The Newsletter of the Center for Multicultural Excellence: Fall 2007
Editor Denise A. Pappas-Lucero
Message from the Director. . .   
    The 2007-2008 school year has taken off like a rocket in terms of Inclusive Excellence and diversity.  Now entering my fourth year as a DU employee, I am positively overwhelmed with the student, staff, faculty, and alumni energy, commitment and activity dedicated to improving the campus climate for diversity.  From discussions with faculty and staff whose tenure is well beyond my years, we are witnessing an unprecedented movement from nearly every corner of the campus that signifies the beginning of a new era.  This movement, in my mind, signals an overall cultural shift in which diversity will no longer be the work of a few, or the concern of one department, but everyone's responsibility.
     I am encouraged by the work of individuals like Tony Daniels, Associate Director of Diversity and Community Relations, Dr. B. Afeni Cobham, Assistant Provost for Campus Life, Lynn Gangone, Dean of the Women's College, and Teresa Kostenbauer, Director of Corporate Relations, DCB. These are just a few of the DU campus champions for diversity who represent departments, divisions and organizations who will help lead this campus to become the great University we know it can be.  I want to personally thank everyone on campus who has served as an ally, advocate and champion in their own way to help DU on its journey to serve as a model for inclusiveness in higher education.  We know we have more work to do to become truly great, and I challenge every member of the DU community to continue to take risks, be innovative and challenge the status quo that would leave any member of our community behind. 
                                                                                            Johanna M. Leyba
Update from the Associate Provost . . .

     With the participation and assistance of a multiplicity of individuals and units at DU, the important work of promoting and unfolding the concept of inclusive excellence throughout the University of Denver continues.  Inclusive Excellence (I.E.) as a concept was developed by the Association of American Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C.   I.E. reconceptualizes the definition of diversity from representation (demographics only) to the transformation of a college or university embedding diversity into all aspects of the institution.  The goal of inclusive excellence is a campus that embeds diversity into its hiring practices, curriculum, budget, policies, student learning, mission, values, goals, institutional decision-making, athletics, community service, management, student development, staff support, communications, institutional advancement, assessment, tenure, student services, and many other components of a university.  Moreover, the concept shifts responsibility for diversity from one department on campus to every member of an institution.  And finally, Inclusive Excellence also approaches diversity from a broad and inclusive perspective and includes race/ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, age, religion and other important social dimensions.


     Here are some updates.  University College's Diversity Committee not only developed a diversity statement reflecting its commitment to inclusive excellence, but is also preparing to start a Diversity Story Circle program for faculty and staff.  The Division of Student Life's Diversity Action Team is sponsoring a multiple identities training workshop for the entire division to create awareness of the rich diversity that students and staff bring to the work of student development.  Dr. Lynn Gangone, Dean of the Women's College continues to make changes designed to embed inclusive excellence throughout the College. One of those important changes involves modifying job descriptions for positions at the Women's College to include inclusive excellence as a measurable performance objective.  The Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, under the Leadership of Tom Willoughby, Vice-Chancellor for Enrollment, had all staff members undergo diversity training.  The Division of Athletics and Recreation, Penrose Library, University College, and the Center for Civic Engagement and Service Learning have all developed inclusive excellence mission statements.  The Office of Human Resources has embedded job competencies related to diversity in the new employee evaluation system.  Joey Ham, President of AUSA, speaking at the Lamont Sellers Diversity and Unity Leadership Retreat made a commitment to working on inclusive excellence with students.


     In the upcoming weeks and months, we will be looking for other indicators of individuals, groups, or departments implementing inclusive excellence. Please let me know about your successes so that I can report those to the DU community, the Provost, and our Chancellor.  I am available to consult with you, your office, unit, or college on how to implement inclusive excellence in your area.  I can be reached at 303-871-2591 or 


                                                      Dr. Jesús Treviño


                           CME Welcomes  

        Tracey Peters!    



     On July 2, CME was excited to welcome, new Assistant Director and Coordinator for African American Services, Tracey Peters. Tracey Peters is a native of Denver and her ties to the community are as rich as her own personal history. She is a proud graduate of Denver South High School and graduated from Metropolitan State College of Denver in 2001 with a B. A. in African American Studies. She is currently in pursuit of her Masters degree in Higher Education at the University of Denver. She has a long list of personal and professional accomplishments and endeavors to continue her family's rich tapestry of personal excellence in the field of education.  Tracey is entering her third year as a DU employee, coming to CME from Campus Life.

     It can be said that her dedication to the pursuit of equal education for all is a driving force in her life and pales only in comparison to her love for helping others in need. She is a consummate administrator and takes pride in all duties that she has been assigned.  Tracey has worked with several community organizations including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Black Education Advisory Council, and Denver Public Schools Parent Leadership Council.   


     As the CME Assistant Director and African American Services Coordinator, Tracey will provide oversight of all programs designed to support undergraduate students and will work closely with African American students, staff, faculty and alumni to ensure the University provides high quality and valuable services. She will also work closely with the Director in the overall management of the Center. 


CME Going Green!


In the next several weeks, CME will be exploring ways to go "Green."  Denise Pappas-Lucero, Administrative Assistant, will spearhead a small committee to make recommendations to the staff about strategies to recycle, save electricity, and educate the staff about caring for DU and the environment.  We hope to share those strategies with the rest of the campus in an upcoming issue of the CME newsletter.

By:  Dr. Fernando Guzman
Welcome New Faculty
Dr. Elizabeth Escobedo is a newly hired Assistant Professor of Latina/o history, with a specialization in 20th century Mexican American history in the Department of History.  She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2004 and enjoys teaching a wide-range of topics in U.S. history, including modern America, the Latina/o and Chicana/o experience, women and gender, and the history of race and ethnicity in America.  Awarded a 2007-2008 Ford Postdoctoral Fellowship, she is currently completing a book on the history of Mexican American women on the World War II home front in Los Angeles.

Dr. Vaneesha Boney is a newly hired Assistant Professor in the Reiman School of Finance in the Daniels College of Business. She earned her Ph.D. from Florida State University in Finance.  She also has an M.B.A. in Finance from Loyola College and a B.S. in Finance from the University of Maryland at College Park.  Her research interest includes market conditions and their influence on investor trading; stock market returns; and real estate investment trusts.

Special Recognition
Paula R. Rhodes, Associate Professor, College of Law and Val Gonzalez, EEO and ADA Specialist, Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity for being selected as the 2007-2008 Co-chairs of the DU Faculty of Color Association (FOCA).  The purpose of the Association is to foster a network of Faculty and Staff of Color at DU and to address issues affecting the communities of color at the University. FOCA meets once a month.  For additional information, please contact Dr. Fernando Guzman, Assistant Provost for Multicultural Faculty Recruitment and Retention at

Dr. Denise Pearson, Assistant Dean of Academics with the University College.  She is the recipient of  the "The Hero of the Year Award" which is presented every year to an individual for extraordinary service in support of the mission of the Spirituals Project.  The mission of the project is to preserve and revitalize the music and teachings of the sacred songs called "spirituals," created and first sung by enslaved Africans in America in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Dr. Pearson received the award during the annual Spiritual Project Gala on Saturday, November 3, 2007 at the Newman Center.


Latino Heritage Month!

By: Ana León
The DU Latino Center (DULCCES), DU Latino Alumni Association (DULAA), Latino Student Alliance (LSA), Pi Lambda Chi, and Sigma lambda Beta were proud sponsors of several events to celebrate Latino Heritage Month from September 28th - October 31st.  Students, staff faculty, and community members joined in a number of cultural events honoring and showcasing Latino culture in the U.S.  Some of the events that took place were a luncheon to honor Latino student athletes, screening of the movie "Walk Out", and a closing ceremony honoring El Dia de los Muertos.  The DU Latino Center will continue hosting cultural and scholarly events throughout the academic year.  For more information, please contact Ana León at
or at (303) 871-7650.


By: Sarah Nickels
On September 27th, CME hosted a Bar-B-"Q" for DU's LGBTIQ communities and Allies in partnership with numerous campus groups and departments.  The Bar-B-"Q" was planned by members of Queer University Employees (QUE), CME, and the Queer Straight Alliance (QSA) in an effort to welcome incoming students and to encourage community-building between LGBTIQA students, faculty, and staff.
The Bar-B'"Q" was a great success, attracting almost 70 participants throughout the evening.  The event featured leaders of several of the LGBTIQA organizations on campus, who gave brief presentations about their groups and how to get involved.  Also, a lucky DU faculty member won the big raffle prize: 2 free tickets to the upcoming DU Women's Basketball Game against Duke!  Go Pioneers!
CME would like to extend our deepest appreciation to the following Bar'B-"Q" co-sponsors:
  • Health and Counseling Center
  • Queer Straight Alliance
  • Social Justice Living and Learning Community 
  • Partners in Learning
  • Queer University Employees
  • Queer Faculty
  • Student Life Division
  • Division of Athletics and Recreation 

Salsa, Soul, and Spirit

Featured Writer: Patricia Harris

     Multicultural is a compound word that takes on different meanings for different people. None right, none wrong. But add a heap of salsa, a dash of soul,and a whole bunch of spirit to the word and what do you get? A foolproof recipe that yields eight principles for leadership in today's world.  Juana Bordas. 2007. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. 226.pp


     In her book, Salsa, Soul, and Spirit, (Berrett-Koehler, 2007) Juana Bordas creates those principles-Sankofa, I to We, Mi Casa Es Su Casa, A Leader Among Equals, Leaders as Guardians of Public Values, Leaders as Community Stewards, All My Relatives, and Gracias-around the notions of learning from the past; moving goal posts from individualism to collectivism; and being socially responsible. While none of these principles are necessarily new, the freshness of the book is that it identifies the trap some leaders fall into when they ignore the past and fail to see that the world has changed.


     For newcomers to the notion of multiculturalism, Salsa, Soul, and Spirit is a good introduction to Latino, African-American, and American Indian cultures. For veterans, the book is a review of worldviews, examples of case studies, sketches of distinguished leaders, and a peek at the author's life. For skeptics, the book is a sign that being fearful of cultural differences is pointless in today's world.    


About the Author

     Juana Bordas has a long list of achievements. In part, she is one of 100 influential people in Colorado; she has an MSW from the University of Wisconsin; and she is the Founding President and CEO of the National Hispana Leadership Institute-the only program in the U.S. that prepares Latinas for national leadership. Her other publications include: the essay "Passion and Power: Finding Personal Purpose" in Reflections on Leadership (John Wiley & Sons); "Latino Leadership: Building a Diverse and Humane Society" in the Journal for Leadership Studies; and "African American Leaders: Guardians of Public Values" in the International Journal on Servant Leadership. To learn more about Bordas go to  

The Lamont A. Seller's
Diversity & Unity Retreat
By: M. Mia Elizardi
Once again, CME hosted our annual retreat the first weekend in October, which was a huge success hosting 95 students (up from 75 students the previous year). In addition, 18 staff members from across campus departments served as presenters and facilitators. Joining the staff community were two faculty members, Annemarie Vaccaro and Frederique Chevillot, who returned to the retreat this year. Dr. Vaccaro and Dr. Chevillot joined the retreat last year as the first faculty to ever participate in the annual retreat.  Given the growing number of DU students electing to participate in the retreat, we incorporated small group discussions facilitated by both faculty and staff to enhance the practical application and community building objectives of the program.
Another new development is a change in the retreat's name which now bears the name of the co-founder, Lamont A. Sellers, who has since left DU and the Center for Multicultural Excellence.  The name change honors the history of the annual retreat. This year, students explored notions of privilege, becoming an ally, personal and social identity development, power and group dynamics through interactive, challenging exercises.  All who attended shared in a unique opportunity to meet students from diverse backgrounds, build alliances and begin developing a strategy for creating an inclusive climate at DU.
As always, one of the major highlights was the Culture Night, which was hosted by student leaders, and celebrated group membership, pride, and history through creativity and, above all, self expression.  Participants left committed to acting as DU allies - individuals who agree to actively work against oppression directed at members of the DU community. Overall, the weekend was a great way to kick-off the academic year! The retreat is open to all students and held every Fall Quarter.
For more information, contact CME Program Coordinator for Intergroup Relations, Mia Elizaardi at or at (303) 871-2270.

DU Summer College Workshop

What a difference a weekend makes . . .


Featured Writer:  Patricia Harris


     "I can't thank DU enough for the difference the weekend at DU made for our son."So begins a letter to Chancellor Robert Coombe about the DU Summer College Workshop.


     The writer then continues to tell Coombe about social challenges that her son faces as "the only Black student in his high school." Yet she's quick to say he conquers those challenges with triumphs not linked to skin color. After a few more specifics, she concludes: "We don't know if it will be possible to attend DU, but your University has made a significant difference in our son's life."

     Who knows what the writer means by that. But Veronica O. White, Project Coordinator, DU Center for African-American Policy, says: "Participating in the workshop does not mean students have to apply only to DU." The goal of the workshop, White suggests, is to give them a taste for college life. 


     To prove her point, White refers to the workshop's agenda and its theme, "Going the Distance . . . Navigating the Road to College." As for the topics presented at the workshop, they are examples of roadblocks that black high school students most fear: "How to Get Ready for College," "Essay Writing," "Successfully Interviewing for College Admission," and "Financial Aid."


     Students also got tips for personal health care, public speaking, and image-building. As a bonus, they also enjoyed a historic reenactment of Clara Brown ("Aunt Clara Brown") by Wallace Yvonne Tollette of Western Images Publications. Brown, as the story goes, was the first black woman to come to Colorado during the gold rush, and to face down racism and prejudice.


     The workshop ended with pomp and circumstance when students received Certificates of Completion. Yet it is this stanza from an original poem inspired by the workshop, which explains what a difference a weekend can make in the lives of high school students who believe a college education is an elusive dream.

When special people touch our lives,

then suddenly we see.

How wonderful and beautiful,

our world can really be.

They show us how our hopes and dreams,

can take us very far.

By helping us to look inside,

and believe in who we are.


For more details about the DU Summer College Workshop and the DU Center for African-American Policy, contact Veronica O. White at 303.871.4195, email
    Excelling Leaders
       By:  Tracey Peters

     The second year of the new Excelling Leaders Institute (ELI) took place on the DU campus, August 28th-31st.  This year's class included 30 incoming student leaders from local, regional and national high schools.  Participants, affectionately referred to as ELIs  are incoming first year students of color who were identified by the Office of Admission as individuals with strong leadership potential.  Student participants were welcomed to campus one week prior to Discoveries and attended workshops to prepare them for the transition into college, help them identify their own national leadership strengths, and train them to serve as ambassadors and supporters to other members of their class.  


     This year, many of the students were able to move into Centennial Halls as their permanent residence for the year, a new component of the program. Students were given an opportunity to test the benefits of living in close proximity to each other and to solidify a community of leaders who support each other.  ELI student Stephanie Reyes states that "It was important to me as a commuter student to connect with other students, it was kind of intimidating coming into DU and being afraid of not really connecting to the community.  We were able to get to know each other and relate to each other.  It is nice to know that we all have the same goal"


     This new group of ELIs joins 17 from last year's class. We are excited to watch the community of ELIs grow and of course, prosper and make positive contributions to the DU campus.  To learn more about the program, contact Assistant Director, Tracey Peters at or by calling 306-871-7659.

Upcoming Events
  • Chocolate Break, Nov. 8th, 2007 at 9-3 pm, CME
  • Native American Fashion Show, Nov. 11th, 3pm, Driscoll Ballroom.  Contact Leo Begay at .
  • Diversity & Unity Retreat Reunion, Nov. 13th, 200t at  3-5 pm, Dave & Busters.  Contact Mia Elizardi at or at (303) 871-2270
  • Queer Ally Training offered by Human Resources and CME, Dec. 13th, 2007 at 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.  Contact Sarah Nickels at or at            (303) 871-4614 
  • Voices of Discovery Facilitator Training, Jan. 5th, 2008 at 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  Contact Mia Elizardi at or at (303) 871-2270
  • Gala, Feb. 21st, 2008 at 5:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m., Driscoll.  Contact Sarah Nickels at or at (303) 871-4614
For questions about this newsletter please contact Denise A. Pappas-Lucero, Editor, at (303) 871-2507 or by e-mail at  

      University of Denver