|Janice Astor del
Valle, left, director of the Green Street Arts Center, listens to Sonia
BasSheva Ma˝jon, director of the Center for Art and Public Life at the
California College of the Arts in Oakland, speak in Memorial Chapel during a
campus visit Nov. 2. Ma˝jon will return to campus in July as Wesleyan's new
vice president for diversity and strategic partnerships.
New Vice President Will Focus on Diversity, Community
President Michael Roth has appointed Sonia
BasSheva Ma˝jon as vice president for diversity and strategic partnerships,
a new position that will include leadership on civic engagement and
cooperation with private and public organizations. Ma˝jon will work with
Wesleyan's leadership team to develop programs to attract, retain and
inspire students, faculty and staff from groups currently under-represented
on campus. She formally joins the university on July 1.
Ma˝jon comes to Wesleyan from the California College of the Arts (CCA) with
more than 20 years experience in higher education and nonprofit
administration and education. At CCA she was a member of the president's
cabinet, director for CCA's Center for Art in Public Life, chair of its
community art major and Diversity Studies Program, co-chair of campus
diversity initiatives, and a member of the faculty. She recently developed
the country's first bachelor of fine arts program in community arts, which
stresses student civic engagement and diversity issues. At CCA, Ma˝jon
worked closely with Roth.
ôI am very excited to work with Michael Roth once again,ö Ma˝jon says. ôHe
has been a tremendous colleague and leader. I look forward to joining the
rest of the team at Wesleyan as we seek to implement civic engagement and
service learning in a wider arena that incorporates community arts within
the liberal arts more generally. I also feel proud to have the opportunity
to work at an institution that has such a strong history of affirmative
action and diversity.ö
As Wesleyan's vice president for diversity and strategic partnerships,
Ma˝jon will be charged with enhancing the university's outreach and
engagement with the greater Middletown community. She will bring her
expertise and experience to bear on the strategic planning for the Green
Street Arts Center and other Wesleyan projects and programs within
Ma˝jon will serve as Wesleyan's affirmative action officer and direct the
Office of Affirmative Action. She will be an advocate for the interests of
students in such areas as recruitment, curriculum development, campus
culture and career planning. She will partner with the directors of human
resources to increase diversity within candidate pools and to support
programs of thoughtful outreach. As a member of the president's cabinet,
Ma˝jon will provide advice, guidance and support to the president and the
other vice presidents.
"I am delighted to have Sonia join our efforts at Wesleyan,ö Roth says. "She
is a tireless innovator with a very sophisticated sense of how to nurture
existing relationships and create new partnerships with communities and
constituencies of all sorts. She also has keen insights on how to use art
and performance to forge new community relationships."
Ma˝jon earned a Ph.D. in humanities, transformative learning and change in
human systems and a M.A. in cultural anthropology and social transformation
from the California Institute of Integral Studies. She received a B.A. in
world arts and cultures with a dance emphasis from the University of
California, Los Angeles.
In addition to her position at CCA, Ma˝jon has served as executive director
of the City of Oakland's Craft and Cultural Arts Department, director of the
Community Arts and Education Program for the San Francisco Art Commission,
and executive director of the San Francisco National Academy of Recording
Arts and Sciences.
Ma˝jon currently lives in Oakland, California with her sons Zyan and Ezra.