A Letter From the Executive Director

Dr. Cheryl Johnson


As the newly appointed Executive Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (ODEI), I have dedicated most of my professional life to dismantling inequities, and shining light on overt and covert racism.

Racism is structural, it is strongly planted in our institutions, and has been in place for hundreds of years. Therefore, when working toward the dismantling of these institutions, our campus will need to take a strategic and systemic approach - ODEI will assess, evaluate, and help HSU continuously improve. If we don't measure, we don't know what is changing, and if we don't know what is changing we are destined to come back to where we started. There are issues deeper than macro and microaggressions at work, and although the requested training might be one answer, it is not the complete answer.

Thus, ODEI would like to share a preliminary approach that can lead to true systems change. Beginning this fall, ODEI will conduct a "pilot" of the macro/microaggression training. ODEI will work closely with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OEI), to assess and evaluate the training curriculum to ensure it meets the goals of the open letters. An initial cohort of 60 faculty will be selected from CAHSS, CPS and CNRS to undergo the micro/macro aggression training.

To meet longer term goals, ODEI has formed a partnership with the newly created Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). ODEI will centralize training sessions on equity and diversity through the CTL. The CTL will be a "convener" of instructional design, trainings, culturally relevant pedagogy, and racial dialogues. In addition, the CTL in collaboration with ODEI, will engage experts in the field of racism, privilege, inclusivity, and other social justice issues that intersect in higher education. ODEI has also been attending various stakeholder meetings across campus and through dialogue has begun to integrate equity, inclusion and race into the various initiatives and conversations that are taking place on campus. ODEI will also partner with HR to develop staff trainings and professional development opportunities.

At the moment, ODEI is rapidly building capacity and would ask that you offer support and patience as the office is established to achieve our collective goal of racial equity. As I stated earlier, I have a lived experience for the urgency of these matters, so please understand that ODEI is working on multiple fronts to address the open letters.

I look forward to meeting all of you at the beginning of the academic year and I invite you to visit ODEI share your thoughts on this important work.

Respectfully yours,

Dr. Cheryl L. Johnson
Executive Director, ODEI