The Wharton School has appointed Renita Miller as the business school’s first-ever chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer.
Wharton Dean Erika James made the announcement in an Aug. 22 email to Wharton undergraduates. Miller will enter the position on Oct. 1 and report to James. She comes to Penn from Princeton University, where she spent over four years as the associate dean for access, diversity, and inclusion and the executive director of the pre-doctoral fellowship initiative at the Princeton Graduate School.
“In her role at Wharton, Renita will report directly to me to align and amplify our existing and exploratory DEI practices to solidify a culture of dignity, respect, and transparency through the appreciation of differences,” James wrote in the announcement.
Miller will work with numerous offices at Penn and Wharton to integrate inclusive practices into core academic activities of the school, such as supporting diversity practices in staff hiring and development, increasing opportunities for meaningful progress in conversations, and helping promote diversity, equity, and inclusion understanding and engagement among alumni.
Upon her arrival to Penn, Miller plans to reach out to the offices and departments to continue the work of Wharton’s existing diversity initiatives.
For example, the Wharton Undergraduate Division offers funding for student-run speaker events that focus on “diversity, equity, and inclusion and that inspire dialogue and community engagement.” In March 2021, the Wharton Center for Leadership and Change Management launched an initiative in partnership with Deloitte to support research on under-represented minorities in the workplace with a focus on women of color.
At Princeton, Miller’s efforts saw an increase in the number of under-represented minorities applying to and accepting offers for Princeton degree programs. She also has held the position of dean of Berkeley College at Yale University.
“Renita is well-versed in the data-informed practices necessary for success in this position, and will bring a spirit of leadership, empirical thinking and open perspective to the School,” James wrote.
Last October, the School of Arts and Sciences appointed Brighid Dwyer as its inaugural Vice Dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the school.
“I am delighted to take my expertise, passion, and joy for this work to The Wharton School and work under the incredible leadership of Dean Erika James where I will continue to serve a mission towards enhancing equity, opportunity, and belonging in even more impactful ways,” Miller wrote in a LinkedIn post. “I look forward to joining the amazing community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni of The Wharton School and UPenn!”