DEI director of education and outreach speaks on new DEI educational programs 

UCCS’ Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) announced two new educational programs on Aug. 24 that are geared toward staff and student development. 

These program series are designed to create a deeper sense of belonging campus wide by teaching the UCCS community more about inclusivity, heritages and different identities.  

The Inclusive Belonging Spotlight Series 

Director of DEI education and outreach Sloan Gonzalez said that while students are welcome to attend these sessions, the Inclusive Belonging Spotlight Series was made to educate faculty on how they can better support various groups on campus. 

“The audience for this is really for faculty and staff, but the goal is still student focused …  we need to know how to better show up for our students and what they need,” Gonzalez said. 

The series also highlights the work of staff members and organizations who go above and beyond to serve the DEI’s mission of fostering a culture of inclusive belonging. 

Gonzalez wants to go beyond the concept of inclusivity and show faculty and staff how to implement it practically through this spotlight series.  

“What I realized coming into my role about 10 months ago was that we’re telling our faculty and staff to create this campus of inclusive belonging, and we’re using this word, but we aren’t actually giving them any sort of development on how to do that,” Gonzalez said. 

Besides staff development, the series aims to give attendees resources on how they can get involved. Gonzalez described the programs as a “call to action” that helps people learn while also finding ways to connect with others.  

The first session featured MOSAIC coordinator Alé Ruiz, who highlighted the need to offer more campus resources for undocumented students.  

There will be eight other sessions throughout the academic year that are scheduled for Fridays at 8:30 a.m., each with the option for students to join virtually. The next session will feature Provost Nancy Marchand-Martella, who will discuss her experience as a first-generation college student on Sept. 15. 

Munch and Learn series 

The Munch and Learn series highlights heritage and identity centric months that are celebrated on campus. Every event will have a speaker and a discussion about why it is important to recognize different heritages and identities.  

Each of these events will have themed food that corresponds with the month being celebrated because Gonzalez prioritizes having food at every event she organizes. “I just think there’s something about when we eat together, it breaks down the barrier a little bit,” she said. 

The first Munch and Learn will focus on Latinx Heritage Month and takes place on Sept. 22 at 11 am. Food will be provided from Zapata Mexican Taco Shop, a locally owned Mexican restaurant.  

The three other Munch and Learns taking place this semester will focus on LGBTQ+ History Month, Disability Awareness Month and Native American/Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month. 

More information on these series can be found on Mountain Lion Connect.  

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