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Wheaton names first Chief Intercultural Engagement Officer

March 15 2018
On March 2, President Ryken announced the appointment of Dr. Sheila Caldwell as Wheaton’s first Chief Intercultural Engagement Officer (CIEO). Caldwell will start her new position on June 11. She comes to Wheaton from the University of North Georgia, where she currently serves as Advisor to the President on Diversity.
“Dr. Sheila Caldwell has a warm and generous spirit that will enable her to establish strong relationships across campus, with all constituencies,” Ryken told the Record. “Her understanding of faculty development, her deep faith in Christ and her passion for racial unity earned the respect and admiration of nearly everyone involved in the interview process.”
Caldwell, who is an alumna of Northern Illinois University with postgraduate degrees from Argosy University and the University of Georgia, was selected by a 10-person search committee co-chaired by Ryken and Provost Margaret Diddams and comprised of four professors, one graduate student, one undergraduate student and four faculty members from other areas in the college.
According to M. Daniel Carroll, professor of Old Testament in Wheaton’s graduate school who was part of the search process, committee members narrowed an initial applicant pool of over 40 candidates down to five in-person interviews. Caldwell was selected as one of two finalists. After both finalists visited campus, committee members unanimously chose Caldwell for the position.
“The committee was searching for a unique combination of traits in a candidate for CIEO,” Carroll said.
Carroll’s ideal candidate would have “formal studies and/or ongoing engagement in the academic field of institutional diversity, on-the-ground experience in designing and implementing appropriate transformation in academic ethos and policy and a personality and character that could move among the various campus constituencies in constructive ways that would resonate with the college’s mission,” he said. “An additional component would be the ability to represent Wheaton well among minority and majority culture groups in Chicago and beyond.”
Caldwell’s prior work experience, Carroll said, met all of these criteria “extremely well.” As Director of Complete College Georgia for the University of North Georgia, Caldwell worked on retention and enrollment strategies; she has held her current position for over two years, advising on cultural competency, inclusive hiring and other matters of diversity and intercultural communication.
Associate Professor of Theology Vince Bacote, another member of the search committee, was similarly impressed, not only by Caldwell’s professional qualifications but also her personal qualities.
“Dr. Caldwell’s broad and deep knowledge of how to address the various aspects of diversity in educational institutions was very impressive,” Bacote said. “She not only knows many details — such as various metrics— but also is clearly a good listener who desires to understand the needs of institutions. She is personable, has high competence and wants Wheaton to pursue diversity in a truly Christian fashion.”
Carroll echoed the thoughts of Bacote, Ryken and other committee members.
“Not only is she competent, she is winsome and wise,” Carroll said. “I see her as a gift of God to the college.”

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