Department of Communication Chairperson Patricia Parker will enter her new role as director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities on July 1.
Parker will be the first Black woman to direct the IAH. Since its founding in 1987, the IAH has only been directed by white men.
From 2012 to 2015, Parker was the inaugural director of faculty diversity initiatives for the College of Arts and Sciences and spearheaded the development of its diversity liaison program. Currently, she also serves as co-chairperson for the Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward.
Parker's vision for the Institute for the Arts and Humanities is for it to be a "sure place," where faculty can anchor themselves and support one another in their work.
"For me, that sure place represents a place to have tough conversations, a place to convene and for the arts and humanities to flourish and for faculty to flourish," Parker said.
Parker's goals for the IAH are centered around developing collaborations, forming strategic partnerships and imagining the future together.
The IAH is a place for faculty to come together and support one another in their creative efforts and research, with the goal of maintaining a world-class faculty, Parker said. The IAH's website states at the heart of its mission is "the affirmation of the crucial value of the arts and humanities to the life of the University and the world."
Parker said she believes the arts and humanities have an important place in the world, especially in light of racial inequity and other injustices that the nation is currently facing. She said it is a "distinct honor" for her to lead the IAH at this point in history.