Fair Appointed to Serve as VP for Diversity, Community Engagement
June 3, 2014
Dr. George Fair
Public education advocate Dr. George Fair, who has served as dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies since 1994, has been appointed to the position of vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Dallas.
In addition to continuing his role as dean, Fair will oversee The Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, which includes Faculty Diversity, Institutional Diversity Initiatives, Community Engagement, the Multicultural Center and the Galerstein Women’s Center. The mission of the office is to embrace, enhance and celebrate diversity at all levels of the University and the community through the efforts of faculty, staff, students, the executive leadership and community partnerships.
“As the University advances toward its goal of being regarded among the country’s great research universities, it is essential that we continue to expand the diversity of our students, faculty and staff,” said UT Dallas President David E. Daniel. “I believe our success as an institution hinges on our ability to not only recognize but also celebrate our differences.”
“Dr. Fair’s deep understanding of issues of diversity is apparent through his educational outreach on and off campus,” Daniel said. “He is perfectly suited to make a positive impact on the diversity of the UT Dallas community.”
Fair has been serving in an interim capacity since March, when Dr. Magaly Spector, who had held the position since 2008, stepped into a new role as professor in practice and assistant to the president for strategic initiatives.
Fair said his top priorities include increasing diversity through student recruitment and attracting faculty from historically underrepresented groups.
“Dr. Fair’s deep understanding of issues of diversity is apparent through his educational outreach on and off campus. He is perfectly suited to make a positive impact on the diversity of the UT Dallas community.”
“These goals will enable the further development of a growing campus community that facilitates interdisciplinary teaching and research across university programs,” Fair said.
Fair began his education career as a mathematics teacher in Pittsburgh Public Schools in 1966, before he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Artillery Branch, in June of that year. Fair served on active duty from March 1967 to January 1969, including one year in Vietnam.
In 1970, he returned to teaching and earned a master’s degree in special education. Fair went on to teach special education and returned to the University of Pittsburgh in 1971.
Fair joined the UT Dallas faculty as an assistant professor in the special education program in 1975 after earning his PhD in special education and educational research from the University of Pittsburgh. He has taught in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies since 1989.
As dean, Fair oversees the four bachelor’s degrees, one master’s degree and five minors offered in the school, as well as the Teacher Development Center. He currently teaches the capstone seminar course and oversees the research projects for the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies degree.
Fair has a deep-seated passion for helping students attain a quality education regardless of the students’ backgrounds or socioeconomic status. An expert on the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which later was made a part of the No Child Left Behind Act, Fair works with North Texas school districts to obtain and apply grant funds to educate homeless children.
Also under Fair’s direction, the School of Interdisciplinary Studies has for nearly 20 years sponsored Kids’ University, a two-week day camp for homeless children.
Fair has served on the advisory boards for Rainbow Days Inc. and Literacy Instruction for Texas. He also served as director of Fidelity Children’s Learning Fund at UT Dallas, which assisted students displaced by Hurricane Katrina, from 2005-2008.
“I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to assist UT Dallas in becoming a world-class institution which is committed to diversity and inclusion for all persons,” Fair said. “I believe that by increasing diversity and community engagement, the campus will be enriched for all students, faculty and staff.”
Fair is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Texas Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.