Albion College names McZee as Chief Belonging Officer

January 12, 2023

Taran McZee knows that Albion College is serious about diversity, equity and inclusion.

“If Albion College was not serious about it, I would not be here,” said McZee, who started as the new chief belonging officer for Albion College Jan. 9.

The Chief Belonging Officer is a cabinet level position that reports directly to the president of Albion College.

“We are excited to have Taran here to help Albion College continue to grow and enhance diversity, equity and inclusion on our campus,” said Joe Calvaruso, interim president at Albion.

McZee most recently served as the director of Grand Valley State University GV Prep dual enrollment and TRiO program. Prior to that, McZee was the Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at Transylvania University in Kentucky.

“I consider myself a transformational leader,” said McZee. “I want to help Albion College build the right house on the foundation Ms. Williams created and take it to the next phase of DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion.) Ms. Williams (former Albion College CBO Keena Williams) put the right building blocks in place. I want to honor her work.

The first big step is to make sure Albion College is at a place where DEI is second nature,” said McZee, a native of Flint. “That is my goal. Building a household name for DEI work here at Albion. We take care of our house first and make this a model that others want to be part of.”

McZee has accomplished that before.

While serving as the Associate Vice President for DEI at Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Kentucky, McZee’s DEI report was the only school in the state to obtain a perfect score for DEI.

“We were up against flagship schools in the state of Kentucky. When we got that score they all started to call us and ask for help. That is what I want to do here at Albion College,” McZee said. “We didn’t set out to get a perfect score, we just wanted to do things the right way.”

McZee received his master’s degree in educational administration and his bachelor’s of science degree in sociology from Central Michigan University. He is currently finishing his dissertation at the University of Kentucky.

He is a member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education Standards of Professional Practice Institute Planning Committee, the African American Student Leadership Experience Board and the Black Boys and Men’s Symposium Committee.

McZee is also a recognized national DEI speaker and has won numerous honors for his work. He is also a certified DEI trainer as well as a certified Title IX trainer.

“DEI is about growth,” said McZee. “If everyone had a DEI focus, racism would not be erased but the world would be a better place. I love what I do because I get to change lives. That’s what DEI does.

“I want to meet people on their journey. I want them to know that I am here and I am available and I am ready. It’s that simple.”