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From left, Algerian Hart, Nicole West, Juan Meraz and Kelly Cabrera Hayes are the finalists. 
Provided by Missouri State University 
From left, Algerian Hart, Nicole West, Juan Meraz and Kelly Cabrera Hayes are the finalists. 

MSU names finalists for interim chief diversity officer 

Posted online

Missouri State University officials say they plan to replace retiring Chief Diversity Officer Wes Pratt with a one-year interim appointment of an internal candidate.  

Interviews are scheduled Aug. 1 for four finalists, identified in alphabetical order: Algerian Hart, Kelly Cabrera Hayes, Juan Meraz and Nicole West.  

Hart is associate dean and professor of the Graduate College at MSU and is former acting department chair for the Department of Kinesiology. Previous teaching and administrative experience includes work at Western Illinois University and University of Nevada Las Vegas. Hart has also served as a track and field coach.  

Hayes is the university’s coordinator of the International Leadership and Training Center, a position she has held since 2013. She is the former director of the office of communications and the radio station for the Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira, Colombia, and was a TV anchor in Colombia as well.  

Meraz is assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion, serving under Pratt, and has held MSU diversity roles in the office of the provost and the College of Business administration. He previously taught computer information systems and business courses and was manager of university bands.  

West is a fellow for diversity and faculty development with the university’s Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning Advisory Council. She formerly served as graduate program director for the student affairs in higher education master’s program. Previous teaching and administrative experiences were with the University of South Florida and the Village of Excellence Academy, a public charter school in Tampa, Florida.  

Over the next year, the university will assess the need for a national search, according to spokesperson Emily Yeap.  

Pratt is set to retire Aug. 1, as previously announced last month. Chief diversity officer and assistant to the president since 2016, Pratt has been an employee of the university since 2007. 


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