Blackburn College has named Dr. Margaret Lawler as Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This newly reimagined and expanded role will be a key member of the President’s leadership team and will act as an advisor on initiatives and issues related to students, staff, faculty, and the community. She will serve as Chief Diversity Officer and Title IX Coordinator as well as provide oversight for International Student and Study Abroad Programming.
Dr. Lawler’s background includes a wealth of experience in roles related to compliance, faculty recruitment, labor relations, and residential life. She joins Blackburn most recently from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she served as an equal employment opportunity (EEO) Investigator examining discrimination, harassment, and other types of claims filed with the Office of Access and Equity. Before that, Lawler held positions at Illinois Central College, Caterpillar Inc., the Peoria Housing Authority, and Middle Tennessee State University.
While this position presents many opportunities, Dr. Lawler is most looking forward to Blackburn’s unique emphasis on building relationships through its personalized academic approach and as the only student-led Work Program in the world.
“The ability to connect with this community of learners on campus will be the most exciting piece of my everyday work,” Dr. Lawler said. “I am charged by the interactions of those around me and the ability to help support the college’s overall goals. Being a part of Blackburn College has been one of my greatest accomplishments and I am excited to be here.”
While diversity, equity, and inclusion have always been cornerstones of Blackburn’s mission, President Mark L. Biermann believes that adding this new senior position to his leadership team will be critically important in shaping the future of the College.
“Blackburn is absolutely committed to ensuring that every individual that steps foot on our campus is embraced, welcomed, and supported as an integral part of our community,” Dr. Biermann said. “Dr. Lawler will play a lead role in ensuring that perspectives of diversity, equity, and inclusion are deeply embedded in all aspects of our College activities.”
He continued, “We welcome Dr. Lawler to Blackburn and are confident that the leadership, expertise, and experience she brings will help us realize our vision of making the College a more inclusive and welcoming community to all of its members.”
Dr. Lawler earned her Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement Administration at Western Illinois University, her Master of Science in College Student Personnel Administration from the University of Central Missouri, and her Doctor of Education in Community College Leadership at Ferris State University. She began her duties for Blackburn on October 25.