Brielle Nettles

Nettles named new leader of DEI at AU

Published on Aug. 23, 2022
Student Affairs

ASHLAND, Ohio – Brielle Nettles was recently selected to head diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at Ashland University, taking on the position of executive director for diversity, equity and inclusive excellence/special assistant to the president. She officially began her duties Aug. 9.

“We are grateful to have a fine professional like Ms. Brielle Nettles leading the DEI efforts at AU,” stated Carlos Campo, president of Ashland University. “She is committed to our distinctive approach to diversity, which seeks to be welcoming, unifying and truly inclusive, while staying true to our founding Brethren values.”

Nettles is excited to be joining AU at what she aptly describes as an “important time of institutional growth” and looks forward to making an impact with “the meaningful work set before (her).” “As the university experiences external beautification, evident in the construction happening across campus, I believe an internal renewal is occurring as well. I am honored to build upon AU’s rich legacy and steward the work of fulfilling our potential as an inclusive community of radical hospitality and belonging for all,” she remarked.

A proficient and results-driven DEI practitioner, Nettles has begun to sort out some short- and long-term goals for AU to increase diversity and foster inclusiveness among the student body, as well as the faculty and staff. “I want to partner with students, faculty, staff, administration, departments, centers and the larger Ashland community to do the work of cultivating a healthy inclusive community where all members have a deep sense of belonging and where all members can thrive,” she commented.

“When I think about the purposeful, actionable and trackable measurements of that goal, some of the things I’m focusing on are increasing student retention and completion rates, engaging student organizations that advance diverse missions and increasing student satisfaction with DEI programs and services,” she continued. “I am also thinking about walking with the community into a deeper awareness of the intrinsic worthiness of every person and the value our collective seen and unseen diversity brings to AU. This perspective moves us into ways of being that preserve and affirm human dignity. It gives us an infrastructure for connecting across difference and treating all people with respect … and moves us toward unity, connectedness, support and flourishing.”

Nettles holds nearly a decade of experience facilitating DEI initiatives, leading equity and belonging efforts, supporting the recruitment, retention and success of underrepresented community members and cultivating inclusive spaces. She served as the director of student equity and inclusion at Clark College in Vancouver, Wash., and as the associate director of the Greenfield Intercultural Center at the University of Pennsylvania, in addition to roles at the Maryland Institute College of Art and Fordham University. She has provided consultation and training to leaders in higher education, reviewed policies with a DEI lens, identified barriers to equity and recommended changes based on DEI research and best practices.

Nettles holds a bachelor’s degree in cultural studies from SUNY Empire State College and a master’s in social work from Fordham University. Also, she trained at the Center for Court Innovation at Midtown Community Court, a problem-solving court in New York City that works to create a fair, effective and humane justice system.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.