BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College President Tamara Nichols Rodenberg has announced the hiring of Tahirah J. Walker as the college’s first executive director of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Dr. Walker will also be on faculty as an assistant professor of communications and media arts.

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion are mission-critical elements of Bethany’s work as a community,” she said. “I am excited to serve the students, staff and faculty as we build a Bethanian future that will strengthen our commitment to the flourishing and well-being of people who have been marginalized or under-represented. I am looking forward to shining a light on the great DEI assets Bethany already has and growing new seeds of hope and opportunity here.”

Walker comes to Bethany from the University of Pittsburgh where she served as the manager of learning design and teaching and learning consultant for three years.

She previously worked at Penn State University’s Western Pennsylvania-area campuses. She spent 12 years at the Greater Allegheny campus on faculty and as a program director supporting a range of educational equity initiatives.

In 2019, she was honored with the Center for Teaching and Learning’s Advancing Educational Excellence Award for her dedication to the mission of teaching excellence at the University of Pittsburgh.

Walker is also an award-winning writer of works in a number of genres, including academic papers, poetry, and memoir essays. She has written for outlets including, Pitt’s University Times, and Salem Press’ Critical Insights series. She is also the creator of a Pittsburgh-area initiative designed to celebrate the literary arts of women of color and support young writers.

Walker holds a Ph.D. in Rhetoric from Duquesne University and a Master of Science degree in Educational Technology Management from Carnegie Mellon University. She completed her undergraduate degree at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.

Her research interests include intersectionality, educational policy, and Black cultural media studies.

She has a strong commitment to community engagement and diversity. She has participated in the writing and implementation of several government and foundation grants to support college students and regional arts endeavors.

Walker has enjoyed professional partnerships with the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, The Chuck Cooper Foundation, and Pitt’s Community Engagement Centers. In 2020, she was nominated for an Athena Mentoring Award. She has benefitted greatly from outstanding mentors in her own life and believes deeply in the necessity of paying that forward.

As executive director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Walker will meet regularly with the provost, vice president of Student Life, and athletic director who together will constitute the leadership crafting the student experience at Bethany College. She will also provide input and guidance to the vice president of enrollment and marketing as well as the Board of Trustees on issues related to diversity and inclusion.


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.