Diverse Honor

Ohio Wesleyan’s Karlyn Crowley Named One of 25 Outstanding Women in Higher Education

By Cole Hatcher

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University Provost Karlyn Crowley, Ph.D., is being honored as one of the nation’s top 25 outstanding women working in higher education in 2021.

The honor comes from Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine as part of its Women’s History Month edition, released this week. Those recognized “have made a difference in the academy by tackling some of higher education’s toughest challenges, exhibiting extraordinary leadership skills, and making a positive difference in their respective communities,” according to the magazine.

Maya Matthews Minter, Diverse’s vice president of editorial and production, said choosing each year’s list of honorees is “a tough task.”

“But we rely on the instincts and familiarities of our writers, reporters, and editorial board in deciding who will be included on the list,” said Minter, noting this is the magazine’s 10th year of honoring higher education’s outstanding women. “(Our staff) cover the issues surrounding equity and inclusion on a daily basis and, thus, become keenly familiar with those who make a difference in their respective fields.”

Crowley became Ohio Wesleyan’s provost in July 2020. In this role, she is the senior officer overseeing OWU’s academic offerings and operations, including ongoing efforts to bring additional elements of diversity, equity, and inclusion into the university’s curriculum.

Since joining Ohio Wesleyan, Crowley already has spearheaded the creation of an Equity Fellows program, comprising 25 faculty members who are helping to lead academic equity and antiracism initiatives with their peers.

Crowley also is overseeing the cluster hire of 10 tenure-track faculty members whose work will help to support the university’s ongoing efforts to provide a diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus environment. The cluster hire, for the 2021-2022 academic year, will comprise 10 percent of OWU’s full-time faculty.

Ohio Wesleyan President Rock Jones, Ph.D., said Crowley’s recognition as a top woman in higher education is well-deserved.

“Karlyn is deeply committed to being an active antiracist and to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion on the Ohio Wesleyan campus and in the OWU curriculum,” Jones said. “She has been tireless in her work since arriving eight months ago, and we are a stronger university as a result. It is absolutely right to see her name on the Diverse magazine list along with women from outstanding institutions including Stanford, Yale, Howard, and others.”

Of the Diverse honor and her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, Crowley said: “DEI work is essential because, fundamentally, it is about human flourishing. To that end, we are acting and not just talking. Ohio Wesleyan has stated university-wide antiracism commitments and also specific strategic goals within Academic Affairs.

“Creating communities of belonging is challenging and it is also life-giving and life-changing,” Crowley continued. “Deeply inclusive and anti-racist spaces are more just while also being more intellectually compelling. This work benefits everyone.

“My role as the chief academic officer at Ohio Wesleyan is to model the way and to create the conditions to nurture and advance the most robust, challenging, meaningful, and relevant education possible in the 21st century,” she said. “It is our call and mission as a ‘Colleges that Change Lives’ university to shape and mold global citizens who use their education for good in the world. We do this work every day, with every student, and in every learning opportunity. We may not always get it right, but we are all in at Ohio Wesleyan.”

Prior to joining Ohio Wesleyan, Crowley served as the interim assistant vice president for academic affairs, founding director of the Cassandra Voss Center (an intersectional identity center), and a professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. She is a faculty fellow for the HERS Institute, the longest-serving leadership training for women in higher education. Her scholarly publications include the books “Feminism’s New Age: Gender, Appropriation, and the Afterlife of Essentialism” (2011) and “Better Mettle: Smarter Social Justice” (expected in 2022).

Crowley earned both a doctorate in English and a Master of Arts in English with a certificate in women’s studies from the University of Virginia. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and women’s and gender studies from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.

Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s antiracism work at owu.edu/dei. Learn more about Diverse magazine and its 2021 class of outstanding women in higher education at diverseeducation.com.

About Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

For more than three decades, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education has been “America’s premier source of timely news, provocative commentary, insightful interviews and in-depth special reports on diversity in higher education.” Learn more at diverseeducation.com.

About Ohio Wesleyan University

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more undergraduate majors than many universities its size and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature program, The OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at owu.edu.