Dr. Shawn Edwards promoted to The Citadel’s new chief inclusive excellence officer role

hief Diversity Officer Shawn Edwards poses for a portrait at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday, February 10 2021. (Photo by Cameron Pollack / The Citadel)

Shawn Spann Edwards, DBA, is now The Citadel Chief Inclusive Excellence Officer. Edwards, who has served the college since 2014 as chief diversity officer, was recently promoted to become the first person in the new role that is part of the president’s leadership team.

“A diverse, inclusive environment creates the optimal learning and working experiences for The Citadel community,” said The Citadel President, Gen. Glenn. M. Walters, USMC (Ret.). “Over her almost seven years with the college, Dr. Shawn Edwards has consistently demonstrated the leadership capabilities and knowledge critical to guiding the college successfully toward our strategic goals in the area of diversity and inclusion. Elevating her role to Chief Inclusive Excellence Officer represents our commitment to this continuing effort and our confidence in her work.”

The Citadel Chief Inclusive Excellence Officer leads the development and implementation of proactive diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in support of the college’s mission, core values, and the Our Mighty Citadel 2026 strategic plan to create a learning and working environment that is inclusive and welcoming.

“I am elated that General Walters recognizes the importance of inclusive excellence in all that we do at The Citadel,” said Edwards. “Through the work of many on campus, The Citadel is already well positioned to move our efforts to the next level, in alignment with our core values of honor, duty and respect. I look forward to deep engagement as a member of the president’s staff.”

In addition to serving as chief inclusive excellence officer, Edwards is an adjunct faculty member for the College of Charleston and the owner of Solutions by Shawn Edwards, LLC, a consulting practice focused on providing diversity, equity, inclusion, culture alignment strategies and human resources services to its clients. 

Dr. Shawn Edwards helping lead host a Minority Contractor Information Session for the Capers Hall replacement project at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday, February 16, 2021. Of the $50 million construction budget, at least 10% is intended to go to minority owned contractors.

Edwards holds a Doctor of Business Administration from Temple University, an MBA with a Human Resource Management concentration and a Graduate Certificate in College Teaching and Learning from Walden University, a Bachelor of Arts in Management from Webster University and an Associate of Arts in Fashion Merchandising from Bauder College. In addition, Edwards holds the designation of Senior Professional in Human Resources, certified by the Human Resources Certification Institute and is a SHRM Senior Certified Professional.

Edwards serves as a board member for Together SC and the YWCA of Greater Charleston, and an advisory board member for Palmetto Warrior Connection. She is also a member of the Diversity Council for the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, a member of Explore Charleston’s Heart for Hospitality Advisory Board, and Chair of Temple University’s DBA Alumni Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board.

In addition to Edwards work as a mentor and community volunteer, she was a facilitator for the Charleston Illumination Project, a 2013 fellow of Furman University’s Riley Institute Diversity Leaders Initiative, was recognized as one of the Charleston Regional Business Journal’s 2015 Forty Under 40, is a 2006 graduate of Leadership Charleston, a 2016 graduate of Leadership South Carolina, and was the recipient of the Fall 2017 Spirit of The Citadel Presidential Award. Edwards is also a member of the ministerial staff for Christian Praise & Worship Center in North Charleston.

Originally from Jersey City, New Jersey, Edwards resides in Charleston with her husband Derrick J. Edwards. Together they have five children and two grandchildren.