(New York, November 23, 2020)—The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that Lavita McMath Turner has been named the institution’s first Chief Diversity Officer. McMath Turner comes to The Met from Stella & Charles Guttman Community College, City University of New York (CUNY), where she served as Assistant Dean for Equity, Inclusion, and Experiential Learning. In her role at The Met, McMath Turner will collaborate closely with partners in a wide range of departments, particularly Human Resources, to oversee the execution of the Museum’s current Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access plan and Commitments to Anti-Racism, Diversity, and a Stronger Community, issued in the summer of 2020, and to lead the creation of new initiatives that support The Met’s goals to become evermore inclusive, equitable, fair, and welcoming.
McMath Turner will join the Museum in January and report to The Met’s President and CEO, Daniel H. Weiss, who commented: “Lavita McMath Turner has an exceptional record of success promoting equity throughout her career in cultural and higher education institutions, and she will be a key partner in helping The Met evolve into a more inclusive place to work, visit, and learn. I am greatly looking forward to working together—with the full support of our Board and so many across the institution—to achieve these goals.”
McMath Turner brings with her a wealth of experience creating change through policies, practices, and programs that allow all members of a community to feel valued, included, and supported. In her role as Assistant Dean for Equity, Inclusion, and Experiential Learning at Stella & Charles Guttman Community College, CUNY, McMath Turner provided strategic leadership in shaping the college’s equity, diversity, and inclusion plans and worked to address the equity gaps for students with diverse backgrounds. Prior to her work there, McMath Turner was the first Director of Government Relations at CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College, where she led important civic engagement efforts and advocated for providing more equitable access to higher education. She also worked at the Brooklyn Museum, managing their government relations department for six years and supporting the museum’s efforts to engage more deeply with the Brooklyn community. She serves on the boards of the Center for Racial Justice in Education and the Fair Elections Center.
McMath Turner holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education from The Graduate Center, CUNY; a Master of Science in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from the New School for Social Research; and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley.
“I have dedicated my career to creating equity, inclusion, and community within a range of arts and culture and higher education institutions, so it is with great excitement that I accept this new position at The Met,” commented McMath Turner. “The Met is committed to ensuring that both its staff and visitors feel valued and are able to experience the Museum as a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible cultural institution, goals I look forward to helping The Met achieve.”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has long been committed to creating a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment for staff and visitors alike. In an Institutional Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Access Policy Statement issued in spring 2019, the Museum declared that “Diversity, inclusion, and equal access have been, and will continue to be, fundamental principles at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.” In the summer of 2020, the Museum issued its Commitments to Anti-Racism, Diversity, and a Stronger Community that detailed 13 priorities and memorialized the institution’s objective to bring meaningful change through systemic improvement to the Museum’s policies, practices, and priorities. The list includes new approaches to how the Museum hires, trains, supports, and retains staff; how it will build, study, and oversee the collection and programs; and how it will structure governance and engage the Museum community.
November 23, 2020