Purdue University Global names vice president of organizational culture and chief diversity officer

WEST LAFAYETTE — Tiffany G. Townsend, Ph.D. is eager to strengthen Purdue University Global’s robust reputation as a leader in online education. She has been hired as vice president of organizational culture and chief diversity officer, beginning July 1 and reporting to Chancellor Frank Dooley as a member of the university’s senior leadership team.

In this newly created position, Townsend will support Purdue University Global’s mission and strategy by fostering a learning environment that is diverse, inclusive, and equitable for all students, faculty, staff, and administrators. She will guide and implement diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at both the institutional and department levels while supporting and building systems of inclusion through policies, procedures, practices, customs, and leadership. In addition, Townsend will foster collaborative relationships within the Purdue University system to align strategies and initiatives.

“As an online, public university that is tied to a very strong educational legacy, Purdue University Global is well-positioned to dramatically change the landscape of higher education, particularly as it relates to making education more accessible and affordable to a vast array of students,” Townsend said. “I am extremely excited to join the team at Purdue Global, and I look forward to working with the Purdue Global community to reimagine higher education.”

Tiffany Townsend, Purdue University Global

As a clinician and scholar, Townsend has worked for over two decades to ensure that all individuals, regardless of ethnicity, sex, or socioeconomic status, have access to the knowledge and resources necessary to facilitate healthy functioning and overall wellbeing.

“The entire university is excited that Dr. Townsend is bringing her expertise, experience, and insights to Purdue University Global,” Dooley said. “With her as a key member of our team, we will be a better and more relevant university.”

Townsend comes to Purdue University Global from Augusta University, where she has held dual positions of chief diversity officer and associate professor of psychological sciences since 2019. She established a comprehensive DEI training program that included a suite of diversity courses, in-person workshops, and online training modules to ensure that all students, staff, and faculty were exposed to fundamental DEI concepts and principles.

Townsend also currently serves as president of the Georgia Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education and has been selected as a fellow with the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

“During the search process, I was very impressed by Purdue Global’s commitment to creating an equitable work and learning environment for its students, staff, and faculty,” Townsend said. “I want to thank the search committee, members of the university community and especially Chancellor Dooley for entrusting me to be the first to lead this effort.

“My role as the inaugural chief diversity officer will be to harness the energy for DEI that is already present at the university and work to co-create a plan with the Purdue Global community to realize its equity vision.”

Prior to Augusta University, Townsend was senior director of the Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs for the American Psychological Association from 2011-19. She previously held faculty positions at Georgetown University Medical School (2006-19) and Penn State University (1998-2006).

Townsend earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology fromSpelman College. She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from George Washington University. Her work has been featured in several journals, books and media outlets, including the Washingtonian, Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune.

About Purdue University Global

Purdue University Global delivers personalized online education tailored to the unique needs of adults who have work or life experience beyond the classroom, enabling them to develop essential academic and professional skills with the support and flexibility they need to achieve their career goals. It offers personalized paths for students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, desired pace, military service, previous college credits, and other considerations – no matter where they are in their life journey. Purdue University Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is affiliated with Purdue University’s flagship institution, a highly ranked public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue University also operates regional campuses in Fort Wayne and Northwest Indiana, as well as serving science, engineering, and technology students at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus. For more information, visit purdueglobal.edu.

Information: Tom Schott, tschott@purdue.edu

Sources: Frank Dooley and Tiffany Townsend