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Michigan Engineering hires first leader for culture, community and equity

Kimberly Burton to collaborate on diversity and inclusion activities across the College.

Michigan Engineering appointed Kimberly Burton as the College’s first Executive Director for Culture, Community and Equity on September 1, 2021.

Burton, a two-time University of Michigan alumna, will join the College’s leadership team to lead the Culture pillar of its strategic plan and assist in coordinating the implementation of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) activities across the College. 

“The creation of this executive director position solidifies our long-term commitment to implementing lasting change at Michigan Engineering,” said Alec D. Gallimore, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and a professor of aerospace engineering. “Kimberly joins us at a critical time in realizing our vision for a new equity-centered engineering future, when we are pioneering new approaches to educate engineers who work to close—rather than unintentionally expand— societal gaps.”

Burton joins the College after serving as CEO for the American Red Cross in the State of Michigan, where she initiated the first state-wide diversity and inclusion initiative. As Vice President for Diversity and Inclusive Practices and Corporate Services for the Council of Michigan Foundations, Burton led efforts to institutionalize diversity and inclusion in philanthropy throughout Michigan. She also created The Michigan Forum for African Americans in Philanthropy, (MFAAP) a mentoring program that has been replicated throughout the Midwest.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion have always been a passion for me, and as an alumna I am extremely pleased to see that the university has made this such an integral part of its culture,” said Burton. “It is in every engineer’s makeup to want to solve the world’s problems, and in order for us to be successful we need to be culturally competent and step out of our biases and blindspots.” 

As Executive Director for Culture, Community and Equity, Burton will be responsible for serving as a DEI content and practitioner expert, overseeing the Center for Engineering Diversity and Outreach, assisting with the recruitment and retention of underserved student populations and collaborating with College leadership to develop and achieve faculty and staff DEI objectives.

“I am excited to welcome Kimberly Burton to our team to work on the next phase of our plans, including the implementation of our community team DEI education plans,” said Sara Pozzi, Director of DEI and professor of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences. “I look forward to working together towards a better future with more DEI for everyone at Michigan Engineering and beyond.”

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