KINGSTON, N.Y. – County Executive Pat Ryan announced today the appointment of Dr. Wazir Suni Jefferson as Ulster County’s first-ever Chief Diversity Officer. Dr. Wazir Suni Jefferson has dedicated his career to advancing dialogue, inclusion, and equity. Dr. Jefferson most recently served as the Chief Diversity Officer of Dutchess Community College. In addition, he worked at the Student Success Advocate with the Office of Undergraduate Studies in the Student Success and Empowerment Initiative (SSEI) and as a Special Assistant to the Associate Vice President for Equity and Diversity at the University of Utah. Dr. Jefferson also served as Co-Director of Programming and Outreach Initiatives at Skidmore College where he has facilitated, taught, and consulted with a number of institutions of higher education, non-profits, celebrities, and businesses towards diversity awareness and inclusion training.
“Dr. Jefferson’s extensive experience, expertise, and drive will play a critical role in fulfilling Team Ulster County’s commitment to ensuring equity and justice for all residents,” County Executive Pat Ryan said. “Our Ulster County workforce should be representative of our population. I look forward to working with Dr. Jefferson in his role as the county’s first-ever Chief Diversity Officer to ensure that our workforce is reflective of our communities in order to better serve the needs of all Ulster County residents.”
“I approach this new opportunity with hope and the listening of new possibilities for all who want to approach in the process of unlearning and relearning ways of engaging diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Dr. Wazir Suni Jefferson said. “We all have a part to contribute towards making the world a better place. Why not continue these efforts in Ulster County where everybody has something to contribute, teach, and learn.”
He is a graduate of the University of Utah where he completed his Doctorate of Education in Administration with a Higher Education focus from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. His dissertation, “Our Path Unwinding: Conversations and Reflections on Diversity Through Dialogue,” reveals his training in Intergroup Dialogue (IGR). He has several years of experience in access and achievement work that includes teaching IGR courses at the University of Utah, serving as the Coordinator for Diversity Education at the University of Utah – Housing Residential Education (HRE) and as the Community Facilitator at the Community Living and Learning Center (CLLC) at George Washington University. He also holds a Master of Arts in Education in Human Resource Development (M.A.Ed) /Organizational Studies (HRD) from George Washington University and a Bachelors in Business Administration (B.B.A.) from Temple University. Dr. Jefferson is a native New Yorker from Poughkeepsie, New York.