UMass Amherst Names Nefertiti Walker Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Chief Diversity Officer

Nefertiti Walker
Nefertiti Walker

AMHERST, Mass. – Nefertiti Walker, a faculty member in the Isenberg School of Management who has been serving as interim vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been named the new vice chancellor for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer by Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy.

Through the vice chancellor’s leadership, UMass Amherst strives to form and strengthen socially just learning and working environments that foster a culture of excellence through diverse people, ideas and perspectives. The vice chancellor oversees the implementation of the Diversity Strategic Plan, provides strategic leadership for campus diversity efforts to institutionalize a climate of equity and inclusion, and works to nurture a positive campus climate for students, staff and faculty. Chancellor Subbaswamy established the Office of Equity and Inclusion in 2017.

“I feel very fortunate to be afforded this opportunity to serve as vice chancellor for the Office of Equity and Inclusion,” Walker said. “UMass has an abundance of people deeply entrenched in the work of diversity, equity and inclusion, and there has been impressive progress toward our goals. In this role, I hope to continue the momentum towards inclusive excellence, while being responsive to the needs of our climate and community.”

“I am very pleased that Nefertiti Walker has agreed to take on this permanent role as vice chancellor,” said Subbaswamy. “She brings insightful and strategic leadership to this important office, and has continued to be an impressive national leader on issues of equity and inclusion.”

Prior to joining the UMass administration, Walker served as a faculty member in the university’s Isenberg School of Management and also served as its associate dean for an inclusive organization. She joined the UMass Amherst community in 2011.

In 2020, Walker joined The Collective Think Tank, a group of academic and industry leaders focused on parity and equity in sports. The Collective shares data, insights and information to create a persistent campaign of strategies, activations and thought leadership that will move the sports industry toward gender equity.

Serving as a member of Isenberg’s senior leadership, Walker focused on developing a culture of inclusion through a new diversity and inclusion curriculum, a student organization focused on the advancement of diversity in business, and the development of an Inclusive Leadership Summit, all of which were done “in collaboration with students, faculty and staff,” said Walker.

Walker also serves as an associate professor in the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management and as a faculty member in the MBA program. Her research interests are rooted in organizational culture. Specifically, she examines organizational inclusion and exclusion, seeking to understand the experiences of people with marginalized identities, and using those insights to design more inclusive organizational cultures. Walker’s work includes more than 70 international publications and presentations, and she has been published in top journals such as the Journal of Sport Management and the Journal of Business Research. She is a research fellow with the North American Society for Sport Management. She has been awarded the 2017-18 Isenberg School of Management Teaching Excellence Award and the 2018-19 Isenberg School of Management Research Excellence Award.

She currently serves as co-director for Isenberg’s Laboratory for Inclusion and Diversity in Sport (LIDS). She is the co-editor of Sport Business Management: An International Journal, and is an editorial board member for the Journal of Sport Management. Previous leadership roles include UMass Athletic Council member, co-chair of the Diversity Committee for the North American Society for Sport Management, faculty advisor for the Association of Diversity in Sport and the Advancement of Diversity in Business, member of the UMass Amherst Stonewall Center Advisory Board, and vice president for inclusion and social justice for the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports. Her work has been mentioned on espn.com, espnW.com, TIME Sports, The Drum and other sport news outlets.

Walker earned her Ph.D. in sport management from the University of Florida. She received her bachelor’s and master’s (MBA) degrees from Stetson University, where she was a Division I NCAA student athlete and worked as an assistant women’s basketball coach. She also lettered in basketball at Georgia Tech.