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 Tuesday, January 22, 2008 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement begins a new "Odyssey" with Sallye McKee
By Allison Sylvest

Since her August 2007 appointment as vice chancellor for diversity, equity and community engagement, Sallye McKee has been familiarizing herself with the many individuals and groups on campus that represent our community. Though she's no stranger to our campus – she was the director of the Multicultural Arts and Sciences Program (MASP) during its formative years – there has been much to learn about the programs currently in place, old and new.

"Diversity for a modern research university is about honoring multiple identities and fostering respectful inclusion as we seek more intelligent ways of knowing, learning and teaching," said McKee. "Becoming more astute about our university's strengths and needs will enable us to reinvent and expand diversity in terms of our local, regional, national and global imperatives to build a better world."

McKee has a background of more than 25 years in higher education, working on issues of diversity at University of Minnesota, University of Denver, Bowling Green State University in Ohio and from 1992 to 1996 at CU-Boulder. Her most recent appointments were associate to the president for institutional diversity at East Carolina University and Metropolitan State College of Denver. During her career she has been recognized with several national awards for service learning and community building.

McKee is currently focusing on staffing the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE – pronounced Odyssey) with campus experts who will work to represent the needs of students, faculty and staff. David Aragon, former co-director of the Multicultural Engineering Program, has been appointed as assistant to the vice chancellor and will support the CU-LEAD program and coordinate matters related to student success, especially undergraduates.

"With the implementation of the Flagship 2030 Strategic Plan, we will see an unwavering commitment to diversity and an increase in graduate students," McKee said. "This is an exciting opportunity to build a diverse post-graduate population and to expand our support for faculty development activities."

ODECE will offer technical assistance with faculty searches to recruit and retain quality faculty from diverse backgrounds. For this mission, McKee has enlisted the help of Patricia Rankin, professor of physics and principal investigator of the Leadership Education for Advancement and Promotion faculty development initiative for women. "Academic departments select their faculty colleagues; ODECE wants to contribute to this important process by helping to attract a varied pool of faculty whose work will enhance the overall scholarship and diversity of our university," said McKee.

For staff, McKee envisions more opportunities for personal enhancement, both through contributing their skills to volunteer work and benefiting from programs meant to augment their experience as employees of the university. As a model for future initiatives, she pointed out the General Education Diploma Program, a collaboration of Organizational and Employee Development, the School of Education and the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education. "Our staff have much to contribute, personally and professionally," said McKee. "It's an opportunity for all of us to come together to enhance the campus climate."

"I depended on the expertise and wisdom of Program Assistant Sharon Vieyra and the volunteer assistance of Alphonse Keasley, director of MASP, to provide leadership around community engagement and campus climate issues," she said.

McKee encourages involvement from all campus community members and plans to hold regular open houses on Friday afternoons in the third floor Regent Administrative Center office. ODECE has recently published their fall 2007 newsletter, Focus on Diversity, which introduces their staff and highlights many programs and opportunities on campus and in surrounding communities.

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