September 26, 2017
UCCS is seeking to fill the associate vice chancellor for Inclusion and Academic Affairs.
Three candidates held open sessions for students and met with six on-campus groups, including a search committee for the position, to discuss their goals as the potential new associate vice chancellor during the first two weeks of September.
Candidates for the position include Jeffrey Montez de Oca, associate professor of Sociology, Alex Ilyasova, associate dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and Andrea Herrera, professor of Women’s and Ethnic Studies.
Kee Warner, professor of Sociology and Public Administration, has vacated the position. Warner served as the associate vice chancellor for Inclusion and Academic Affairs for the last 10 years.
The associate vice chancellor will report to the provost and serve as the chief diversity officer for UCCS.
For this reason, Jesse Perez, assistant director for M.O.S.A.I.C. and program director for the LGBT+ Resource Center, believes it was important for each candidate to meet with students.
“Part of the role is to support students on various issues regarding diversity and inclusion. We wanted to make sure that students had a voice in that,” said Perez.
Ilyasova conducted her session Sept. 6, Montez conducted his session on Sept. 11 and Herrera conducted her session on Sept. 19, respectively.
Ilyasova said that she believes it is extremely important to have a diverse faculty and student body.
“It is one of the best ways to keep our community healthy and strong. Diversity is part of the world we live in, and we need to represent that,” she said. “It also helps us innovate better when we have diversity at all levels.”
Montez de Oca believes that whoever is chosen for the position needs to encourage a productive dialogue for students to feel comfortable to speak honestly.
“We need to work on civility or respectful dialogue when engaging in political discussions,” he said.
“I would love to work with students organizing events specifically focused on political speech on campus so that we can collectively work through some of these issues.”
The third candidate, Herrera, told students that the subject matter she teaches is an extremely relevant background for this position.
Freshman biomedical science and history major Madison Harris was one of the students invited to attend the sessions. She estimated there were about 20 students at Herrera’s session.
“She had really strong stances on DACA, how to better include minorities, veterans, graduate students and people who have disabilities,” said Harris.
“I have a little brother with a disability, so that took to my heart how she [Herrera] really implemented more inclusion on campus.”
Students received an evaluation form at the end of each session to give their initial impressions of the candidate, as well as their perceived strengths and weaknesses and their overall recommendation of which candidate should be hired.
After the search committee receives evaluations from the groups who attended sessions, they look for common themes among thoughts and opinions the groups had on each candidate.
The committee will give this information Tom Christensen, provost and executive vice chancellor for Academic Affiars, who is the hiring authority for this position.
Although Christensen will make the final selection for the position, Perez said the opinions of students will be taken into account.
“We set up a lot of these groups very strategically,” said Perez.
“The administration takes the campus voice very seriously so it’s going to be something that is considered, and I think it holds a lot of weight.”