VCDEI Memo: Welcome to the Spring Semester

VCDEI Rame Hanna

I am delighted to welcome everyone back for the spring semester. I hope each of you enjoyed a joyful and refreshing winter break. As we step into the new year, I invite you to center your mental health and well-being and welcome new opportunities for learning and community connection.

Our commitment to fostering an equitable and inclusive environment remains unwavering. I encourage you to engage with the various resources, events, and initiatives offered by the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). From monthly cultural celebrations, educational trainings, and programs to our evolving Inclusive Excellence and Belonging Action Plan, there are numerous opportunities to connect, learn, and celebrate in the community. To stay informed on offerings from the DEI Division, please visit our website.

To kick off the spring semester, I’m excited to highlight a few updates on our ongoing DEI initiatives occurring across campus.

DEI Education and Outreach

  • The Office of DEI Education and Outreach is dedicated to fostering cultural responsiveness through training programs and coordinating initiatives on critical DEI topics. We are thrilled to welcome Nicole Simmons-Rochon as the Program Director for DEI Programs and Resources. Nicole’s role will enhance our ability to create new programs and provide ongoing support.
  • As we begin our spring semester, we invite you to join us for the 3rd annual UCCS MLK Days of Service & Action, a unique three-day program taking place from January 31-February 3, culminating in a campus service project in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Participants can volunteer for service projects and participate in educational workshops focused on activism, advocacy and reflect on King’s teachings. Check out our registration page to learn more about the upcoming series of programs coordinated by our MLK committee.
  • We also look forward to celebrating the many heritage and identity months this Spring, including Black Heritage Month, Women’s Heritage Month, Arab American Heritage Month, and Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month. These Heritage Month programs are intentionally designed to foster inclusive spaces for dialogue and community building. Please check out the Division of DEI website for the full list of heritage and identity months.
  • This semester, we will also be continuing our Inclusive Belonging Spotlight Series, showcasing the impactful work of our many campus partners, including the Matrix Center, Center for Religious Diversity & Public Life, Project Crest, and the Department of Social Work. Be on the lookout for upcoming communications on these initiatives on the Division of DEI website and future newsletters.

International Affairs

  • As we continue to strive for excellence in fostering a diverse and inclusive campus, we are thrilled to announce that we have restructured key positions to serve our international community better and enhance global engagement at UCCS.
  • Our Education Abroad Program Director Telma Frumholtz serves as the lead contact in international affairs for all things study abroad as the Education Abroad Program Director. Students and faculty inquiring about abroad opportunities are encouraged to connect with Telma.
  • International Student and Scholar Program Manager, Karlye Enkler, leads international affairs in program development, student engagement, and advising. Karlye is the the main contact for programming and events for international students and scholars here on campus.
  • International Student Scholar Program Director, Tina Ewald, serves as the UCCS leader in international education, maintaining university compliance in hosting international students and scholars.Our International Affairs team is committed to making UCCS a welcoming and globally connected institution, and these recent changes will help us achieve that goal more effectively.
  • The experience, dedication, and expertise of our team will undoubtedly contribute to the success of our international education programs. Some quick facts about our office’s achievements over the past year: International Student and Scholar Services hosted 23 international scholars from 15 different countries, enriching our academic community with diverse perspectives and knowledge. In addition, we are honored to be the academic home for over 185 international students from 57 different countries. Education Abroad provided a remarkable 124 students with the opportunity to broaden their horizons by studying abroad in over 20 countries during the last academic year. These accomplishments highlight our ongoing commitment to creating a globally inclusive and diverse campus environment.
  • If you would like to learn more about the wonderful initiatives happening in International Affairs, please visit the International Affairs website. We believe that fostering cross-cultural understanding and enriching the educational experience for all our students is a vital part of our mission, and we are proud of the strides we have made.

DEI Awards and Grant Opportunities

  • The University of Colorado Office of the President is excited to extend an invitation for submissions for the President’s DEI Award Grants. Your nomination submissions are eagerly awaited! For further details or to submit a nomination, please visit DEI Awards and Grants. The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 2, 2024. 
  • Our Division of DEI is also thrilled to announce that nominations for the upcoming second annual UCCS Inclusive Excellence Campus Award will soon be open! This yearly recognition acknowledges remarkable efforts promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging at UCCS. Eligible candidates will have shown outstanding commitment and success in advancing the UCCS DEI Strategic Framework Pillars. This award serves as a means for UCCS to honor and celebrate contributions within the campus community that significantly influence and transform the culture at UCCS. If you are interested in assistance with writing your submission for DEI Awards and Grants, please reach out to Sloan Gonzales at [email protected].

I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the entire UCCS community for your continued support of the DEI Division. Your dedication to making our campus a more inclusive and globally connected place is truly inspiring. Should you have any suggestions or ideas for future initiatives, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Together, we will continue to make our campus an enriching place for all!

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.