Brandon L. Wolfe, Ph.D., has been named UNC Charlotte’s new associate vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, an inaugural role for the University. Currently serving at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he will begin his new role on Nov. 1, 2021. Wolfe will be a member of the Chancellor's Cabinet, with oversight of the University’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, a significant pillar in Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber’s vision for the growing campus.
Get to know Wolfe, an accomplished scholar and passionate advocate, a little more in the Q&A below, and read the full announcement about his appointment.
What fuels your passion for diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education? And why did you want to join UNC Charlotte?
For as long as I can remember, I have always shared a passion for service, community well-being, education and problem-solving in a manner that creates and sustains equitable pathways to success and advancing all of society. The landscape of higher education is one of the places and spaces where we can begin to unpack and impact this by creating opportunities to understand different lived experiences; to understand the intersections of those in the world we live in; and to understand various perspectives and how we all can play a role in helping our students, faculty and staff achieve their career aspirations, academic pursuits or other leadership ambitions.
What I love about Charlotte is that this work is already happening throughout campus. It is very clear you all want a collaborator who can serve cohesively to empower and enhance this important work through strategy and building bridges to connect people, opportunities and resources. Now is a perfect time for me to join Charlotte. There is a lot of amazing energy across this campus. There is also a demonstrated commitment from leadership to use our diversity to leverage equity and inclusion to shape strategies and tactics that prioritize and pursue institutional excellence in ways that are both transformational and sustainable. This is a place where I can see myself living and contributing for a long time.
Imagine it is Nov. 1, 2022. What do you hope you have accomplished in the past 12 months?
First, I want to ensure that I have taken the time to listen, learn and cultivate relationships throughout the entire community. Second, identify partners and support the good work that is already here. Third, I would like to create a strategic think tank for students, faculty and staff to consistently engage DEI in support of the strategic plan. Lastly, make it through those CHHS rings. I’m completely kidding about that last one, but I do look forward to partaking in all of the traditions and activities Charlotte has to offer.
Who inspires you?
Everyone inspires me. I learned at an early age that each person you meet will either teach you something about the world around you or teach you something about yourself. I know that this world is not perfect and we all have our challenges. However, I have witnessed the transformative power of unity, grace and compassion that gives us the resilience to forge ahead through challenges, offering healing in times of despair and encouragement in moments of adventure. Our very existence exemplifies hope and I can’t imagine anything more inspiring.
How do you define teamwork?
Teamwork is about how we leverage diversity and inclusion to work collaboratively toward a common goal. There are no egos because we all realize that we are engaged in something bigger than ourselves and for the greater good. We are patient and understanding, meeting each other where we are. It is our shared understanding that keeps us at the table and coming back for the sake of success.
What are you most looking forward to in your move to the Queen City?
I am looking forward to getting involved, soaking up the culture and meeting people.
What does your morning routine look like?
During the week, my morning routine is relatively simple. I meditate, hit the gym, read news stories, eat breakfast and then I’m off to work.
What book are you reading right now?
In full transparency, I have a bad habit of reading at least two books at once. That said, I just finished “How the Word Is Passed” by Clint Smith, and I’m in the early stages of “Professional Troublemaker” by Luvvie Ayaji Jones.
You can only listen to three songs on repeat for the rest of your life. What are they?
- “As” by Stevie Wonder
- “Never Let Me Down” by Kanye West
- “Can You Stand the Rain” by New Edition