Much has changed in the world since Robert Solomon first stepped onto campus on Feb. 1, 2020, as Case Western Reserve University’s new vice president for the Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity. Soon the country would be gripped by a worldwide pandemic and social and racial protests. 

In a recent article published in Think magazine, Solomon shared his thoughts on diversity and inclusion in higher education and the priorities of his office at Case Western Reserve. Read the conversation and check out a diversity snapshot of the university, but first, take time to see how he answered this week’s five questions.

1. What is something cool you’ve learned at CWRU this year?

The coolest thing I learned this academic year was that the site of the Allen library was a stop in the underground railroad.  I suppose it accompanies a number of historical facts about Case that should remind us that the foundation of this institution was built upon the values of equality, justice and freedom for all humankind.  The depth and strength of our historical legacy of equity is probably more profound than we realize. 

2. Do you prefer to get work done early in the morning or late at night?

Although I am not a morning person, I concede that once I am awake, I am far more productive in the morning.  I tend to focus better.

3. What do you consider the greatest invention?

The internet. It allows us to connect across the world and share seemingly limitless information at our fingertips. We use it in professional life, personal life  and education. It has sustained us during the pandemic, facilitating commerce, entertainment, meetings and worship.

4. Outside of school and work, what is your favorite way to spend time?

My favorite pastime is joining my family at a ballpark to watch our son play baseball. He has played since he was 5 years old up until being drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2018 when he graduated from college. He is in the Padres’ minor league system right now, but whenever he hangs up his cleats, you can look for us at Progressive Field.

5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?

The people. I have become fast friends with so many wonderful colleagues and have connected with such outstanding students who are bright, engaged, compassionate and kind. I cannot wait to sit across the table from so many of my new friends and share a normal meal and frivolous conversation.