SPEA hires staff to strengthen minority recruitment, community engagement and diversity initiatives

  • June 2, 2016


INDIANAPOLIS -- The IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI has hired two executives to bolster the recruitment and success of underrepresented minorities and first-generation students.

Marshawn Wolley has joined the staff as director of community engagement and strategic initiatives. Tamra Wright has been tapped as the school's new director of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Wolley is a 2006 SPEA graduate, having earned his MPA at the school's Bloomington campus. He also holds an MBA from the Kelley School of Business. He most recently served as the director of partner relations at Visit Indy; previously, he worked within the administration of Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson and was the director of emerging business and community outreach for the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee.

"I couldn't pass up the opportunity to both challenge and be challenged by sharp minds and to leverage SPEA to have a positive and dynamic impact in the community," said Wolley, whose community involvement includes roles with 100 Black Men of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Urban League, among others.

In his new role with SPEA, Wolley will help cultivate, expand and strengthen the school's relationships with community partners, strategically positioning SPEA with key community leaders to enhance community engagement and diversity initiatives. He will also help secure funding to support community partnerships and enrichment programs, as well as scholarships for underrepresented students.

Wright most recently worked for Simon Youth Foundation, where she was responsible for 26 Foundation Academy programs in 12 states. She holds an MPA in policy management and a master's degree in criminal justice.

For Wright, it marks a return to IUPUI, where she previously worked as the assistant director of Upward Bound. In her earlier role on campus, she assisted with the implementation of a federal program that served 120 high school students from low-income, first-generation, disabled and at-risk backgrounds.

"I am thrilled to work for SPEA, a school that believes in taking an innovative as well as sustainable approach to student engagement and is committed to developing its students into tomorrow's leaders," Wright said. "To be a part of its efforts to promote inclusion and diversity is something I am looking forward to and could not pass up."

Wright will develop, facilitate and promote diversity-enrichment programs for SPEA's underrepresented and first-generation students. In addition to helping students acclimate to university life, she will also help recruit and support retention of underrepresented students, faculty and staff.

SPEA Executive Associate Dean Lilliard Richardson said the addition of Wolley and Wright will further strengthen the school's commitment to diversity and diversity-related initiatives.

"Recruiting underrepresented minorities to our school isn't enough," Richardson said. "We must make sure that we are doing all we can to ensure their success once they reach campus. I am confident that Tamra and Marshawn will help us continue to be a campus leader on these issues."

Marshawn Wolley

Marshawn Wolley

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Richard Schneider
Michael Jackson