As Candler’s student body grows more diverse each year, a new staff position has been created in the Office of Student Life (OSL) to address issues related to equity and inclusion. Candler alumna Allison Henderson-Brooks 19T has been named the school’s inaugural assistant director of student life for diversity, equity and inclusion. Henderson-Brooks also serves as program coordinator for Candler’s Doctor of Ministry degree.

“Intentionality is key in our ongoing desire to better foster diversity, equity, and inclusion, vital components of beloved community at Candler,” says Dean Jan Love. “Establishing this new role in the Office of Student Life is an important step that will allow us both as an institution and as individuals to be more fully equipped and responsive to the needs of our diverse student body. Allison’s deep understanding of the Candler community through her years as a student leader and now as a staff member make her an excellent choice to launch this crucial endeavor.”

In her new role, Henderson-Brooks will meet with students both individually and in group settings to hear concerns and address issues of equity and inclusion. She will collaborate with OSL to develop opportunities for students around these topics, and with departments schoolwide to create programming for faculty and staff that fosters equity and inclusion for students. As part of the OSL team, she will work to ensure that programs supporting academics, community and spiritual life, and professional development address the needs of a diverse student body. Finally, Henderson-Brooks will serve as an advocate for students, reporting regularly to the Candler administration to highlight concerns and successes.

Assistant Dean of Student Life and Spiritual Formation Ellen Echols Purdum notes that Henderson-Brooks’s specific work will complement and further enhance the ongoing work of the OSL.

“My colleagues Quentin Samuels, Sarah Carlson, Zane McGee and I are so pleased to welcome Allison to the Office of Student Life team,” she says. “Together with our 15 student staffers, who make up a snapshot of the wonderful diversity in Candler’s student body, we continue our ongoing commitment to support all students as whole persons, spiritually, intellectually, professionally and communally. Doing that work now, in such challenging times, requires a variety of gifts and abilities. We appreciate the enthusiasm and energy Allison brings to our endeavors.”

Henderson-Brooks takes on the position with what she calls profound gratitude and tenacious expectations. “I am so excited to join the Office of Student Life in this new capacity, and I am thrilled to partner with my incredible colleagues to ensure that each student can thrive, learn, and contribute to the rich community of diversity at Candler with the assurance that the authenticity of their whole person is valued, honored, and respected.”

Photo credit: Affinity Portraits