Sharon Parker is recently retired from service as the Assistant Chancellor for Equity and Diversity at the University of Washington Tacoma, where she has worked since 2007, as the campus’ first diversity officer at UW Tacoma, Dr. Parker launched numerous programs that served the campus and reached out to community, such as the Symposium on Contemporary Native American Issues in Higher Education, an ongoing workshop on developing individual cultural competencies, and both campus and high school mentoring programs. She oversaw the Diversity Resource Center that serves as a key educational resource on issues of race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, class. The Center also hosts an on-campus annual summit on diversity. As a member of the senior management team, Parker also served on university committees, headed the campus Diversity Task Force that monitors representational diversity among faculty, staff and students, and ensured that all aspects of diversity were addressed.
Prior to joining the UW Tacoma, Parker served as a Project co-director and co-Principal Investigator for the Campus Diversity Initiative (CDI). Based in California, the initiative was undertaken to increase access and success of low-income and underrepresented racial/ethnic minority students in higher education. The CDI included a strong evaluation component to assist participating colleges and universities focus their strategies for increasing access and success and to track institutional goals, as well as to help institutions develop their own evaluation expertise and mechanisms. The CDI Evaluation Project also served to contribute new knowledge about effective diversity practices to the higher education field; therefore, the team published numerous monographs, an impact study, and a guide to developing diversity initiatives.
She was also a visiting scholar at Claremont Graduate University and a Resource Faculty at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where she resides. Previous to the CDI Project, Parker served in a number of positions focusing on diversity issues, including: President of the American Institute for Managing Diversity, a nonprofit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, dedicated to studying the relationship of diversity initiatives to organizational development; director of the Social Responsibility Programs for The Union Institute; Associate Provost and Director of Multicultural Development at Stanford University; and consultant on various diversity initiatives in the nonprofit, education, and corporate sectors. She is co-author of monographs, reports, and a journal article on diversity issues and institutional effectiveness, and author of Diversity as Praxis for Institutional Transformation in Higher Education (2010).
From 1977 to 1990, Dr. Parker enjoyed a career in public policy advocacy in Washington, D.C. With a focus on issues of educational and economic equity, Parker served as the Assistant Director of the National Commission on Working Women, Chair of the Board of Directors National Institute for Women of Color (NIWC), Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the Washington Representative for Girls Incorporated (formerly Girls Clubs of America Inc.). In addition, she served on various national and local boards.
Parker holds a Ph.D. from the University of Auckland (NZ), a M.Ed. from Antioch University Graduate School, and a B.A. from the University of California Los Angeles.