Karen A. Clinton Jones, Ph.D., a 1984 graduate of Buffalo State, has been appointed chief diversity officer (CDO) for Buffalo State, president Aaron Podolefsky announced today. Jones will lead and coordinate the university’s strategic approach to diversity in all aspects of campus life, focusing on education and employment equity, affirmative action, cultural understanding, cultural competency, and civil and human rights. She will report to Podolefsky.
For the past two years, Jones has served as executive director for equity and access at Virginia Tech, leading the development, implementation, and expansion of the university’s equal opportunity/affirmative action programs and hiring initiatives to prevent unlawful discrimination and harassment. She also ensured compliance with federal, state, local, and university regulations regarding access and nondiscriminatory practices for people with disabilities, and assisted campus leaders in reducing conflict and maintaining a positive work climate by promoting fairness in the workplace.
“With Dr. Jones as our chief diversity officer, Buffalo State will remain a leader in promoting the respect for diversity and individual differences both in and outside of the classroom,” Podolefsky said. “Dr. Jones takes to heart our institution’s long-standing commitment to diversity and the importance of diversity as one of our core values. She is a diversity professional who works well across all groups and academic disciplines, and we are delighted to welcome her home to her alma mater.”
Jones also served as director of corporate diversity at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in Rochester, New York, from 2006 to 2009, where she directed the corporate-wide diversity and inclusion strategic plan and related initiatives. From 2004 to 2006, she managed a voluntary mentoring program to assist underrepresented students with college adjustment and academic success as director of the CONNECT Program at St. John Fisher College in Rochester.
She has also held positions as a cultural relations specialist at Global Crossing North America (2000–2003), director of leadership and community development at the College at Brockport (1995–2000), and coordinator of ADA compliance in the Office for Students with Disabilities, also at Brockport (1990–1995).
“This is a wonderful opportunity, and I am excited to join the Buffalo State community as the new chief diversity officer,” Jones said. “To be selected to join the community, to build upon the many accomplishments already achieved, is both humbling and an honor I do not take lightly.”
As a member of the Rochester community, Jones served on several not-for-profit boards and community-based committees, including the St. John Fisher College School of Education’s Diversity Advisory Board, the Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue Advisory Board at Nazareth College, the Federal Bureau of Investigations Civil Rights Advisory Committee, the External Advisory Board for the Upward Bound Program at Monroe Community College, the Faith Community Alliance’s Education Committee, the Rochester Step-Off Education Foundation, and the Rochester Mayor’s Commission on Race and Ethnicity. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
Jones holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy, with a concentration in higher education, from the University at Buffalo, an M.S.Ed. in counselor education from the College at Brockport, and a B.S. in criminal justice from Buffalo State.