Center for Multicultural Excellence Newsletter
Promoting Excellence Through Diversity & Postive Intergroup Relations
Fall Quarter 2006
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The Center for Multicultural Excellence is proud of the work accomplished over the past three years, the growth and the tremendous support and partnerships that have developed across the campus. We are excited to announce CME is changing and growing. We hope that you will find this quarterly newsletter informative and valuable as we all work to ensure DU remains a prestegious private institution that is inclusive and welcoming to all!

A Growing CME!
New Director, new staff, same powerful programming

Last November, Associate Provost for Multicultural Excellence handed over the reins of the Center for Multicultural Excellence to Johanna Leyba. Promoting Johanna from Associate Director to Director, Dr. Treviño turned his attention to larger University initiatives. Under the direction of the new Director, Johanna, The Center for Multicultural Excellence has plans for strengthening of current established programs and exploring new partnerships with departments across campus for new programs. For the 2006-2007 Academic year, one of the most dramatic changes has been will be the addition of a new GLBTIA Program Coordinator, Sara Nickels, and a new Administrative Assistant, Denise Pappas-Lucero. In September, CME also welcomed two Graduate Assistants including Theresa Garaza as the new American Indian Services Coordinator and Erin Dutton, the new Graduate Student Services Coordintor, both students in the Graduate School of Social Work. Working closely with undergraduate students, April Guy and Bushra Arayn, are providing support to all undergraduate students. Providing CME with additional support on the numerous new programs, are 8 undergraduate student assitants including Keenan Vaden, Vanessa Valdez, Jessica Rodriguez, Jazmin Muro, Andy Nguyen, Armando Martinez, Leo Begay and Nora Sainz. For more information on what's going on at CME, please visit our website!

Note from the Director: Johanna Leyba

The 2006-07 academic year promises to be an exciting time for the Center for Multicultural Excellence as we continue to evolve into a center designed to provide services for the entire campus. As the University of Denver continues to ride a wave of support for diversity, take responsibility for creating greater inclusiveness, and generate energy and excitement related to diversity, CME will continue to provide individuals, departments, and organizations with the support to sustain this momentum. As you know, the Center for Multicultural Excellence works with faculty, staff, students, alums, and the greater Denver community to make DU an exceptional university that pursues excellence through diversity. Chancellor Coombe suggested in his inauguration speech that diversity is the edge that will make us champions. I believe that all the changes related to diversity that are taking place at the University are indicators that we are well on our way to the championship.

Welcome to new LGBTIQA Coordinator,
Sarah Nickels

In October of 2006, Ms. Sarah J. Nickels, MSW, joined the CME staff as the new Program Coordinator for LBGTIQA (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgendered, Intersex, Queer and Ally) and Social Justice Education. Ms. Sarah J. Nickels is originally from the Midwest where she completed a B.A. in Women’s Studies and French and a Master of Social Work degree at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. Sarah began her career as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Michigan, Massachusetts, and Colorado. Her involvement in the anti-violence field led her to deepen her understanding of and passion for social justice education and ally development. Since moving to Denver in 2003, Sarah has been an educator, consultant, facilitator, program coordinator, and direct service provider focusing on support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer/questioning (LGBTIQ) communities and anti-racism/white privilege awareness education and training. Most recently, she worked with the OASOS Program of Boulder County Public Health where she provided advocacy and support services for LGBTIQ youth in Boulder County. In her new position, Sarah has two main focus areas: 1) increasing programming for and services to DU’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning and allied (LGBTIQA) communities; and, 2) to develop, facilitate, and support social justice education programming across campus. Consistent with CME’s philosophy, her overall goals are to promote ally development, relationship-building, and positive institutional change to support DU’s LGBTIQA communities and overall multicultural diversity at DU. Some of the activities and initiatives that she will develop in order to achieve these goals are: • Facilitating a campus-wide forum to discuss the queering of DU; • Re-invigorating a training and mentoring program to develop a network of visible and active LGBTIQ allies; • Coordinating a peer education/speaker’s bureau of students to educate each other about the impact of oppression and skills for ally-building; • Supporting continued collaborations and relationship building between diverse student groups; • Facilitating the Queer and Ally Commission; and, • Providing general support for efforts which focus on improving campus climate for diversity. We invite you to contact her if you would like to discuss or be involved in social justice education and/or LGBTIQA issues at DU. She looks forward to working with all of you as we pursue “excellence through diversity”. E-mail: Phone: (303) 871-4614

Welcome to new CME Administrative Assistant, Denise Pappas-Lucero

If you haven’t stopped by the CME office this year, you should! The office is looking beautiful, organized, and peacefully Zen. With the addition of new staff, our challenge this fall was creating more office space out of an already cramped Center. Much to our joy, we were joined by Mrs. Denise Pappas-Lucero in September as the new CME Administrative Assistant. With the addition of Denise, the sense of order we had been desperately seeking has found us! Denise was raised on a sugar cane plantation located on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu around a Filipino community built on strong traditions, customs, values, and beliefs. She received her B.A. in Speech Communications from Metropolitan State College of Denver in 1995, and has volunteered on several local low-budget full length feature films, Denver theaters, and in the Educational Collections Department at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Denise has an interest in health issues and is considering obtaining a master’s degree in Global Studies with an emphasis in Global Health Affairs

Diversity and Unity Leadership Retreat
By Mia Schutte

The Diversity and Unity (DU) Leadership Retreat is an initiative designed to train and educated DU students about issues of diversity, leadership, power, privilege, becoming an ally, oppression, identity, and other diversity-related concepts. Once again, the retreat was a huge success with 75 students attending, up from 55 students the previous year and 21 staff members serving as facilitators. In addition, two faculty members, Annemarie Vaccaro and Frederique Chevillot, joined as the first ever faculty to participate in the annual retreat. Their involvement and contributions were so integral to the program that we are planning to make the inclusion of faculty and the rich resource that they represent a tradition. Given the growing number of participants attending the retreat, we incorporated small group discussions facilitated by both faculty and staff to enhance both the application of theory into practice and community-building efforts. Another new development is manifest in the retreat’s new name which now incorporates themes of leadership into the curriculum designed to reconceptualize our notions of leadership as a multidimensional concept that embraces social justice and multiculturalism. Notions of privilege, social identity, power and group dynamics were explored through interactive, challenging activities throughout the weekend. As always, one of the major highlights was the Culture Night, which was hosted by student leaders who tackled issues of group membership, pride, and group stereotypes using humor, creativity and above all, self expression. Overall, the weekend was a great way to kick-off the academic year!

Who is “ELI”?; A new name on campus!

This past August, CME, along with Academic Advising, Admissions, Financial Aid and many other DU departments, hosted the first annual Excelling Leaders Institute. The program, the brain child of Multicultural Academic Advisor, Melissa Martinez and CME Director, Johanna Leyba, was designed to invite a hand selected group of incoming students of color to spend one week on the DU campus prior to beginning classes in the Fall with the objective of: 1) receiving training in areas many incoming students need to know including how to talk to professors, live in the residence halls, choose courses, and manage time; 2) connecting with resources including individuals and departments on campus that can assist students with a variety of concerns; 3) buidling a tight knit group of incoming students to serve as a source of support and resources for each other; and 4) identifying their leadership skills to prepare them to serve as mentors and resources to other incoming new DU students. The program was a tremendous success. The Excelling Leaders Institute participants (now known as ELIs) included 17 new students from local Colorado highschools. The group spent the week of August 7-11 living in Nelson Hall and attended a multitude of workshops focusing on their own identity, living on campus and how to navigate the sometimes overwhelming new DU system. ELIs hit the ground running and are proving to be a vital resource for themselves and other incoming students on campus! For more information, contact Johanna Leyba at or by calling 303-871-7661 or Melissa Martinez at

Opportunities and Scholarships

CME recognizes the high cost of financing an education at a great institution like DU can become difficult and we know how time consuming it can be to research scholarships, complete them and eventually receive the funds. To help those who struggle each year to find the additional funding to pay your tuition, room and board, we began providing support in the area of researching scholarship information for students. If you think you may be looking for scholarships in the future for your education, don’t wait! Stop by and talk with Denise Pappas-Lucero in the office or email Andy Nguyen,, or Armando Martinez, Our team of three will work with you to research available scholarship that relate to you areas of interest, field of study, ethnic heritage and more.


Partners in Scholarship (PinS) makes quarterly grants to fund undergraduate research and creative projects. PinS provides a great opportunity to enhance your academic experience by partnering with a faculty member on a collaborative project. Visit the PinS website at for more information, the application and quarterly deadlines.

Multicultural Advising in the Center for Academic and Career Development:

Multicultural Advising is available in the Center for Academic and Career Development, which is located in the Driscoll Student Center South, Suite 30. These advisers assist multicultural students with getting involved in diversity programming, connecting students to major advisers, and identifying other campus resources for students of color. The multicultural advisers are Melissa Martinez, Coordinator for Multicultural Students ( and Niki Latino, Coordinator for Faculty Relations and Multicultural Initiatives ( Students who wish to make an appointment should stop by The Center or call 303-871-2455 and the Front Desk Staff will schedule an appointment for Melissa or Niki.

Upcoming Events

  • Chocolate Break, Thursday Nov. 16th 9-4 at CME. Stop by CME and enter to win a free IPOD!
  • Transgender Day Rememberance Vigil, November 16th
  • Voices of Discovery dialogues, beginning in January
  • Save the Date: Friday May 4, 2006: the 5th Annual Diversity Summit
If you would like your events listed on our quarterly newsletter, contact Denise at denise.pappas-

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Center for Multicultural Excellence University of Denver
University of Denver

Phone: 303-871-2942
Fax: 303-871-7700
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