do that.’” 

After President Cabrera’s arrival in 2019, Ervin was tasked with bringing the Title IX and ADA offices under his umbrella, after which the unit’s name was updated to Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (IDEI) to reflect the addition of these departments.   

Following the creation of IDEI, Ervin engaged the diversity leaders from across campus to complete Georgia Tech’s first-ever DEI Plan, solidifying goals and laying out a strategic roadmap to enhance inclusion efforts across campus. The final plan, spanning from 2022 to 2032, underpins the work being done by IDEI and affirms Georgia Tech’s commitment to thriving on diversity.   

In addition to supervising Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Ervin’s leadership found numerous successes in positioning the Institute as a global leader in diversity in higher education. Some examples include:  

  • Expanding Institute academic support services for Tech’s historically underserved student communities, which has resulted in improved graduation rates and academic success over the past decade. 

  • Providing leadership to expand Tech’s graduate recruitment Focus Program that has contributed to the growth of diverse student populations in Tech’s graduate programs. 

  • Creating an Intercultural Education Lecture/Learning Series to promote cross-cultural education and learning among Tech’s students, staff, and faculty. 

  • Supporting the Institute’s ADVANCE Professors Program’s gender/racial equity initiatives to ensure gender and racial equity among GT’s Institute faculty. 

  • Establishing GT’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council to provide a forum for discussion and resolution of DEI issues and concerns within the campus community.  

  • Co-founding the LGBTQIA Resource Center in collaboration with Student Engagement and Well-Being (then-Student Affairs) and establishing the annual Lavender Graduation.  

  • Establishing DEI Dashboards, providing a snapshot of the Tech community and the DEI efforts being completed across the Institute.  

  • Providing a consistent commitment to build an open, welcoming, and inclusive environment for current and former students (including opening the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion in the newly renovated Chapin Building).  

  • Advancing efforts in DEI communication with and outreach to faculty, staff, students, and community partners.  

Under Ervin’s leadership, Tech has been recognized for its innovative and impactful programs that supported Tech’s DEI mission and vision. Georgia Tech has been regularly awarded the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity, having won the award nine times during his tenure. The award, a national honor that recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, is a direct result of the initiatives stemming from Ervin’s leadership during his time at Georgia Tech.  

Ervin is a longstanding, nationally recognized DEI expert and served as the president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education from 2016 to 2020. Ervin came to Georgia Tech after nine years of senior leadership as the associate provost and chief diversity officer at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — and a career that's been dedicated to advancing diversity in higher education.  

Transition decisions regarding his departure will be announced in the next couple of months. 

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