Iowa Sytate hosts open forum for vice president of diversity, inclusion candidate

Audra Kincart

People of many diverse backgrounds gathered in the South Ballroom of the Memorial Union on Friday morning to listen to the open forum for Jesús Treviño, the fourth candidate for the vice president and inclusion position.

The search committee, which was formed by President Steven Leath, has been working for a year on developing a description that explains the position and its duties.

“The goal is to execute a national search that yields the best possible candidate for Iowa State,” said Pamela Anthony, dean of students and chair of the search committee.

With approximately 40 people in attendance, including students, staff and members of the search committee, Treviño began the open forum with his past experiences in higher education.

In the last 30 years Treviño has worked with Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, UCLA, Arizona State University, the University of Denver and the University of South Dakota, serving as the senior diversity officer.

Treviño describes his leadership style as being a doer.

Treviño plans on bringing an initiative to campus to integrate diversity into being a role everyone must think about called “inclusive excellence.”

Inclusive excellence forces faculty and students to think about who’s included and who’s not included with plans. Treviño said this would be completed through extensive training and requires the support of every person on campus.

“Diversity is like being invited to a dance and actually being asked to dance,” Treviño said.

Treviño said the vice president of student affairs, the provost and the president’s office are all making great progress with diversity. Treviño’s goal is to have all 60 departments at Iowa State have inclusive excellence integrated into its programs.

“It has to come from the top,” Treviño said, meaning diversity would be one of the factors for evaluating performance. “If you want change, I’m the person for it.”

Leath appointed the search committee after feedback from the diversity audit that suggested the university provide a position for a senior diversity officer, Anthony said.

Eleven members make up the search committee, including members from the Dean of Students, University Council, the College of Engineering, athletics, Parks Library, Extension and Outreach, Student Government, Equal Opportunity, Human Resources and World Languages and Cultures/Student Disability Resources.

“As a member of the search committee, I was thrilled with all four candidates that we are bringing to campus,” said Emma Molls, search member and librarian at Parks Library. “We’ve seen on a national level, in my opinion, the need for a position like this to help with the president’s encouragement to lead the university in a direction that will make campus better.”