Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Welcomes First Director of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility (IDEA)
Deborah J. Rogers, Ph.D. brings wealth of experience to grow the Library’s IDEA efforts
After an extensive national search process, Andrew Medlar, President & Director, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, announced the appointment of Deborah J. Rogers, Ph.D. as the Library’s first Director of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility (IDEA). In this newly formed senior level position, Dr. Rogers will be responsible for the development, implementation and management of strategies to align library services, programs, practices and policies with the 127-year institution’s stated mission, values and IDEA principles. In addition, she will collaborate with library departments to improve system-wide efforts in staff recruiting and retention, marketing campaigns and public service programs.
More than 100 applicants from 17 states were considered for the position. Dr. Rogers will officially join the organization on February 20, 2023.
“Deborah’s roots as a dynamic leader in efforts toward inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) are right here in Pittsburgh,” said Medlar. “As a proud graduate of PPS’ former Schenley High School she is no stranger to our Main Library in Oakland. We are delighted to welcome her home and very fortunate to have an educator of her caliber join our team. I’m looking forward to working with Deborah as we work toward our next strategic plan.”
Medlar continued, “IDEA principles are core to the mission and values of the Library and have been integral in our work across the organization for many years. To remove systemic barriers to literacy and learning, we are committed to changing how historic and current structures of racism and marginalization directly affect our mission and organizational culture. For the past five years we have intentionally built an internal framework that contains a dedicated Board of Trustee IDEA Committee, staff-led Affinity Groups, as well as a staff EDI Committee to support this important work.”
Dr. Rogers is the current co-chair for the Women of Color, Scholarship, Teaching and Activism Unit of the American Academy of Religion. Prior to her appointment at CLP, she served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Theology, Culture and Practice of Ministry at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (CRCDS) in Rochester, NY. During her career, Dr. Rogers also served in various positions at Lane College, a Historically Black College located in Jackson, TN, including Vice President for Academic Affairs; Division Chair; Assistant Professor of Religion; Director of Lane Institute; and Assistant Chaplain. She also led efforts to develop a 2.5-acre urban farm. As the inaugural director of Lane Institute, Dr. Rogers led institution-wide initiatives to equip students, faculty, staff and administrators to utilize trauma-informed approaches to student support services and peer leadership. This included the development of a “Make it Write” program which provided students with healing-centered modalities for processing emotions through creative writing.
Dr. Rogers earned a Ph.D. in Theology and Culture from Fuller Theological Seminary, an M.A.T. from Fuller Seminary and a B.S. in Mathematics from Howard University. Her current research and writing interests include literacy, literary theory and embodied discourse; creativity, play and leadership development; black feminist and womanist thought; and food justice.
“As a Pittsburgher at heart I’m excited by this opportunity to return to my home town to expand upon the Library’s IDEA work,” said Dr. Rogers. “I’m very much looking forward to collaborating with staff, other nonprofits and our community to advance CLP’s role as an anchor institution.”
Editor’s Note: Dr. Rogers will be available for interviews beginning in early March. To schedule an interview, please contact Suzanne Thinnes at firstname.lastname@example.org/412.578.2458.