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Kirwan Institute marks 20th anniversary, launches new strategic plan

Visioning process to include university, community stakeholders

The Ohio State University’s Kirwan Institute for Race and Ethnicity marks its 20th anniversary this year. Building on its work over the past two decades, the Kirwan Institute will embark on a strategic visioning process this spring that is scheduled to be completed this fall, said Executive Director Ange-Marie Hancock.  

Hancock unveiled the strategic visioning process during a March 9 forum, “Embracing the Past and Future of the Kirwan Institute.”  

Ange-Marie Hancock“When we’re drawing boundaries two or three years from now around what Kirwan does do and what Kirwan does not have the capacity to do, it will have been the product of a collaborative process,” she said. “Key stakeholders, community partners, faculty and staff and students, we’re all going to talk about it and ask these questions. It’s going to be community-engaged.” 

Established in 2003, the Kirwan Institute is an interdisciplinary research institute named for former Ohio State President William E. “Brit” Kirwan in recognition of his efforts to champion diversity at Ohio State. The Kirwan Institute researchers, affiliated faculty, collaborators and community partners conduct research to inform policies and practices that help create a just and inclusive society.  

Hancock said becoming the Kirwan Institute’s executive director on Jan. 1 was a homecoming. A Columbus native and Thomas Worthington High School alumna, Hancock has a family connection to Ohio State. 

“My first home was on this campus,” she said, “and it is such a pleasure to be back.” 

Hancock shared that her father, Charles Hancock, graduated from Ohio State in 1970 in what is now the College of Education and Human Ecology (EHE). Charles Hancock taught in EHE for 26 years and directed the Young Scholars Program, which provides support and financial assistance to academically talented high school students who are the first in their families to receive bachelor’s degrees.  

Prior to joining the Kirwan Institute, Hancock had served as the University of Southern California’s department chair of political science and international relations since 2020. She also directed the USC Institute for Intersectionality and Social Transformation and the university’s Center for Leadership by Women of Color.  

Hancock’s experience positions her to lead the Kirwan Institute in furthering its mission of ensuring that all people and communities have an opportunity to succeed, said Wendy Smooth, Ohio State’s senior vice provost for inclusive excellence.  

“We have engaged with cutting-edge scholars who have worked with us over the years, from visiting associate professors, to postdoctoral students, as well as faculty on the campus of The Ohio State University,” Smooth said. “We’ve done this work for nearly 20 years, and we look forward to our next chapter, which begins with welcoming our new executive director.” 

Hancock said Kirwan’s strategic visioning process will kick off in April and continue through August, with opportunities for stakeholders throughout the university and the community at large to contribute. 

“We will ask you questions. We will invite you to the listening sessions,” she said. “We will ask for your feedback.” 

In the fourth quarter of 2023, Kirwan Institute staff will analyze the feedback they gather and begin implementing the new strategic plan in early 2024, Hancock said. For more information about the Kirwan Institute for Race and Ethnicity, visit kirwaninstitute.osu.edu

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