Barbara J. Lawrence, J.D., M.P.A.

Barbara J. Lawrence Image
Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity, Chief Diversity Officer, and Title IX Coordinator
About Barbara

Barbara Lawrence was named Vice President for Institutional Equity and Diversity on July 1, 2023.

Working with stakeholders across the University, she leads the continued development and implementation of the University's DEIAB strategic plan and all University-wide DEIAB efforts, including providing oversight for the University's Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

Barbara joined the University from Rider University, where she served as the institution's inaugural vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion and chief diversity officer since 2021. She also was the first African American to serve as vice president at the cabinet level in Rider University's 158-year history.

During her first year at Rider, she created and launched Rider's new Division of Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She also provided oversight for Rider's Inclusive Excellence Plan; advised the president and cabinet on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion; and chaired the President's Council on Inclusion.

In addition, Barbara collaborated with Academic Affairs to embed justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion into the curriculum; worked with Enrollment Management to build out bridge and pipeline programs to diversify the student body; and partnered with Student Affairs to help ensure mental health support was available for all students. She also led efforts in advocating for resources and support needed to apply best practices to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives.

Prior to Rider, Barbara served as vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Guilford College, where she held several administrative roles and was the founding director of the Wiser Justice Program, Guilford's Higher Education in Prison Initiative, and she was founding chair of the Greensboro Interim Civilian Police Review Committee. At Guilford, she also served as associate academic dean, chair of the Department of Justice and Policy Studies, and as associate professor of criminal justice and community & justice studies.

Before her career in higher-education, Barbara was an NYPD police officer, investigator, and trainer; an assistant prosecuting attorney for the Marion County (Indiana) Prosecutor's Office; and a training consultant for the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, the San Francisco County Court Youth Treatment and Education Center, and other juvenile and criminal justice programs and police departments.

Barbara is a member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, and the Association of Title IX Administrators. She earned her J.D. from the Indiana University School of Law, her Master of Public Administration from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, and her B.S. in criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.