In an email to the Furman campus community on Jan. 10, Connie Carson, Vice President for Student Life, shared a campus-wide update for the Center for Inclusive Communities (CIC). This announcement follows last semester's departure of the inaugural CIC Director, Deborah Allen. Carson’s email outlined further personnel shifts and plans for the CIC this Spring.

Rod Kelley ‘06, Assistant Dean of Student Conduct in Student Life, will also serve as the Interim Director of the CIC. Kelley began as Assistant Dean of Student Conduct at the beginning of the 2021-2022 academic year. Carson shared that in his additional role as Interim Director, Kelley will “provide strategic planning for the center and assist in advising and mentoring students.”

Jocelyn Boulware Bruce ’17 will continue in her role as Assistant Director for the CIC. She will continue her work advising the Student Diversity Council, leading the co-curricular expansion of the Dins Dialogue program, and supporting other “immersive student experiences.”

In addition to Allen’s departure, Carson also announced that the Assistant Director for International Student Engagement, MJ Larrazabal, will also be leaving the CIC. This position will be filled by Chirinjev Peterson (M.A. SUNY Stony Brook University, B.A. Delhi University). Carson explained that Peterson brings a “wealth of related experience and will provide mentoring and advising and coordinate programs and activities for international students.” Peterson has previously served in various related positions in global education, study away, and English as a Second Language programs. During her interim role at the CIC, Peterson also works as an adjunct faculty member and operates a TOEFL and GRE testing program in India.

Candice Chan, current Dean of International Admissions, will continue to provide support to Furman’s international students through visa support and Student Exchange and serve as the primary designated school official for Furman’s Visa Information System compliance.

In her email, Carson described the CIC as a “signature student experience office,” which seeks to improve the diversity and inclusion of our community through a variety of programs and services for the Furman community. Thus, Carson asserted that “we wanted to ensure the continuation of vital services and programs” while the University is conducting national searches to fill the roles of director and international student support. These personnel adjustments aim to continue the work of the CIC during the hiring process.

Following Carson’s announcement, Kelley has shared his thoughts in starting his new role as Interim Director of the CIC. When Kelley attended Furman, he benefitted greatly from programming by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, which preceded the CIC in providing programs and services to undergraduates at Furman. “As this function has evolved, I’ve seen the Center for Inclusive Communities expand its mission to provide explicit educational opportunities… and support for all underrepresented persons within the Furman community,” Kelley remarked. He looks forward to providing direct programmatic and strategic support to “contribute to this legacy for the betterment of our students.”

Kelley also shared that the search for a new permanent Director of the CIC extends nationally. Furman will utilize a search firm to evaluate the role to ensure clear expectations and competitiveness in the higher education market. Kelley states that Furman looks forward to posting the position within the semester and eventually moving forward with a “robust interview process that engages multiple members of the campus community.”

In the meantime, Kelley intends to serve in this role for as long as needed by the University. He also asserts the University’s “strong desire” to establish a new director “as soon as reasonably possible.”

This Spring, Kelley has shared that the CIC staffing team “look forward to providing consistent and uninterrupted support for all students who utilize CIC services.” The Furman community should stay tuned for upcoming Black History Month events, continued exposure and engagement through Dins Dialogues, and other future programming from Kelley and the rest of the CIC team.