Keona Lewis to join Notre Dame as assistant provost for academic diversity and inclusion

Author: Cidni Sanders

Keona Lewis
Keona Lewis

Keona Lewis, associate director of research and evaluation for diversity, equity and inclusion at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been named assistant provost for academic diversity and inclusion at the University of Notre Dame, effective Feb. 1.

As assistant provost, Lewis will oversee the vision, strategy and community-building programs for academic diversity and inclusion. The position reports to Maura Ryan, vice president and associate provost for faculty affairs. Lewis will also hold an appointment as assistant professor of the practice in Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns.

“Keona is known for building effective coalitions, aligning stakeholders to advance a common goal and maximizing the reach and impact of key programs,” John T. McGreevy, the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost, said. “She will make a great addition to our office and the campus community as she helps ensure that the academic core is an environment where faculty and staff feel a strong sense of belonging and respect and where differences are celebrated.”

In her current role at Georgia Tech, Lewis has played a lead role in developing, supporting and evaluating programs for faculty, staff and students. She also has established an impressive record of leading training programs on a variety of topics, including assessing conscious and unconscious biases and microaggressions.

She was previously program review and research manager for diversity, equity and inclusion at Georgia Tech. Prior to joining Georgia Tech, Lewis taught in the anthropology and criminology departments at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia.

“I have pursued a career in diversity, equity and inclusion with the hopes of making a difference in the lives of those around me,” Lewis said. “Education is the great equalizer, however, all too often, access acts as a barrier to opportunity and growth. Throughout my professional career, I have had many opportunities to help level the playing field, and I am excited to continue this work at the University of Notre Dame.”

An eight-person search committee was convened to lead the assistant provost search. Its members reviewed a diverse and accomplished slate of candidates before recommending Lewis. 

“Because of the committee’s passion and steadfastness, we are able to fill a crucial role in the Provost’s Office,” McGreevy said. “I am appreciative of their efforts and the leadership of Maura Ryan, who chaired the search committee and guided our diversity strategy as we sought someone to fill this role permanently.”

Lewis earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminology and her doctorate in applied anthropology from the University of South Florida in Tampa. With research interests that include higher education, the African Diaspora, ethnicity, gender and educational outcomes, she has previously taught courses in anthropology, U.S. cultural diversity and perspectives in criminal justice.

Lewis currently serves on the advisory boards of the Kendeda Building for Innovative and Sustainable Design at Georgia Tech and the Amana Academy Charter School in the Atlanta metro region.