aerial shot of Pratt campus


Nsombi B. RickettsPratt Institute Selects Nsombi B. Ricketts as Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Nsombi B. Ricketts, an accomplished diversity leader with significant higher education experience advancing inclusion efforts on college campuses and beyond, has been selected as Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Pratt Institute.   

Ricketts will report directly to Pratt President Frances Bronet, effective July 5, 2018, and will be the senior administrator responsible for implementing a comprehensive diversity strategic plan to enhance and continue to build on the Institute’s efforts in this area across campus.

“We are very pleased to announce Nsombi B. Ricketts as the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Pratt Institute,” said President Frances Bronet. “Social justice and equity are fundamental to the Institute’s mission, and Nsombi is the ideal person to ensure that our campus climate embodies a culture where everyone feels included and inspired to learn and create compelling work.”

Ricketts’ appointment as Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion follows a search conducted by a committee that included administrators, faculty, and staff from the Pratt community along with undergraduate and graduate students.

Leading the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Ricketts will have a critical role implementing the Institute’s new Diversity Strategic Plan, which was developed with student, faculty, and staff input and finalized in December 2017. Providing direction for a wide range of programs, Ricketts will build on existing initiatives and foster a diverse and inclusive environment. Key priorities for the Diversity Strategic Plan include creating a welcoming campus community, recruiting and retaining a diverse student body, hiring and retaining a diverse faculty and staff, and expanding “beyond the gates” to the external community.  

“I have dedicated my life’s work to being an advocate for diverse populations by improving access, equity, and inclusion at several organizations,” said Ricketts. “I look forward to joining the Pratt community in this inaugural role, and it will be my priority to foster an environment that welcomes and respects diverse perspectives, values, ideas, backgrounds, and beliefs.”

Before joining Pratt, Ricketts served as the Assistant Provost for Diversity and Inclusion at Northwestern University, and was previously the inaugural Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at The Graduate School at Northwestern.  As Assistant Provost, she collaborated with institutional leadership, internal partners, and external stakeholders to promote a culture of equity and inclusion for all Northwestern students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners. In her role as Assistant Dean, she implemented a new diversity recruitment strategy, which led to the most diverse PhD class in Northwestern’s history.

Prior to Northwestern, Ricketts was the Senior Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. Ricketts transitioned to academia after a corporate career with roles in diversity and marketing at American Express. 

Building on previous efforts at Pratt, a Diversity Committee was established in 2010 to assess and improve all areas related to diversity on campus. Key initiatives include a Diversity Advocate program, in which more than 50 staff, faculty, and students have been trained to serve as advocates within their departments and organizations regarding issues of diversity and inclusion; and a Center for Equity and Inclusion, which is staffed with an Assistant Director of Student Affairs for Equity and Inclusion, and serves as a space for students interested in coming together to address diversity-related issues both on and off campus.  Important areas of focus for the new Vice President will be to ensure Pratt’s commitment to recruiting and retaining faculty, staff, and students from diverse and traditionally underrepresented backgrounds; promoting an environment that welcomes diverse perspectives and life experiences; and encouraging all members of the Institute to develop mutual respect and appreciation for multiple viewpoints.

Ricketts earned her BS in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University and her MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University as a Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellow. Ricketts was also honored with a Global Multicultural Leader Award and The Consortium 10 Year Anniversary Alumni Award from Goizueta Business School.

For more information, please visit the Diversity and Inclusion section on pratt.edu. 


Diversity Strategic Planning Committees

Welcoming Environment: Create an environment where all students, faculty and staff believe they belong and matter.
Cathy Kenny and Helen Matusow-Ayres - co-chairs

Students: Recruit and retain a diverse student body and reduce disparities in graduation rates.
Judy Aaron - Chair

Faculty and Staff: Hire, retain and develop a diverse full and part time faculty and staff dedicated to advancing diversity and inclusion on campus and the success of each student admitted to Pratt.
Kirk Pillow - Chair

External Community: Coordinate and expand “beyond the gates” diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Recommended Chair - Aileen Wilson


Diversity Steering Committee 

The purpose of this committee is to develop implementation strategies for strategic directions that have emerged from meetings with senior leadership and the Main Event. The committee will be charged with:

  • Developing strategies for diversity and inclusion for areas of focus identified by senior leadership
  • Identifying measurements to map progress toward attainment
  • Determining the institutional capacity necessary to establish shared and sustained leadership including the organizational structure, areas of accountability, resources, and staffing levels within the context of other priorities at Pratt.
  • Making recommendations for the strategic directions.

Helen Matusow-Ayres, Chair
Judy Aaron
Vladimir Briller
Nakisha Henry
Jim Kempster
Cathy Kenny
Emily Ahn Levy
Kirk Pillow
Anthony Williams
Aileen Wilson
Dan Wright