A Message from President Radenka Maric

Regarding UConn's Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer

The official University of Connecticut seal, in painted gold on an oak panel.

(Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

To the UConn community:

I write to let you know that Frank Tuitt, who has served as UConn’s vice president and chief diversity officer since 2020, has been named an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow for academic year 2024 – 2025. He is one of only 26 selected nationally for this prestigious fellowship during the upcoming year.

Since its inception in 1965, the Fellows Program has strengthened institutions in American higher education by identifying and preparing over 2,500 faculty, staff, and administrators for senior positions in college and university leadership through its distinctive and intensive cohort-based mentorship model.

The Fellows program incorporates its signature features such as retreats, interactive and virtual learning opportunities, visits to campuses and other higher education-related organizations, high-level engagement with senior officers at their host institutions, and an opportunity to focus on issues of interest that will benefit both their host and home institutions.

Frank will join an accomplished group of senior and executive level leaders from institutions across the United States for the 2024-2025 cohort.

Please join me in congratulating Frank on this incredible opportunity. In light of this, Frank will be stepping down from his role as vice president/CDO on May 17, 2024, to start his fellowship. He will return to UConn at the conclusion of his fellowship to resume his teaching and research program as a member of the faculty in the Neag School of Education.

Under Frank’s leadership, ODI has:

  • Enhanced the visibility and awareness of UConn’s many diverse communities through monthly cultural heritage letters and weekly ODI updates. These regular communications have helped communities often marginalized in higher education feel seen, heard, valued, and welcomed.
  • Successfully advanced several collaborative initiatives designed to expand efforts to promote an inclusive and anti-racist institutional environment such as the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation at UConn and the ICARE4Justice
  • In collaboration with University Communications, developed a university-wide DEIJ web portal that makes accessible to the UConn community and its guests the many DEI services and engagement opportunities available across the institution.
  • In collaboration with the Provost’ Office, developed the Faculty Hiring Handbook, a resource which provides best practices for diversity in faculty hiring.
  • Developed the ODI Faculty Fellows Program, which provided leadership development opportunities for UConn faculty members interested in supporting university-wide efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion across the institution.
  • Established the ODI Commons on the first floor of the Student Union. ODI Commons is the home of the Middle Eastern Cultural Programs (MECP) and the Native American Cultural Programs (NACP), and also serves as a space for events celebrating intersectional identities.

I want to thank Frank and his entire team for their work and many contributions to our community.

In addition, I am pleased to announce that Dr. Jeffrey Hines, currently associate vice president for ODI and chief diversity officer at UConn Health, will be named interim VP and CDO for UConn and UConn Health effective May 1, 2024.

Jeff joined UConn Health in 2022 as its inaugural chief diversity officer. He came to us from Georgia’s large Wellstar health system. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Brown University and completed residency training in obstetrics and gynecology, and a fellowship in gynecologic oncology. He was also deployed with the First Cavalry Division as a Battalion Surgeon during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.

In addition to his duties as Chief Diversity Officer at UConn Health, Jeff currently has faculty appointments in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Public Health Sciences at the UConn School of Medicine.

He is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and a Full Member of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists. He is also a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the National Medical Association.

He serves on the editorial board for the journal Gynecologic Oncology. Additionally, Jeff serves on the board of directors for the Society of Gynecologic Oncology and is the chair of the diversity, inclusion, and health equity committee for the Society of Gynecologic Oncology. He is a member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.
Jeff has an extensive research background and interests, and is widely published in the field of papillomaviruses, cervical cancer vaccines, clinical cancer trials, disparities in health care, undergraduate student education, health equity, and racism in medicine. He has presented his work at national and international meetings.

He is a 2022 graduate of Leadership Greater Hartford. He is a member of the State of Connecticut Comptroller’s Health Equity Cabinet and a member of the Connecticut Hospital Association community health and equity committee. He also currently serves on the Corporation Board of Fellows at Brown University, the Board of Directors for the Urban League of Greater Hartford, and the Board of Directors for The Amistad Center for Art and Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

He has a wealth of experience in developing diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plans; implementing frameworks for achieving health excellence through health equity; addressing disparities in healthcare; and in facilitating university and healthcare leaders’ efforts to implement best practices that align diversity and inclusion strategies with core business objectives.

His leadership has built upon UConn Health’s strong diversity commitment and efforts. Since joining UConn Health, he has:

  • Collaborated with the graduate medical education office to create five affinity groups for residents and fellows;
  • Established the monthly “Huddle – Word of the Month” initiative to drive individual and unit-level cultural awareness and culture evolution;
  • Established a diversity council for John Dempsey Hospital;
  • Established a monthly dialogue series with members of the CEO’s cabinet around consequential topics in DEIJ;
  • Contributed to educational and training content for faculty, staff, and learners around topics such as identity, implicit bias, cultural humility, and microaggressions.

Please join me in thanking both Frank and Jeff for their services and in wishing them all the best in their new roles.