Posted March 10, 2016

New advisor focuses on diversity, equity and Title IX

Valerie I. Harrison brings decades of higher education leadership to the newly appointed role.

President Neil D. Theobald has announced he is centralizing and strengthening university compliance efforts, with a focus on diversity, equity and Title IX. To lead this important universitywide initiative, Theobald has named Valerie I. Harrison, CLA, ’07, ’15, the senior advisor to the president for compliance. Harrison has been serving as senior associate university counsel at Temple. She will immediately begin to assemble a team to develop, implement and coordinate the university’s efforts.

The Office of Equal Opportunity Compliance (EOC) will report to Harrison. EOC, which works with all facets of the university, serves as a focal point of Temple's institution-wide efforts for equal opportunity, equal access and affirmative action. The EOC provides direction through information, assistance and complaint investigation. EOC is responsible for implementing Temple's nondiscrimination policy and the university's Affirmative Action Program. 

"I am committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment at Temple."
-- Valerie I. Harrison, senior advisor to the president for compliance
Harrison will also appoint a Title IX coordinator to ensure quality services for investigations involving sexual assault. The appointment of this position addresses one of the key recommendations that stemmed from the committee the president appointed in 2014 to review policies, procedures and campus climate regarding sexual misconduct. The committee’s findings prioritized the need for education, training, awareness, accessibility of policies and resources offered by Temple and other agencies related to sexual misconduct, as well as a centralized sexual misconduct office.  

“Campus sexual misconduct is one of the most important issues facing higher education today, and it is imperative that we take immediate steps to improve reporting of these incidents and reduce the incidence of sexual assault on our campus,” Theobald said. 

Also reporting to Harrison is Tiffenia Archie, CLA ’94, ’03, named assistant vice president of the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership (IDEAL). Archie has served as interim associate vice president for IDEAL since May 2015, and previously was director of faculty recruitment and retention for IDEAL. Archie will bring energy, vitality and commitment in her role as an advocate and leader in creating a community of respect and inclusion. Archie earned a BA, magna cum laude, in psychology and sociology from Albright College and an MA and PhD in sociology from Temple. 

A thought leader in her field, Harrison sees this opportunity to lead and foster a community as building on Theobald’s commitment to diversity, equity, social justice and inclusion. Her efforts will also further the university’s commitment to It’s On Us, the national campaign launched by President Barack Obama in September 2014 to help put an end to sexual assault on college campuses.

“I am committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment at Temple where everyone feels free to study, live and participate in our community,” said Harrison. “Combining the university’s resources, reporting and resolution of harassment and compliance issues under one umbrella will help us more efficiently address challenges and build awareness among all constituents.”

A highly respected attorney with nearly two decades of leadership experience in higher education, Harrison is uniquely qualified for this important new role. She will draw on her legal background and research interests to engage the Temple community in thinking and acting in ways that support a culture of acceptance, inclusion and respect.

Harrison rejoined Temple after serving as acting president of Lincoln University and previously general counsel at Lincoln. She also served as associate university counsel at Temple for more than a decade and vice president for legal affairs and general counsel at Arcadia University. Her experiences contribute to a broad understanding and appreciation for providing a safe and healthy campus environment. 

Active in the local community, Harrison has served on a number of boards and is the chair of the board of the Art Sanctuary, an organization that uses black art to bring people together in a way that erases differences. Harrison earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia, a juris doctorate from Villanova University School of Law, a master’s degree in liberal arts and a doctorate in African-American Studies at Temple.