WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (JUNE 2, 2022)—Salem Academy and College has named AJ Mazaris (they/them/theirs), Ph.D., vice president for equity, diversity and inclusion. Mazaris is a highly respected diversity practitioner and scholar with extensive experience building programs, creating and leveraging relationships and planning and implementing strategic planning processes.
Prior to joining Salem, Mazaris served as assistant vice president for equitable policy in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Wake Forest University. In addition, Mazaris was the founding director of the LGBTQ+ Center at Wake Forest and served as an assistant teaching professor in the Wake Forest Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
During their leadership of the LGBTQ+ Center at Wake Forest, the Center expanded its staffing and budget by 300%, becoming an integral part of the campus fabric. The Center, which is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary, has provided education, advocacy and support to thousands of students, faculty and staff. Mazaris is particularly known for their attention to the needs of queer and trans students of color. Additionally, Mazaris has helped to raise the funds to endow multiple scholarships and initiatives to support LGBTQIA+. students. In their role as assistant vice president for equitable policy at Wake Forest, Mazaris authored recommendations on diversifying the student body for the President’s Commission on Race, Equity, and Community, and led the Committee on the Intersections of Bias, Expression, and the Code of Conduct in developing a Statement of Principles on Expression and Community Wellbeing, as well as recommending changes to Wake Forest’s Bias Response System and Code of Conduct.
“Recognizing the critical importance of equity, diversity and inclusion, Salem’s Board of Trustees has approved elevating the position to the vice-presidential level serving both the Academy and College,” Salem Academy and College President Summer Johnson McGee, Ph.D., CPH, said. “I look forward to working closely with AJ on a wide range of equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives to strengthen the campus experience at Salem.”
“As an equity and inclusion champion whose work spans advocacy, capacity building, fundraising, policy development and strategic change, AJ’s experience and expertise stood out to members of the search committee and the campus community,” institutional consultant and inclusion strategist and chair of Salem’s Search Committee Shayla Herndon-Edmunds said. “Above all, AJ is passionate about inclusive excellence in K-12 and higher education, community building and facilitating change that leads to equitable outcomes for all.”
Mazaris has received numerous honors and awards, including the Wake Forest University Excellence in Advising Award 2020; the North Star LGBTQ Center In Good Company Award 2017; the Jacob K. Javits Fellow, U.S. Department of Education from 2004 to 2009; and a Brown University Fellowship from 2003 to 2004.
Mazaris earned a B.A. in English, with general and departmental honors, from Vassar College. In addition, they received an M.A. in museum studies and American studies and a Ph.D. in American studies from Brown University. Mazaris is also a proud graduate of Ursuline Academy, an all-girls high school in Wilmington, Delaware.
“I am driven by a passionate belief in the power of higher education, and a deep understanding of the importance of building educational institutions that allow all of our constituents to thrive,” Mazaris said. “I look forward to working with Salem’s students, faculty and staff, in the Academy and the College, to fully embrace equity, diversity and inclusive excellence as core values that are intrinsically linked to Salem’s mission.”
About Salem Academy and College
Salem Academy and College, celebrating 250 years and built upon a foundation of empowering and preparing girls and women from all around the world to effect change, shatter expectations and lead. Exclusively focused on developing tomorrow’s health leaders and change agents in STEAM fields and beyond.
Salem Academy and College is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a vibrant college town known for arts and innovation. For more information about Salem Academy, please visit SalemAcademy.com. For more information about Salem College, please visit Salem.edu.