September 19, 2023

Looking Ahead with Joi Garrett Scales

New dean for diversity, inclusion, and belonging, and director of the McClain Center shares excitement and vision in student-led Q&A

Earlier this summer, Joi Garrett Scales, former associate director of career operations and student employment in the Office of Career Engagement and Professional Development, accepted a new position at Wittenberg. Scales is now the new assistant dean for diversity, inclusion and belonging, and the new director of the William A. McClain Center for Diversity. She has hit the ground running since taking on her new responsibilities and recently took time out of her busy schedule to speak with Zora Shakhan ’25 for a brief Q&A.

Wittenberg: Coming from your prior position working on student employment and career engagement, how does it feel to be in this new position, especially helping to provide representation for underrepresented groups on campus? 

Scales: It feels great to shift my focus to a community I have an affinity with. My career in higher education started out in multicultural affairs and diversity education. In many ways, taking on this role is a return to my first love and a major reason why I became a student affairs’ professional – working with underrepresented students on college campuses. I'm also excited to take on this role coming from career and student employment because it allows me to work with many of the same familiar faces I have been working with over the years, but in a different way.

Wittenberg: What are some of the things you would like to achieve in your new position?

Scales: One of my main goals is to bring new energy into the McClain Center by changing the way the space is used and making it a place students want to come for support on campus. Brianna Langs, associate director for diversity, inclusion, and belonging, and I are also working hard to provide consistent support and quality advising to the student groups we advise. 

Wittenberg: Are there any major changes you are looking to make to the program? 

Scales: I would like for us to bring diversity education training and cultural awareness for students to campus. I would love to strengthen our new WITT Connected program for incoming students and establish good connections with our new success advisors.

Wittenberg: What are some things you would like the minority student body to do to help with your transition and/or help the program move forward? 

Scales: Participate! We would love to see students engage more. Students have been hesitant to participate in things since the pandemic, and I would love for students to take a chance and show up to something new this year. My hope is that students will be pleasantly surprised and maybe even learn something new.

Wittenberg: What are some activities you are looking forward to this upcoming academic year?

Scales: I am interested in bringing some really cool and interesting cultural programming to campus. I will be happy if I am able to bring at least one of my ideas to our community in the 2023-2024 academic year.

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About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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