Five Questions: Dr. Angela Radford talks about the importance of inclusion and diversity at ETSU

Brandon Paykamian • Dec 28, 2018 at 4:28 PM

After a year-long journey of battling and beating breast cancer, Dr. Angela Radford Lewis is looking forward to fulfilling her role as vice provost and special assistant to the president for strategic initiatives, where she said she will provide leadership for East Tennessee State University’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. 

On Thursday, she emailed the Johnson City Press to tell us more about her job, personal interests, hobbies and more. 

Lewis Briefly: 

Favorite historical figure: Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman in U.S. Congress.

Hobbies: Motivational and inspirational speaking, experiencing local foods in different states and countries, cooking and church/community involvement.

Favorite qualities in a person: Honesty and having a joyful and hopeful spirit. 

Ideal vacation: “A visit to Italy to explore the architectural wonders and enjoy the country’s delicious cuisine.” 

What led you to your current job? 

Prior to coming to ETSU, I was a faculty member in the Department of Human Sciences at Middle Tennessee State University. My first administrative position began at ETSU and throughout the past 14 years, I have continued to serve in administrative roles.

I came to ETSU in 2004 to serve as the department chair for the former Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. In 2009, I moved to the Clemmer College of Education, where I served for five years as an associate dean and 17 months as the interim dean.

In 2015, I moved to academic affairs and have served as the associate vice provost for undergraduate education and vice provost for curricula, programs, and service prior to serving in my current position.

Diversity and service are two major pillars of ETSU’s strategic plan. I am very excited about my appointment to this position to provide effective leadership for diversity and inclusion and for service and community engagement.

I noticed you are now leading diversity and inclusion efforts at ETSU. Tell us a bit more about that, why that's important and what your role in this is.

My role at ETSU in leading diversity and inclusion efforts and expanding the service mission provides opportunities for me to work with people on campus and in our communities to address the challenges associated with increased diversity.

The goal is to provide leadership for the development and implementation of programming, professional development, inclusive curricula, activities, events, community engagement and service initiatives that will lead to an appropriate understanding, appreciation and inclusion of all those associated with the ETSU family and the communities we serve.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing staff and students on college campuses today and why? 

College campuses are plagued by budget cuts, reduced funding, changing demographics and increased tuition costs, to name a few. College campuses are steadily becoming more diverse.

As a result of this increase in diversity, one of the biggest challenges we face today is the failure to understand and appreciate the differences we each bring to our campuses and the failure to recognize and appreciate the many things we all have in common.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

When a person enters a space and fails to acknowledge and greet those present, whether getting ready for a meeting, entering a place of business or just in a casual setting. Everyone deserves to be acknowledged and greeted, which can be as simple as saying, ‘Hello!’”

What's an interesting fact about yourself many do not know?

I am a certified funeral director – a role in which I can use my skills and compassionate spirit to serve families during their greatest time of need.

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