BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Bruce E. Smail will be the interim director of the Indiana University LGBTQ+ Culture Center and special assistant to the vice president beginning Jan. 2. Smail, who has several years’ experience in organizations focused on equity, diversity and inclusion, replaces Doug Bauder, who is retiring after leading the LGBTQ+ Culture Center for 25 years.
This position is a dual appointment reporting to the vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs and to the assistant vice president for strategy, planning and assessment in the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs.
For decades, Indiana University has been recognized as a leader among higher education institutions for its efforts to support faculty, staff, students, alumni and others who identify as LGBTQ+. The LGBTQ+ Culture Center — created 25 years ago and administered by the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs — represents a focal point of this work, serving as a place where people are given the encouragement and resources to build meaningful relationships across differences and open their minds and hearts to matters relating to diversity and inclusion.
“Bruce is an outstanding advocate for critical issues involving the LGBTQ+ community,” said James C. Wimbush, vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs; dean of The University Graduate School; and Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership at Indiana University. “He will play a critical role in leading the assessment and planning necessary to meet the needs of students and the IU community for the next 25 years.”
Smail brings an extensive professional background in matters relating to equity, diversity and social justice to Indiana University. Most recently, he served as deputy director of the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles. Before that, he held the positions of director of the Cross Cultural Center at the University of California, Davis; director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Resource Center at the University of Colorado; and diversity education specialist at Indiana University Bloomington.
“More than his professional accomplishments, Bruce has the passion and heart to make a difference,” said Yolanda Treviño, assistant vice president of strategy, planning and assessment for the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs. “He is someone who will bring to the forefront the many voices that are too often silenced. His experiences and commitment will prove instrumental in helping to lead us into the future as we create new opportunities to ensure students successfully reach their educational goals.”
During his interim director appointment, Smail will implement programming support services to address issues of sexual orientation, gender identity, intersectionality and social justice, as well as interact with alumni and donors to better understand the needs of the IU Bloomington LGBTQ+ community over the next three years. In addition, he will manage and administer the LGBTQ+ Culture Center’s budget and supervise staff, graduate assistants and volunteers.
In the special assistant to the vice president role, Smail will assess the IU Bloomington campus’s five culture centers: Asian Culture Center, First Nations Educational and Cultural Center, La Casa Latino Cultural Center, LGBTQ+ Culture Center and the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.
Smail will also work with all of IU’s campuses to coordinate universitywide LGBTQ efforts and the spaces provided.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to return to Indiana University,” Smail said. “Cultural centers play a unique role on college campuses by targeting, supporting and advocating for specific communities, as well as helping the campus understand the community and build strong allies for that community. My own life experiences and various career positions have prepared me well for this work and for the work that lies ahead to enhance diversity, equity and community for all.”