President's Corner

A message from President Denise Trauth regarding the elevation of the Chief Diversity Officer position to Students, Faculty, and Staff in TXST Connections

December 6, 2019

Over the past year, Texas State University has made great strides to improve our capacity to support diversity and build inclusion throughout our community. The role of the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) at Texas State is key to ensure we reach the university’s strategic goals around diversity and inclusion, and to support the needs of our students, faculty, and staff. To make sure the university’s work around diversity and inclusion is center to everything we do at Texas State, I am adding the position of CDO to the President’s Cabinet, effective January 6, 2020. As a member of the President’s Cabinet, the CDO will have an even greater platform to provide leadership, expertise, and vision for diversity and inclusion at Texas State.

On December 1, 2019, Dr. Stella Silva became Interim CDO/Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, and as our CDO will be a member of my President’s Cabinet beginning on January 6, 2020. Dr. Silva’s leadership as Associate CDO within the Office of Equity and Inclusion over the last 11 months has been instrumental in taking the university’s diversity and inclusion initiatives to new levels. Most recently, the office has implemented the Capacity Building Action Plan for inclusion, implemented the Bias Response Protocol, launched a new Diversity and Inclusion website, led the Council of Inclusive Excellence to update the 2017-2023 Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, and kicked-off the new Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program to offer faculty and staff the opportunity to enhance competencies that will support a more inclusive environment at Texas State.

Dr. Silva has served Texas State for 22 years, first as Assistant Director and then as the Associate Director in the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion before joining the Office of Equity and Inclusion in January 2019. To learn more about Dr. Silva and the university’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, read “Questions & Answers with Dr. Stella Silva” in the Community Conversations section of this issue of TXST Connections.

As I announced a few weeks ago, to meet the needs of our growing and evolving university, we are expanding the duties of the Chief Diversity Officer/Director of Equity and Inclusion across two positions by creating the new position of Assistant Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion/Title IX Coordinator. This will significantly increase our capacity to support diversity and inclusion in our community. As of December 1, 2019, Ms. Kendra Wesson is serving as Interim Assistant Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion and Interim Title IX Coordinator as we work to permanently fill the position.

Our diversity is a source of pride and strength for Texas State, significantly enhancing our learning environment and student experience. Although we have made marked progress, I recognize there is more to be done to create the truly inclusive community our university wants and deserves, and am committed to continue this work. Elevating the CDO to membership on my Cabinet is one more important step to achieving inclusive excellence for our institution, students, faculty, and staff.