Wanda James, the first Black female member of the CU Board of Regents in 44 years, is looking to create a more inclusive future for the CU system during her term.
James was recently elected to the Board of Regents to represent the first congressional district. She wants to challenge the CU system to go into more communities of color and other minority communities and increase their awareness of the financial pathways CU students can take.
“I hope that 6 years from now…we can look back and say that more students of color have graduated from all of our great campuses [and] that more faculty of color are teaching at our great universities,” James said.
Part of her plan also involves getting more minority leadership into the CU system.
“People feel comfortable working with and hiring people that look and sound and feel like them … I believe with me on the Board of Regents, I am just giving credence and opening doors to communities of color, women and veterans to be able to have the opportunities that they may not have even heard about because they were not at the table as they were being discussed,” she said.
According to James, one way that CU is increasing outreach is by promoting notable pop culture figures. For instance, CU is bringing in pro football coach Deion Sanders to coach the CU Buffs, a move meant to encourage interest from the public.
“If folks are paying attention to the football team — that’s great,” James said. “Now, let’s get them talking about all of the [other] wonderful things that we do at CU.”
James also thinks that recognizing the diversity within the achievements of CU system graduates is important.
“Harvard may have more presidents and more CEOs and more fortune 100 companies. That’s all typical stuff. But CU grads, we find ourselves in some of the most interesting places in the world, doing some of the most phenomenal things that are just different, and it’s important to talk about that,” she said.
Students can learn more about James and the other members of the Board of Regents by visiting their website.
Photo from rmpbs.org.