VCDEI Memo: Welcome to the Spring Semester

VCDEI Rame Hanna

I am so delighted to be welcoming you back to UCCS this spring. I hope each and every one of you had a joyous and rejuvenating winter break. As we enter this new year, I invite you to center your mental health and wellness, show care and compassion to yourself and those around you, and lead with a DEI lens. Together we can foster a strong culture of belonging on campus and create more inclusive learning and work environments where all are invited to be their authentic selves.

As we build our institution’s DEI capacity, I am overjoyed to share that we have two wonderful leaders who have joined our Inaugural DEI Division. Sloan Gonzales, who serves as our inaugural Director of DEI Education and Outreach, and Bella Hettich, who serves as our inaugural Director of DEI Strategic Initiatives. Both of these incredible colleagues, in partnership with our campus community, will play a pivotal role in embedding DEI into the full fabric of our institution. Please join me in welcoming Bella and Sloan to the Mountain Lion community in their new roles!

As we gear up for spring semester, I wanted to briefly share a few updates on exciting DEI initiatives underway.

The DEI Division recently developed and launched the DEI Collaborative to promote solidarity and unity among the numerous DEI-centered offices from across UCCS. The collaborative includes representation from Disability Services, Institutional Equity, International Affairs, MOSAIC and LGBTQ+ Resource Center, Student Life, and Veteran and Military Affairs. Our hope with this new group is to foster greater partnerships and support for the campus and one another as part of our DEI strategic efforts.

During the fall semester, we were hard at work building a new DEI website to provide you with updated information on current events/programs, give you more details on DEI strategic planning efforts, and share resources. Sections include information on our DEI offices and committees and DEI student organizations, as well as a full DEI calendar designed to house all campus DEI programs and events in one easily accessible space. Future DEI website updates will also include detailed information on our Inclusive Excellence and Belonging (IEB) action planning process as well as college/division DEI goals with ongoing progress updates. Be sure to check back regularly.

Finally, I wanted to spotlight a few upcoming DEI educational opportunities that we invite you participate in:

The CU Social Justice Summit 2023 is on January 31, 2023, hosted by CU Boulder. This year’s theme, Operationalizing Liberation for a Diverse Democracy, is a call to disrupt behaviors and oppressive actions, structures and systems preventing our collective liberation as engaged citizens. This year’s summit is virtual and open to our entire CU campus community. Registration is now open for you to register for a session.

MLK Days Service and Action Keynote will take place on February 1, 2023 from 5 – 7 p.m. in Berger Hall. As the 60th Anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, this will be an exciting event that includes a keynote dinner, workshops, and service opportunities available to the UCCS community. Thank you to MOSAIC and LGBTQ+ Resource Center, Student Life, University Communications, UCCSlead, Office of the Dean of Students, Office of Sustainability, Office of Admissions, Office of Advancement, Alumni and Friends Association, and members of the DEI Division for organizing this wonderful event. We hope you can join us!

Finally, I wanted to thank the UCCS community for your commitment to centering DEI in all that you do. I am confident that together, we will foster a culture that is supportive and affirming for all. I wish you a wonderful 2023 and a great semester ahead!

About the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion aspires to strengthen DEI innovation, impacts, and practices as integral components of inclusive and academic excellence. The Division is committed to fostering an inclusive learning and work environment where all at UCCS feel a sense of belonging and can thrive. The DEI Division promotes the principles of inclusive excellence, multicultural education, and social justice that both enhance the University’s service to the public and contribute directly to the work environment and the quality of learning for all who participate. Additionally, the Division seeks to elevate the impact UCCS has as a regional and national leader in preparing students for success in a diverse global society and workforce.

You can also learn more about the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion online.