University appoints first chief inclusion and diversity officer

Christopher Manning will start his position in March after nearly 20 years at Loyola University Chicago.

After a nationwide search that began over the summer, the University has named its first Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, President Carol Folt announced in an email to the USC community on Feb. 8.

Christopher Manning, who most recently served as an associate provost for academic diversity at Loyola University Chicago, will start his new position March 1.

Folt announced the creation of the Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer position in July after widespread calls from the USC community for the University to acknowledge and correct its own history of systemic racism. The University searched for potential candidates throughout the Fall semester.

As a member of the University’s senior leadership team, Manning will report directly to Folt. His position encompasses prioritizing inclusion, diversity and anti-racism within all University affairs, including University programs and policies.

Manning will work to create campus-wide diversity and inclusion initiatives and policies and will lead the University’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. He’ll also help lead the President and Provost’s Taskforce on Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Department of Public Safety Community Advisory Board.

“Chris will also work closely with academic and administrative leaders across USC to increase opportunities for student, staff, and faculty success, build supportive and compassionate environments, and press for equity and integrity in everything we do,” Folt said in the email. “Chris has a strong track record as an effective collaborator and understands that our success will be dependent on our willingness to work together toward common goals.”

Before coming to USC, Manning worked at Loyola University Chicago for nearly two decades where he developed and worked on diversity initiatives for students and faculty and also ran the University’s history department, teaching courses in African American history, oral history method and theory and the Chicago civil rights movement. Manning also completed a yearlong fellowship with the American Council on Education at San Diego State University last year, where he was trained in university leadership and operations.

He previously earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and his master’s and Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University.