El pagnier Kay “EK” Hudson has been appointed FIU’s first vice provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, leading a new division created to address inequities at the university.
Hudson, who was also promoted to the position of senior vice president for Human Resources, led FIU’s anti-racism efforts through the Equity Action Initiative (EAI), in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and other incidents of racial injustice. President Mark B. Rosenberg created EAI to identify issues of systemic racism, bias, and inequity at FIU and provide actionable steps to eradicate them. That work evolved into the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
“We are mindful of the injustice, inequality and racism that continue to haunt minority and underrepresented communities in cities across America,” Rosenberg said. “We can do better. Senior Vice President Hudson has worked tirelessly over the past several months to help us take a hard look at FIU and determine how we can make sure every Panther knows they belong and can excel at FIU. EK Hudson is precisely the leader we need at this moment in our journey to a better university.”
The EAI was co-chaired by Hudson, Valerie Patterson, director of the African & African-Diaspora Studies Program in the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, and FIU Police Capt. Delrish Moss, former police chief of Ferguson, Missouri. The project brought together faculty and staff from across the university who spoke with students, faculty, staff, students, alumni, retirees, university leaders and members of the South Florida community, as well as reviewed FIU practices and procedures, and researched best practices associated with diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Based on that work, the group made recommendations to university leadership released in a report on Monday.
Hudson said one of her new division’s first projects will be to craft a strategy and timeline for implementing the EAI recommendations. Areas of focus, based on the EAI review, include increasing the number of tenured Black faculty and Black employees in leadership positions, enhancing the African & African Diaspora program, improving recruitment and retention of Black students and additional police training.
“I am both excited and humbled by the incredible opportunity to lead the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion division for FIU,” Hudson said. “The creation of this division demonstrates the commitment and courage of our university leadership to make sure that everyone is included, everyone is considered and that the playing field is level.”
As a result of the EAI’s work, FIU already has implemented several initiatives to address diversity, which include updating FIU police training, incorporating equity and inclusion in the orientation program for new employees, and developing a university anti-racism statement. The EAI also participated in a Black medical student town hall and collaborated with Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine Dean Robert Sackstein to begin a lecture series in the medical school.
“Although FIU is more diverse than other universities, we still do not reflect our community when it comes to Black students, faculty and staff,” Hudson said. “FIU cannot look the same next year as we do today. We must be intentional in our efforts to move the needle, put fuel behind words and catapult our FIU toward a transformation.”
Hudson, 57, came to FIU in 2010 as assistant vice president for Human Resources. She was named interim vice president of Human Resources in 2018 and appointed Vice President in 2019. In that role, she oversees the full complement of HR disciplines that include employee and labor relations, employee engagement initiatives, and the Office of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access.
With more than 28 years of experience in the HR field, Hudson currently serves as a board member for the Florida Chapter of the College and University Professional Association (CUPA-HR). She is a past-chair for the College and University HR Executives (CUHRE) Consortium, serves as an executive board member to lead urban/community growth with the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and recently joined the Board of Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC) of South Florida.
Hudson grew up in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood and graduated from Miami Northwestern Senior High School. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida A&M University. Hudson, who lives in Delray Beach with her husband Winston G. Hudson, is the mother of three daughters – two of them FIU graduate students – and has two granddaughters.