SUNY Cobleskill is proud to announce that Derwin Bennett has been appointed Chief Diversity Officer at the College. Bennett, who formerly served as SUNY Cobleskill’s Director of Educational Support Services (ESS), is eager to serve in his new role, expanding on the office’s strategic initiatives.
Bennett has been a member of SUNY Cobleskill’s community since 1993, starting as a Residence Hall Director, then as Director of the College’s Educational Opportunity Program. He has served as Chair of SUNY Cobleskill’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and as Chair of the College’s Intercollegiate Athletic Board. Bennett also played a leading role in securing a $10,000 grant to establish the Cobleskill Exploration Experience of Knowledge on Diversity Initiative (CEEK). SUNY Cobleskill was one of three SUNY colleges to receive the grant, which lead to a campus climate study and a diversity training program.
“Our diversity not only defines us but describes our character. The Chief Diversity Officer plays a critical role in our formation as a just society, and we are fortunate to move from one talented leader to another,” said Dr. Marion Terenzio, president of SUNY Cobleskill. “The diverseness of our campus adds intellectual and social vibrancy to our College and prepares our students to thrive in our changing world.”
“Diversity, equity and inclusion, DEI as it’s known, has been a part of my career from the start. I do not view it as work; I see it as an effort and a service,” said Bennett. “There will never be such a time when I can say my job is done. It is a continuum of effort each day, each month, and each year. I want to thank Dr. Terenzio for this opportunity and Dr. Ferguson for his work in establishing this office. My ambition is to look at our mission, vision, and values through the lens of DEI and the principles of a ‘One Coby.’”
Bennett takes over for Dr. Scott Ferguson, the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer at SUNY Cobleskill. Under Dr. Ferguson’s guidance, the College created the DEI Council, its first campus governance committee, which now has representation from across the institution. Dr. Ferguson also led the implementation of the ProdiG Plan at the College, commissioned by SUNY to increase faculty diversity on its campuses.
SUNY Cobleskill is committed to creating a community that fosters the exchange of ideas in a respectful and non-threatening way and creates better understanding, awareness, and opportunities to learn from one another.