AMHERST — An attorney who administered Smith College’s affirmative action plan and oversaw its diversity and equity policies will become the town’s first director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Pamela Nolan Young’s appointment to the position was announced this week by Town Manager Paul Bockelman, subject to review by the Town Council.
Young said in a statement that Amherst, like other communities that have created similar positions, has an amazing opportunity.
“I look forward to assisting town residents, officials, employees and business and community leaders in meeting the challenges ahead as the town of Amherst advances to become the community it desires to be,” Young said.
“I am thrilled to have someone of Ms. Young’s caliber and experience on board to guide our efforts to create a more just, diverse, and equitable town,” Bockelman said in a statement.
Young has been a practitioner of DEI for more than 20 years and brings a range of skills and talents to the position, including initiating and developing DEI strategic plans, developing DEI data collection systems, providing training, and presenting at events and conferences throughout the country . She also maintains a consulting practice.
DEI is one of two new departments the town is launching, with the other known as Community Responders for Equity, Safety and Service. Its director, Earl Miller, started this spring, and the town is in the midst of advertising for the eight responders who will go to certain emergency calls.
Bockelman said both departments mark a significant investment in addressing equity and social justice, major goals for the town.
Young’s most recent work was at Notre Dame University, where she served as the initial director of Academic Diversity and Inclusion. Young’s tenure there included coordination of diversity initiatives, training and development, faculty and graduate student recruitment and retention, and communications.
At Smith, where she had been previously, Young was director of Institutional Diversity and Equity, serving as chairwoman of the President’s Diversity Council, and supervising the Office of Disability Services.
As an attorney, Young has practiced in the Hampden County District Attorney’s office, and her municipal experience was as assistant city solicitor for Springfield. She also brings experience as a human resources director at North Shore Community College in Danvers.
Young earned her undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College and her law degree at Notre Dame University, and holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Salem State University.
Young has also held national leadership positions as a task force member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, and serves on the board of directors of InterAction Initiative, Inc., an organization whose work is rooted in Critical Race Theory’s understanding of counter -narratives and intersectionality, and which promotes sharing the narratives of people of color.
The screening committee for the position was chaired by Human Resources Director Donna-Rae Kenneally and included Assistant Town Manager David Ziomek, Fire Chief Walter “Tim” Nelson, Amherst Public Schools Director of Student Services Marta Guevara, and Janeen Mantin, director of Prevention and Education at Hampshire College.
Doreen Cunningham, assistant superintendent for Diversity, Equity, and Human Resources for the public schools, also assisted Bockelman in interviewing finalists.
Scott Merzbach can be reached at [email protected]