On July 1, 1990, James B. Stewart assumed his duties as the newly created vice-provost of underrepresented groups at Penn State. Before joining the University, he served as director of the black studies program at Notre Dame from 1975-1980.
At Penn State, Stewart was responsible for planning, developing, coordinating, articulating, and advocating the University’s goals, policies, and procedures pertaining to equal opportunity. During his tenure, Penn State’s first diversity strategic plan was produced: “A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State: 1998-2003.” This initial strategic plan has served as the foundation for two subsequent revisions and updates.
As an official Penn State representative, Stewart has visited colleges and universities in several African countries including Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Niger, the Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. He has also served as a consultant for the Armed Forces Equal Opportunity Survey and the South African Defense Force Officers, and he has ongoing activity as an expert witness in court cases involving allegations of race and gender discrimination.
Stewart is currently a professor emeritus after retiring in June 2009 as professor of labor studies and employment relations, African and African American Studies, and management and organization.
The title of vice-provost of underrepresented groups later changed to vice-provost for educational equity. Terrell Jones currently serves in that role.