Brock University has appointed its first Director of Human Rights and Equity (HRE) to further advance diversity, equity and inclusion, and to promote a welcoming and collegial environment across the University community.
Leela MadhavaRau will take on the new role, effective Sept. 5.
She joins Brock from California’s University of Redlands, where she most recently served as Associate Dean and Advisor to the President for Campus Diversity and Inclusion. She has extensive leadership experience in both the Canadian and American university setting.
The new Director of the Office of Human Rights and Equity will report directly to President Gervan Fearon.
“It is an exciting time for Brock as we move forward in fostering an institutional culture and practices around diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as a safe and nurturing University environment,” Fearon said. “Leela’s proven leadership and experience will be a vital part of these developments. I know the entire University community will welcome her and the contributions she will make to Brock students, faculty and staff.”
While HRE remains an independent office of complaint resolution and equity programming, the new reporting line emphasizes the priority placed on human rights and equity, along with university culture, by the President and senior administration. It supports a recommendation by the University’s Human Rights Task Force to enhance the importance of human rights in the University structure.
The Task Force issued its final report in May 2017, which prompted the creation of the President’s Advisory Committee for Human Rights, Equity and Decolonization.
MadhavaRau said she is looking forward to taking on the new Director role at Brock.
“The position fulfils both professional and personal ambitions — allowing me to work at an institution committed to creating and promoting equity and inclusion across campus in a systemic manner. My return to the Niagara region will also bring me closer to my family,” she said. “Brock impressed me during my visit with the intentionality around which this position was created, and I particularly like the reporting line to Dr. Fearon.”
With more than 25 years of experience in the Human Rights and Equity field, MadhavaRau said the work “can be as challenging as it is rewarding.”
“I believe I bring experiences to assist Brock with meeting the challenges and to support the opportunities,” she said. “The University’s openness to developing this position and the obvious collaboration across campus will make my early days easier. I look forward to speaking with all constituencies after my arrival on campus at the beginning of September.”