Meet the Assistant Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion

November 28, 2016

Lisa Smith-McQueenie

Lisa Smith-McQueenie filled us in on Diversity & Inclusion at Simmons.

What's your role at Simmons?

I am the Assistant Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion.

What made you make the move to work at Simmons?

I have a long history at Simmons holding various positions, leaving for other opportunities and returning to Simmons for even better experiences. I started at Simmons as a Resident Director in 1990 and also served as the Director of the Upward Bound Math/Science Program in the mid to late 90s. I returned to Simmons in the Office of the Dean for Student Life in 2002. The third time was definitely the charm as I engaged in important student affairs work, bridging the gap with academic affairs and supporting students as they navigated the college experience. 

Motivating, empowering, encouraging, educating and mentoring young people is a lifelong passion of mine. Simmons provides a unique environment that fuels my ability to live out this passion. I appreciate the relationships I have developed with all constituencies and the work that we have been able to do together only increases my connection to Simmons.

Tell us about Diversity and Inclusion at Simmons.

Simmons is committed to inclusive excellence in all aspects of an individual’s community experience. Our values, vision and mission mandate that we strive to create an environment that is free from bias, prejudice, discrimination and hurtful/hateful acts that can prevent each member from thriving in the Simmons community. Our value statement reflects that we honor the humanity, dignity and individuality of each member of our Simmons community.

We are committed to engaging one another to address the dynamic, evolving issues of our community and our world.

Why are the Diversity and Inclusion initiatives so important?

Diversity is necessary in all aspects of an educational and residential environment to ensure inclusive excellence. As an academic community, rich with varied life experiences, perspectives and values, we are uniquely positioned to facilitate the ongoing engagement and intellectual dialogue that honors the inherent and unique characteristics of each member of our community. This includes – but is not limited to – interrogating socially constructed concepts and addressing issues of power, phobia, isms, or any other detractors to building and sustaining an equitable community.

We prepare students to be well informed, open-minded and sensitive to the values and diversity of others. We strive to foster an atmosphere where students can become actively engaged leaders in a changing, diverse society. This affirmation of diversity and inclusion is applicable to all constituencies of Simmons. We promote this goal through the proactive and continual exchange of ideas among students, faculty and the general college community.

What's your favorite Simmons tradition?

Convocation. It represents the “passing of the torch” from seniors to first years, celebrating the successes and potential of each of those classes.

What's your favorite book?

The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

Fill in the blank: Simmons students inspire me because _____

they strive for excellence in all endeavors, despite the odds.

I love Simmons because _____

of the spirit and authenticity of the people here, transitory and long term.

People would be surprised to know that I _____

am not an alum.

What's your Simmons moment? 

My heart is full at Commencement – as I watch students cross the stage and think about their story and how they contributed to the Simmons story.