Dr. Lisa M Coleman, Chief Diversity Officer and Special Assistant to the President The H-OAP team is very excited about the year ahead.  As we reflect upon the previous academic year, our University community worked together in countless ways across our schools, departments, and groups to enhance traditional programs, to create new and innovative diverse, inclusive programs, and to engage Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) best practices in our administrative processes. These efforts across schools highlight the work that so many of you do to engage students, faculty, administrators, researchers and alumni across heterogeneous backgrounds, generations, and ranges of experiences. 

As we embark upon a new year, our office continues to engage the community in a myriad of ways.  Whether it’s our fall Workforce Management Conference; our Thinking Together D&I Seminar Series; our work with Harvard Human Resources (HHR) and the Universal Manager Training program; training for officers on accessibility and assistive technologies; preparing liaisons to engage new regulations for persons with disabilities and veterans; formal and informal conversations about the current climate; assisting schools with diversifying student, administrative, research or faculty bodies; or amplifying the interconnectedness of sustainability, innovation and inclusion, we readily embrace significant and value-added opportunities that make wide-ranging D&I work possible.

H-OAP staff are positioned as subject matter experts, to guide and support the great D&I work that is happening within our schools, units, and divisions.  This is possible because of valuable partners, like you, who have been willing to acquire new knowledge and share in the collective responsibility of cultivating inclusive environments that welcome and affirm difference—the kind of difference that leads to greater innovation, greater thought leadership, and greater production of knowledge.  Thank you for being in this work with us, and we look forward to another successful and productive year!

Lisa M. Coleman, Ph.D.


Plans Underway to Increase Awareness of Diversity in the Workforce

A Workforce Diversity Committee, chaired by Michelle Gordon-Seemore, Director of Recruitment Services, that includes representatives from the central administration as well as the schools at Harvard, was established on Oct. 15, 2014 and charged with developing a strategy and plans to increase awareness of the institution’s commitment and efforts to recruit a diverse and inclusive workforce. The committee’s review included the topics of employment branding, vendor relationships, schools and key influencers, internal and external sourcing, web presence, applicant flow management, and selection and on-boarding. The committee met throughout the past year, and is currently working with senior leadership in human resources and H-OAP to develop next steps this fall and spring.

Melissa Brown, Director of Training and Development at HHR, and Michelle Gordon-Seemore commented on the effort: “We are energized by the enthusiasm the schools and units are bringing to the topic of recruiting a diverse and inclusive workforce at Harvard.  We look forward to continuing the great work of this committee and implementing best practices in programs and services that will make a measurable difference at Harvard.”


Panel of Experts Address Heightened Federal Attention on Individuals with Disabilities

Panel of Experts

Facilitated by Stella Chin (left), Director of Equal Opportunity Programs, a panel of
experts discussed Expanding Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities on July 23rd.

The federal government has strengthened regulations that require federal contractors, including Harvard, to expand employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. While the University has historically been attentive to its obligations in this realm, the regulatory shifts compel the University to move more intentionally from “efforts” to “results.”

To meet the new compliance requirements, a University working group to Expand Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities has been convened and held its first meeting on August 20, 2015. The working group will meet regularly to brainstorm ideas and strategies to address pressing issues related to disability employment by identifying persistent barriers and training needs, creating specific programs and initiatives for pipeline-building, pinpointing allies and resources, and serving as an action-oriented body to expand employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

On July 23, H-OAP worked with experts to present a panel of well-regarded thought leaders in the area of disability employment. Attended by colleagues in HR and other critical stakeholders in the university community, discussions focused on proven strategies and best practices that have helped organizations better understand federal regulations and develop more welcoming, accessible, and inclusive working environments for persons with disabilities. The panel included Kathleen Petkauskos, Director of Work Without Limits, a statewide network of employers aimed at increasing employment among persons with disabilities; William Allen, Director of Job Placement Services at the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC); and Sarah Babineau, founder and managing partner of Compass Metrics, an analysis and strategy firm focused on affirmative action and D&I initiatives. The expert panelists helped attendees of the July discussion fully appreciate the depth of considerations that must be thoughtfully discussed when preparing the work environment for more expansive and inclusive practices. 

H-OAP’s Michele Clopper, Assistant Director of University Disability Services, shared her broad and deep experience as a subject matter expert in a host of areas related to disability services. Tasked with the responsibility to lead a team of case managers who interface with a variety of stakeholders across the university (such as human resources consultants, learning disability coordinators, and others connected to accessible education and assistive technology), Clopper helped attendees at the July event better understand the importance of both the challenges and opportunities related to recruitment, reasonable accommodations, workplace programming, and the need for consistent training and curriculum development.


Introducing Harvard’s AFP Class of 2015-2016

Harvard’s Administrative Fellowship Program (AFP) is excited to launch another academic year. H-OAP wishes to extend our deep appreciation to Letty Garcia (Assistant Director of the Harvard Business School Leadership Initiative), Loc Truong (Director of Diversity & Inclusion Programs, Harvard College), Maria Mejia (Director of Human Resources, Harvard University), Lisa Maxwell (Assistant Director of Employment, Harvard Graduate School of Education) and Lorraine Hanley (Manager of Selection and Placement Services, LASPAU) for working with our office and university partners to enhance the application process for our resident fellows. AFP has a long-standing and rich history of over 25 years. The caliber of our fellows continues to impress those within and outside of our university community. We look forward to welcoming 6 residential and 9 visiting fellows into this year’s program. Please join our team in congratulating the class of 2015-2016!

Through continued support from the Office of the President and sponsoring departments and units, year-over-year our fellows are exposed to the thought leadership of highly successful faculty and senior administrators from across Harvard’s schools and units. This year, we are looking forward to a greater focus on individual fellow-development, more intentional efforts to retain and promote high-potential fellows and a more active engagement of our world-wide base of dynamic alums. Congratulations to all!



Professor Michael Ashley SteinSave the date – October 29, 2015 from 12:00 p.m. until 1:00 p.m. (location TBD) – for the first of three “Thinking Together” diversity discussions. Professor Michael Ashley Stein, graduate of Harvard Law School (’88) and executive director of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability will speak to the Harvard community about his ground-breaking research regarding persons with disabilities and the ways in which disability rights have transformed higher education and the workplace.

H-OAP is dedicated to sharing new and exciting developments in the area of D&I as well as updates related to compliance. We are well-underway in our work to “refresh” our website in order to make it a more useful and interactive point of reference and destination for those seeking information about Harvard’s diversity efforts. We ask for your assistance in keeping our master calendar updated. If you have D&I programs you wish to promote, please email us at While we work hard to cross-reference programs highlighted on individual school calendars, we sometimes miss important programs and events. Please help us promote your important work!

Also visit our website to learn more about our fall programs. We will soon announce the theme for our Workforce Management Conference.


H-OAP Fall Reception

Please join us on October 15, 2015 from 4:00- 6:00 p.m. in the Cambridge Queen’s Head as we celebrate another school year of very exciting and highly successful partnerships and programs dedicated to the advancement of D&I initiatives at Harvard. Together with our partners and leaders from across the schools department and units, we will raise a glass in honor of our ongoing work together. We have accomplished a great deal and look forward to more successful collaborations!