Springfield, MO—Dr. Kenneth D. Coopwood Sr., Missouri State University’s vice president of diversity and inclusion, has announced his resignation, effective April 30, 2016. The announcement came less than a week after the university released the results of an independent investigation finding that Coopwood had not been discriminated against on the basis of his race.
“I agreed to the investigation and actively participated in it,” Coopwood said. “I think that the investigative team took the matter seriously and conducted a thorough investigation. While I accept the investigation and its findings, I have decided it would be best for me to pursue other professional opportunities.”
Noting the release of its campus and community climate survey in 2015, Coopwood stated that the university is poised to continue making advances in diversity and inclusion after his departure.
“I have appreciated the opportunity to work for Missouri State, and am proud of the progress that the university has made during my time as vice president of diversity and inclusion,” Coopwood stated. “There are many people at the university and throughout Springfield who are committed to ensuring that the Missouri State campus is known for being a place of inclusion, and I am confident that the good work will continue on campus and in the community after my departure.”
Coopwood was hired as Missouri State’s first vice president of diversity and inclusion in October 2011. During his tenure, he initiated the Statewide Collaborative Diversity Conference and was honored by INSIGHT Into Diversity in 2015 by receiving the Diversity Visionary Award. He also led the effort that culminated in Missouri State’s 2014 receipt of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award.
“We’ve come a long way regarding diversity and inclusion and will continue to make progress going forward,” said Missouri State University President Clif Smart. “With Ken being on leave until April 30, we will be aggressively looking to identify an internal candidate who can continue the momentum, ideally sometime this week.”