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Joining EDI

Two university departments now fall under Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Two University of Utah departments are transitioning to become solely part of the division for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)—the Office for Inclusive Excellence and the Dream Center.

The mission of the division for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) at the University of Utah is to serve as a catalyst for transformation towards diversity, equity and inclusion as an embodiment of the university’s core values with the ultimate vision of establishing a campus culture of belonging and becoming a model for equity, diversity and inclusive excellence. With that in mind, university leaders believe it will be most effective for these two entities to be embedded within EDI.

“The missions of both the Dream Center and the Office for Inclusive Excellence (OIE) are grounded in equity principles, offering services that ensure we grow our everyday practices of inclusivity, while also disrupting the idea that one size fits all,” said Mary Ann Villarreal, vice president for EDI. “Both are doing important work and together, we will advance EDI’s mission to help build a more equitable campus.”

OIE provides professional and organizational development for staff and faculty which builds competencies to achieve diversity and inclusion goals and outcomes that reinforce the university’s strategic plan. OIE previously reported to both the Division of Undergraduate Studies (UGS) and Student Affairs until 2020, when they became a dual report to UGS and EDI.

“OIE’s transition to being the educational arm of EDI supports OIE’s growth and having the capacity to provide the campus community with EDI development resources like workshops, policy and curriculum review and creating EDI plans,” said Jude McNeil, director of the OIE.

The Dream Center works holistically with undocumented students and mixed-status families from college access to graduation. The center previously reported to UGS since its inception in 2017 and unofficially had a dotted line to EDI simultaneously in the summer of 2020.

“This move into EDI will allow the Dream Center to further align with the overall university mission in serving a more diverse population. We hope this change will bring more attention to the needs of undocumented students, and create broader institutional support,” said Xris Macias, director of the Dream Center.

OIE and the Dream Center join other centers in EDI: the American Indian Resource Center, the Black Cultural Center, the Center for Equity and Student Belonging (CESB), the LGBT Resource Center, the Office for Health EDI (OHEDI) and the School of Medicine’s Office of Health EDI.

“The new organizational home for the Dream Center and OIE will expand opportunities for campus innovations—work that will advance the One U commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion across the institution,” stated Dr. T. Chase Hagood, Senior Associate VP for Academic Affairs & Dean of Undergraduate Studies. “On behalf of UGS,” Hagood added, “we look forward to continuing collaborations and seeing these units’ next chapter unfold.”