Davidson appointed as special assistant to the president

Pat Bowden Reporter


As of the start of this school year, Charlotte Davidson has taken on a new role as the temporary role of special assistant to the president and Davidson said she enjoys her new, busy position.

Davidson, once the director of Native American Education and Cultural Center, now holds the position of special assistant to the president for diversity and Native American affairs. “It’s definitely an exciting experience. I was sharing it with someone I felt very good with and starting my third year as director at the center, I happily and excitedly accepted to position,” Davidson said. “But it kind of feels like hitting the reset button on working relationships but everything has been going well with that regard.”

This change was prompted by the resignation of Jaime Nolan, former chief diversity officer.

Nolan, who resigned this past summer, left for a new opportunity in another state and opened up the new position for Davidson to be appointed to.

“Jaime Nolan resigned this summer and got a position at UNH [University of New

Hampshire]. The title indicates that [Davidson] has a different set of duties than she’s had in the past. Her position was effective at the start of the academic year,” said Bob Otterson, executive assistant to the president. “Her [Nolan’s] departure was a part of a very normal process for people who take other positions.”

SDSU President David Chicoine and Davidson worked together to outline principles that Davidson would help establish through her work, which lately has primarily been developing current and new relationships among faculty throughout campus.

“A lot of the guiding priorities that the president has outlined for me relate to Native American affairs and define what those actions are for each of those priorities that he outlined for me, which is what I’m working toward now for the close of the academic year,” Davidson said.

The title of special assistant to the president does not mean that she specifically works with Chicoine on a daily basis or works as an office assistant, but rather that she addresses ongoing relation issues and issues that may come up throughout the academic school year.

“The title indicates that there may be a number of projects that develop as the school year goes on,” Otterson said. “There are several functions that continue to meet and this is assigning people who are already at the university to see to those matters.”

The special assistant position requires her to work with upper level administration and directors to “visualize goals” that are established for the year, Davidson said.

Davidson said her position doesn’t feel overwhelming, despite her task of developing and maintaining a high number of work relations and having a regularly full schedule.

While Davidson is filling a temporary position, she says she “hasn’t thought that far yet” if she would take the position if it were permanently offered.

“I think that and for right now I’m thinking of what I need to accomplish right now for the calendar year and trusting that whatever happens, happens,” Davidson said.

In these relations that Davidson makes with faculty members, her underlying goal is to find the faculties’ and find out ways to make those goals realities.

“The conversations that I’ve been having are figuring out ways in which we can make better efforts to help cultivate inclusion and how that can become a part of the landscape for the campus community,” Davidson said.

Davidson said that faculty and campus are ready for these said changes, but some things are still not set in place, such as the language and concepts of a growing campus with a growing diversity.

Davidson works to bring in outside speakers – locally and nationally – to speak on behalf of the issues that are brought up to her.

The search for a new, permanent special assistant to the president has not yet begun.

“At some point a search will be conducted [for a permanent assistant], I cannot be sure when that is,” Otterson said.

Davidson encourages anyone with questions for her or that is interested in having a conversation dealing with these types of issues to contact her.

“If there are folks out there that are interested in the work that I’m doing or having these conversations to have more inclusive campus environment, reach out to me, I’m only a phone call or email away to show up and have those discussions,” Davidson said.