Neil Outar, interim chief diversity officer (CDO) at Missouri University of Science and Technology since August 2017, will become the university’s CDO effective July 1, 2019.
“Neil has been very effective as interim chief diversity officer over the past two years, and I’m very pleased to appoint him to the permanent position,” Missouri S&T Chancellor Christopher G. Maples said. “Neil’s commitment to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for our students, faculty, staff and visitors will serve our university well.”
“I am certainly excited about this opportunity,” says Outar. “I’ve gotten to know Rolla over the past few years, and it’s a special place with a great sense of community. Anything that I can do to help lower barriers between students, faculty and staff as well as between campus and the surrounding community is important to me.”
Outar will be responsible for guiding Missouri S&T’s chancellor and leadership team on diversity and equity issues. In the role, he serves as Title IX coordinator, chief equity officer and American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance coordinator, and ensures the university’s compliance with laws and regulations related to civil rights and disabilities.
He hopes to continue fostering Missouri S&T’s efforts at graduating students with the ability to understand, communicate and interact with people across cultures.
“I would like to continue working on infusing cultural competency into our curriculum to make better graduates and professionals,” says Outar. “I would also like to open the campus more to the Rolla community. The university brings a lot of value to Missouri, and the people who live and work here should know that we have a lot to give and the learning and exchange of ideas flows both ways. We are a better community for it.”
Outar joined Missouri S&T in 2015 to establish the office of institutional equity, diversity and inclusion, which investigates and adjudicates civil rights concerns on effecting campus. He developed a new recruitment plan for Missouri S&T with diversity as a central pillar of the initiative, implemented diversity training as part of the onboarding of new staff and earned Missouri S&T a three-year $300,000 grant to address sexual assault prevention.
A national search process for the CDO began in August of 2018, and the committee chose Outar to continue in the position.
“Neil has a well-established record in equity, diversity and inclusion,” says Dr. Steve Corns, Missouri S&T associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering, who co-chaired the search committee. “He has a rare combination of legal expertise and approachability that makes him uniquely qualified for this critical role on campus. I look forward to many more years of his leadership bringing together our campus community.”
In 2018, Outar led an effort to secure $748,000 for diversity and inclusion efforts at Missouri S&T from the University of Missouri System’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council for use in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years. Missouri S&T will use the funds to support peer mentoring for students from underrepresented and first-generation college backgrounds, improve disability services for students and staff, provide programming for the Celebration of Nations event, and promote diverse scholarship among faculty.
Under Outar’s leadership, Missouri S&T began Miner Values training workshops during Orientation Week in August 2018. About 1,300 freshmen learned about Missouri S&T values through these workshops, and more than 50 faculty and staff worked with small groups of students on diversity, equity and inclusion topics. The 75-minute workshops featured a mix of lecture, conversation and interactive activities to establish Missouri S&T’s value of inclusion in the Missouri S&T community, says Outar.
“Overall, the reports we got back indicated that it was a very positive experience for the students,” Outar says. “We are planning to offer this workshop again this fall.”
Outar earned his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000 and attended law school at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to earn his Arkansas law license in 2012.
He is married to Elizabeth Outar, who serves as director of the Crawford County Library District, and they have three sons: Ty, Ethan, and Joseph.