AACC hires new chief diversity officer


Lexi Grieder

Kellie McCants-Price is the college’s chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer.

Sam Gauntt, Editor-in-Chief

A psychology professor on May 1 became the next chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for the college. 

Kellie McCants-Price, who has served as the interim DEI officer since August, 2021, accepted the permanent position after a hiring committee chose her as the official replacement for Deidra Dennie, who previously held the position. Dennie left the position in 2020. 

“I am excited to get started leading the next leg of AACC’s equity and inclusion journey,” McCants-Price, who joined the college in 2014, said. “I’m incredibly grateful that the campus community trusted me for 20 months to be the interim chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. And I hope in subsequent years that you all will continue to trust me, that you will continue to hold me accountable for making sure that, you know, the voices of especially marginalized people are heard.”

The chief DEI officer is responsible for reviewing all college policies before they take effect to make sure they are equitable for all students; working with students who report bias incidents; and creating plans to increase diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at the college. 

The position reports directly to the president of the college, according to McCants-Price. 

According to professor Nicolle Williams, the chair of the hiring committee that chose McCants-Price for the position, the hiring process began in fall 2021, and the committee did not find a candidate during its first two attempts.

However, she said, during the third round of interviewing, the committee identified three top candidates for the position–including McCants-Price, who earned a doctorate in psychology from The Ohio State University. 

“I’m just excited that, you know, we finally have someone … in place that will continue to do the work,” Williams, the academic chair of human services, said. “And we’ve already seen some great things from Dr. McCants-Price in her role that I’ve never seen before from a chief diversity officer, so she is always teaching us.”

Williams, the outgoing chair of The Faculty Organization, added: “By training, Dr. McCants-Price is a clinical psychologist. So she has a very even-keeled personality, which is very important for this type of work. Diversity work is not easy. You know, when you’re teaching or you’re talking about the inequities that happen in society, the different isms, people are not going to always receive this information with open arms, because it’s uncomfortable.”

In an email to college faculty, President Dawn Lindsay described McCants-Price as “a diversity champion at the college.”

“As a faculty member in the psychology department, she demonstrates her passion for inclusive excellence for students,” Lindsay wrote, “Dr. McCants-Price connects with her students to make them feel welcome, included, respected and valued.”

This article has been updated.