President Devorah Lieberman announced Monday that Beatriz Gonzalez was named chief diversity officer and vice provost.
The new appointment combines Gonzalez’s previously held positions of associate provost of student affairs and interim chief diversity and inclusivity officer.
The position puts Gonzalez at the helm of the Office of Diversity, which is set to expand to include an advisory board, administrative assistant and four faculty fellows – each representing one of the colleges.
Gonzalez will oversee the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, the Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, the Wilson Library, the La Verne Experience, Academic Support Services and Student Affairs.
“I am confident in Dr. Gonzalez’s ability to help the University continue to live its mission by making great strides regarding diversity and inclusivity,” Lieberman said in an email statement.
“Her appointment to Chief Diversity Officer and Vice Provost will significantly help the University retain students, faculty, and staff, as well as develop an intentional focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Many of Gonzalez’s colleagues were optimistic because of her experience as interim CDIO, which better equips Gonzalez to tackle issues on-campus.
“She does have a lot of know-how and skill and competency around working with these issues, and the reality is she’s been on the front lines already,” said Daniel Loera, director of multicultural services.
Gonzalez has already made progress on addressing a number of student requests for multicultural retreats, the implementation of an Arts Council to address a lack of culturally poignant artwork and a plan to move the Office of Multicultural Affairs to a bigger space where a multicultural center environment can be established until an actual building is completed that will house all of the culturally specific offices.
“There’s a lot of playing out and evolving that’s happening, but I think one of the things for Beatriz is she sort of knows already in real clear terms some of those things that need to be taking place campus-wide,” Loera said.
Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Lawrence Potter shared some of those campus-wide concerns, both in the short and long term. Cultural competency training for faculty and staff topped Potter’s list of immediate concerns.
“I think it’s an immediate need because students have been very vocal with respect to people being insensitive to their cultures and their identities,” Potter said.
Gonzalez said training was not where she would like it to be and that she would like to have different tracks for training faculty members with varying degrees of experience with the practice of diversity.
“I think that Dr. Gonzalez will be a fantastic champion, but I also think that, the most important thing, is that she’ll be able to meet people where they are and help them along the way,” Potter said.
Des Delgadillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.