Dr. Jamel Santa Cruze Bell named first chief diversity officer at EC

Dr. Jamel Santa Cruze Bell

Dr. Jamel Santa Cruze Bell was named special assistant to the president for strategic and diversity initiatives at Eureka College, July 1.

Bell is the college’s first chief diversity officer, responsible for providing leadership to promote and develop initiatives that support the college‚Äôs core value of diversity. Her duties also include coordinating the implementation of the college’s strategic initiatives.

“Eureka College’s living-learning environment is becoming increasingly multicultural and international,” said Eureka College President J. David Arnold. “We are delighted that Dr. Bell will join the Eureka College community as the first administrator to lead the campus in this essential dimension of liberal education. She brings a highly refined set of skills that will serve to support our collective commitment to a diverse and inclusive campus climate that will prepare culturally competent graduates.”

The St. Louis native has 14 years of higher education experience, the last decade as a faculty member. For the past three years, Bell was a full-time faculty member in the Department of Communication at Saint Louis University, St. Louis, where she developed a curriculum on race and ethnicity. She also was an adjunct faculty member in the School for Professional Studies and Cook School of Business and an affiliated faculty member in African American Studies. Formerly Bell was a faculty member at
Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA.

“I am deeply honored to join a community with the rich history and legacy of Eureka College, being the first in the state and third in the nation to admit women and men equally,” Bell said. “I look forward to providing leadership to the college’s diversity and inclusion efforts and working collaboratively, both internally and externally, to ensure institutional excellence on all levels and continue the tradition of cultivating transformative leaders.”

Bell, who is the first in her family to earn a college degree, received a doctorate and a master’s degree, both from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and a bachelor’s degree from Missouri Western State College, St. Joseph, MO, all in communication studies.

While completing her Ph.D., Bell worked four years at Missouri Western State College as an academic advising specialist in the Student Success Programs Office and as a communication specialist in the Office of Academic and Student Affairs, where she assisted in the development and execution of strategic planning initiatives and wrote multimillion dollar federal grants to fund academic and student engagement efforts.

Bell’s training and expertise are in diversity and inclusion, including intercultural communication and competence, negotiation of social identity, and discourse of difference; media studies, including depictions of race, gender and culture; and public relations. Her research questions the extent to which dominant discourses and popular culture images influence and contribute to the social construction of race and gender, the reproduction of social inequality and the identity formation process. She has facilitated university and community dialogues and training workshops that focus on diversity and inclusion, cultural competence and communication and leadership skills.