Yashwant Prakash Vyas has been named director of the Aulbani J. Beauregard Center for Equity, Justice, and Freedom at the University of New Hampshire. Vyas is a proud second-generation educator and is a higher education, nonprofit and organization development practitioner who centers access, equity and inclusion in his work. He has a portfolio of working at three R1 public flagship universities in the United States.
“My story exemplifies how educational attainment can empower individuals to achieve basic and better life outcomes; but it also demonstrates that even those who have talent and drive can only go so far unless they are also fortunate enough to have access to opportunities. Since I first realized the positive impact that educational attainment could have on my life, it has been my mission to create accessible and equitable pathways to education,” Vyas says. “I am grateful for and excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the UNH community to foster a climate of equity and inclusion, to facilitate student success and to advance the public mission of the University of New Hampshire.”
Vyas comes to UNH from the University of Mississippi, where he served as the inaugural diversity education and strategic initiatives director. In that role, he advanced the efforts to foster a climate of equity and inclusion at the university through directing the development, implementation and assessment of campus-wide educational interventions (trainings, coaching, consulting) for faculty, staff, administrators and students, resource development, and strategic planning.
At the University of Iowa, Vyas was the assistant director for diversity resources in the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and an adjunct instructor in the University College. In these roles, he advanced the efforts to foster a climate of equity and inclusion at the university through facilitating diversity education trainings for faculty, staff and students, designing training curricula, facilitating train-the-trainer capacity building efforts, strategic planning, programming, teaching and coaching and consultations related to creating diverse, inclusive, equitable workplaces and classrooms.
At Texas A&M University, among various roles, Vyas directly oversaw the development, implementation and assessment of two retention programs tailored to foster equitable and accessible learning environments for Latinx and first-generation college students. He was student research week director (the largest student-run, single-university research symposium in the nation). Additionally, he has worked for a private grant-making foundation, Greater Texas Foundation, and engaged in efforts to ensure that all students in the state are prepared for, have access to and complete post-secondary education.
Vyas has a Master of Public Administration degree with specialization in higher education policy and administration along with graduate certificates in organization development and change, public management, and nonprofit management. He has a Bachelor of Science degree with minors in mathematics and leadership studies. His academic honors include memberships in numerous scholarly associations such as the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society.
Highlights in Vyas's list of national and international recognitions include two NASPA NOW Professional Awards (an early career achievement award from NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education), Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholar Outstanding Staff Award, Annuit Coeptis Award (an early career achievement award from American College Personnel Association (ACPA) – College Student Educators International), and Outstanding Social Justice Educator, Trainer, or Mentor Award from American College Personnel Association (ACPA) – College Student Educators International.
In his spare time, Vyas pursues his hobby of drawing and painting. Vyas's pronouns are he, him, his.