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 Tuesday, October 27, 2009 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Coloradans, we have good news to share!
Sallye McKee, Vice Chancellor of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement

Students from Hispanic families reflect the largest and fastest growing population in the state; consequently, all of our campuses can be positively impacted by this expansion of talent. Last Friday, Oct. 23, a great group of higher education leaders from across the state of Colorado chose to meet on our campus to discuss ways to positively impact and enhance college enrollment for these citizens.

After a hearty welcome from our Chancellor Phil DiStefano and an announcement about the upcoming Annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit on Nov. 2-3, one of the attendees quietly asked me, “Will the summit address our campus commitment to recruitment and graduation of Colorado’s Hispanic students?” My emphatic answer of ‘yes!’ highlights the importance of this year’s summit as we prepare for these future scholars. So what’s the connection to enrollment? It’s in ensuring that we have a civil, welcoming, respectful and supportive campus climate.

Our campus has an AVC for Campus Climate, Alphonse Keasley, who works with the four Chancellor’s Advisory Committees that planned this year’s Diversity and Inclusion Summit. Alphonse has provided me with an overview of this year’s event and its importance to enhancing and sustaining a campus culture of inclusive excellence that is necessary in order for all of us to thrive and support our new demographics. He shared with me the following ideas about the critical role of the summit in our campus history, and our current campus life.

The Annual Diversity Summit is a campus tradition that marks its 15th year.
Since 1994, our campus leaders have provided resources to support the idea that learning about and proactively practicing what we know about diversity is a campus value that must be shared by all. Unfortunately, some faculty, staff and students are not aware of this huge commitment, and that's ODECE’s job – to ensure that all of us work harder to practice what we believe.

As we build our global perspectives on the critical role of diversity, we lay the foundation for including the diversity of students from the families who make up our fastest growing state demographic. A major goal of this year’s summit is to ensure that all of our faculty, staff, students and alumni know, believe and celebrate the fact that diversity is everybody’s business. The 2009 Annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit will include sessions that are specifically designed to help each of us enhance our multicultural skill set so that we are able to better understand how inclusion and inclusive excellence help us build a stronger democracy. Many of the sessions will offer ways to examine, expand and redefine diversity.

For example, the keynote speakers on Nov. 2 are Google Boulder’s site director, Scott Green, and human resources sourcing specialist, Amy Ho. Both of these Boulderites work at Google, a company that recognizes diversity as critical to human advancement across our planet. And it’s extra special to all of us that Amy is a CU alum who graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences in 2005.

We know given our keen intellect, our thirst for proactive community and our utmost respect for the role of civility, we can practice what we aspire to become. We know that without attention to the development of multicultural competencies we cannot ensure a healthy campus climate. Our speaker for Nov. 3 is a CU alum who has an excellent reputation for overcoming obstacles related to cross-cultural differences. Attorney John Tayer presently serves as director of public affairs and communication for Roche Colorado.

As an added bonus, all of these speakers will bring not only their knowledge but “swag” for the first few hundred attendees, so make sure to arrive a wee bit early!

Our campus has real talent and expertise to listen to and learn from.
Just one look at the membership of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committees underscores the fact that we have outstanding, dedicated diversity and inclusion experts among our faculty, staff and students. Not only did many members of this dynamic group help to plan this year’s summit, several of them are presenting and have influenced others to do so as well. For example, through their influence, other key campus individuals and groups are leading sessions on the topics of gender, sexual orientation, disabilities and digital accessibility, “lazy wisdom,” negotiating at uneven tables, environmental inequality, and progressing toward the future in multiculturalism, just to name a few.

Talking about and working individually and collectively to improve diversity and inclusion can be difficult for many of us for a variety of reasons.
Finally, AVC Keasley reminded me that in order to reach the goals of Flagship 2030, no one in our campus family can be successful if s/he does not believe that diversity applies to each of us. Sessions titled “How to Become an Ally” and “Sometimes I Feel Like the Enemy” will help us know how we can help our fellow community members, and give us ways to talk about difficult subjects.

Please take advantage of this important opportunity to become better faculty, staff and students, better community members and better individuals, so that we are prepared to become better citizens of our world.

Does diversity apply to you? Find out at the Diversity Summit, Nov. 2-3

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