Athens, Ga. – Kecia Thomas, who has been a faculty member in the University of Georgia department of psychology since 1993, has been named to a newly created diversity position in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
Thomas, who also has served as interim director of the Institute for African American Studies, has assumed the title of senior advisor to the dean for inclusion and diversity leadership, according to an announcement from Garnett S. Stokes, dean of the Franklin College.
“Kecia is one of the best and brightest in our college, and I’m delighted she has agreed to accept this important new challenge,” said Stokes. “Among her many duties will be to initiate and chair a task force on inclusion, to serve as liaison on diversity issues with a number of other UGA offices and provide leadership and support to the dean’s cabinet and Franklin College departments. We’re fortunate to have her in this role.”
Thomas likewise is eager for the work ahead.
“I am looking forward to this new challenge and the opportunity to positively impact the climate for diversity and inclusion for our faculty, staff and graduate students,” she said. “I appreciate the opportunity to use my scholarship and practice for the benefit of Franklin. For the last several years I have helped other institutions of higher education and other workplaces to advance their diversity missions and goals. It makes sense to use these talents for the benefit of my home institution as well.”
UGA associate provost and chief diversity officer Cheryl Dozier also praised Thomas’s selection.
“Dr. Kecia Thomas is an outstanding scholar and is nationally renowned for her research on workplace diversity,” she said. “Her commitment to diversity and particularly multiculturalism makes her an excellent fit for the newly created position. The creation of this position and other designated diversity officers in our academic units reflect commitment to diversity throughout the university.”
Thomas received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and Spanish from Bucknell University in 1988 and master’s and doctoral degrees from Penn State in 1990 and 1993 respectively. She came to UGA as an assistant professor and achieved the rank of associate professor in 2000 and full professor in 2006. She is a faculty affiliate with the Institute for Women’s Studies and a member of the Honors and graduate faculty and was named coordinator of graduate education for the department of psychology in 2003.
She has successfully mentored 13 doctoral students, seven of whom come from underrepresented populations and who now have, Thomas said, “noteworthy careers engaging in diversity research and practice.”
Thomas’s expertise is in industrial and organizational psychology, and she is the author of the book Diversity Dynamics in the Workplace (2005) and editor of Organizational Outsiders Within (1999). She is also editor of Diversity Resistance in Organizations, which is now in press.
She is the author of dozens of papers in peer-reviewed journals and has served on numerous committees and task forces at UGA dealing with diversity, including the Taskforce on Graduate Education. She provided diversity leadership for the industrial and organizational area of the department of psychology and has been elected twice to serve on the executive committee of the Gender and Diversity in Organizations research division of the Academy of Management. In 2004, the university’s Office of Institutional Diversity honored her with an award for “exemplary efforts toward advancing UGA’s mission of diversity and academic excellence.”
For the past year Thomas served as interim director of the Franklin College’s Institute for African American Studies.
Thomas’s research focuses on understanding the psychology of workplace diversity. Particularly, she is interested in both individual and organizational readiness and resistance to diversity. Her research also examines the workplace experiences of women, people of color and gay and lesbian workers.
Her work has been supported by numerous contracts in addition to grants from Campus Compact, the American Psychological Association and the National Science Foundation.
Thomas will continue to be an active faculty member in psychology and the Institute for African American Studies in addition to her new administrative duties in the Franklin College. Her office will be on the third floor of New College on UGA’s North Campus.