Meet Diane Forbes Berthoud, a boss on diversity

Diane Forbes Berthoud, Ph.D., has assumed her role as the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) first Chief Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer (CEDIO).

As CEDIO/VP, she will steward UMB’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion; catalyze the institutional change necessary for deepening and strengthening that commitment; and design and operationalize a transparent accountability framework to measure and evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the University’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives at every level of the institution. 

“I am eager to work together with Diane to identify issues and improve structures and systems at our University to continue to build a culture that is truly inclusive and equitable for every member of our community,” says UMB President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS. “I was so impressed with the thoughtful and collaborative way Diane has interacted with her UMB colleagues during the search process. It’s no wonder she was able to accomplish so much at the University of California, San Diego.”

Forbes Berthoud has held several critical positions at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) since 2011, most recently as Associate Vice Chancellor of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

In that role she led the management of UCSD’s first Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence, directed central aspects of an accountability process involving senior leadership, provided leadership in the development of accountability data dashboards to track key metrics, and oversaw the creation of an equity, diversity, and inclusion best practices resource and diversity strategic planning toolkit to guide the planning and implementation processes.

Diane Forbes Berthoud, PhD, MA, University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) first Chief Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer and Vice President (CEDIO/VP),

As CEDIO/VP, Forbes Berthoud works in close collaboration with the provost and other senior University officials, leading the development of a strategic action plan that will leverage current efforts, and also create a sustainable infrastructure that affects every aspect and every level of UMB.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to bring my experience and passion to UMB and I look forward to working together with every part of the University community to achieve our goals,” says Forbes Berthoud. “The work of equity, diversity, inclusion is not a solo job. It’s not the Chief Diversity Officer saying, ‘This is theway.’ It is really understanding both the principles and the values, sharing those in a leadership role, and bringing everyone into that picture to achieve a cohesive vision and to have outcomes that will really move the institution toward greater excellence.”

Prior to serving as UCSD’s Associate Vice Chancellor of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Forbes Berthoud oversaw academic planning, strategic planning, and implementation as an Academic Director of the university’s 4,000-student Sixth College. She served on the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women, developed and enhanced the global education program, and was honored with the university-wide Diversity award for outstanding efforts in advancing UCSD’s academic and institutional goals in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Forbes Berthoud was also founding faculty of the RISE San Diego Urban Leadership Fellows Program, a partnership with the University of San Diego to advance leadership and workforce development and civic engagement, and she was recognized as a 2020 San Diego Woman of Distinction by San Diego Woman Magazine for her contributions to higher education, community, and society.

Forbes Berthoud also has considerable history in the Baltimore-Washington Region, serving as faculty and lecturer at George Washington University, George Mason University, Howard University, the University of Maryland, College Park, and Trinity University, where she was associate professor and chair of the Communications Department. Outside of academia, she also served as an organizational development consultant with Montgomery County government and the American Psychological Association, and Ombudsperson at the U.S. Capitol.

Forbes Berthoud received a PhD and MA in Organizational Communication and Social Psychology from Howard University, and a BA in Communication and a certificate in Spanish Translation and Interpretation from Barry University. She holds a management certificate from the University of California, a certificate in mediation from the National Center for Conflict Resolution, and she is a graduate of the UC-Coro Systemwide Leadership Program.

She was named UMB’s inaugural CEDIO/VP following a national search and rigorous selection process organized and conducted by selection committee co-chairs, Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Bill and Joanne Conway Dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing, and Dawn M. Rhodes, DBA, MBA, UMB chief business and finance officer and senior vice president.

“Diane brings a rich array of experiences working with students, faculty, and staff in higher education as well as a proven track record of effectively engaging community stakeholders in initiatives focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion,” says Kirschling. 

“Diane was exceptionally impressive at every stage of the search process,” adds Rhodes. “I am convinced that her previous experience on a health science campus positions her well as the inaugural CEDIO/VP for UMB.”    

Diane Forbes Berthoud, PhD, MA, University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) first Chief Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer and Vice President (CEDIO/VP),

Forbes Berthoud won high praise during the rigorous selection process for her views on the evolution of the role of equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education.

“Previously, there was a lot of focus on diversity — who was in the room — looking at representation, and representation does matter. And we have made some strides in some areas,” Forbes Berthoud told a UMB town hall audience in January, adding that some progress is also being made on inclusion in decision-making, and in programs at all levels of academia.

“Equity is really thinking about what the history and the structural barriers have been for traditionally marginalized populations, for groups that are underserved and underrepresented. Equity is concerned with barriers and disparities and recognizing them,” she said. Stronger investment in such things as infrastructure, offices, staff resources, and pipeline programs will not only facilitate a greater examination of those barriers, “but now will establish the kinds of structures and the strategies and tactics to bring about the change that’s needed.”

“We have to be open to understanding how issues of the past impact our present reality, and what our individual and collective roles are in creating a more equitable and inclusive culture,” says Jarrell. “And I am confident that Diane Forbes Berthoud will play a critical role as an adviser, a leader, and a catalyst for the institutional change we seek.”

Featured Image Caption: Diane Forbes Berthoud, PhD, MA, University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) first Chief Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer and Vice President (CEDIO/VP).