University of Denver

Collective Voices

Edited By Denise A. Pappas-Lucero
CME Manager & Assistant to the Associate Provost for Multicultural Excellence

Message from the

Associate Provost for Multicultural Excellence 


Dear Friends,


     Inclusive Excellence is about transforming the University of Denver into an inclusive and just institution that works to prepare the next cadre of leaders who will successfully lead in a highly diverse world and society.  There are many transformational changes taking place in the Division of Student Affairs, the University College, Athletics, Morgridge College of Education, the Women's College, All Undergraduate Student Association, the Sturm College of Law, the College of Business, Business and Financial Affairs, Penrose Library, GSSW, Human Resources, and many other segments of the University.  Many of these changes involve embedding inclusiveness into everything that we do at DU. 


     In the last year, the Staff of the Center for Multicultural Excellence has been very busy consulting with different committees and supporting various initiatives taking place throughout the University related to inclusive excellence.  Fernando Guzman and I continue to work at the larger university level.  As the Assistant Provost for Multicultural Faculty Recruitment and Retention, Fernando is working with Deans, Chairs, and Directors on diversifying their faculty and staff applicant pools.  As a result, the number of multicultural faculty and staff at DU is increasing.  In addition, to the above CME has added several new areas of responsibility and interest.  First, we are committed to following up on the recommendations from the Provost's Task Force on Internationalization which recommended that international education (study abroad and international students) efforts be merged with U.S. domestic multicultural education.  Second, we are excited to work with, support, and engage the DU women's community.  In the past,we have not been as diligent in our efforts to support women on campus and look forward to building a stronger relationship with the women's community and supporting this important constituency.  Third, the Staff of the Center will redouble its efforts at increasing the success and graduation rates of students of color and GLBTIQ students.  Finally, we continue to experience micro-aggressions and acts of insensitivity directed at many different communities, in particular the LGBTIQ, Jewish, women, disabled, and racial/ethnic communities.  We must continue to work to educate and proactively address these incidents that negatively impact our students, staff, and faculty.


     Given that the Center for Multicultural Excellence is moving into new directions, I have taken the opportunity to restructure the office to maximize the staff's ability to meet these new challenges. Thus, Johanna Leyba is the new Assistant Provost for Inclusive Excellence Initiatives.  In her new role, Johanna will work on a number of campus-wide initiatives to support different offices and departments as they embed inclusive excellence into their work.  Earlier this year, Johanna began her new role by co-chairing the Consortium for Student Success and Inclusive Excellence; serving as the co-chair of the Women's Conference, consulting with the Women's College; and developing other inclusive excellence initiatives.  In the future, look for initiatives supporting faculty in the classroom; student persistence; graduation; overall student experiences at DU; and expanded partnerships between various organizations and departments to advance inclusive excellence across campus. 


     Denise Pappas-Lucero is now CME Manager and Assistant to the Associate Provost for Multicultural Excellence.  She is responsible for all logistics related to the office in addition to supervising our college work study students, creating and editing the CME newsletter, acting as the Chair of our Profiles of Excellence Graduation and Awards Ceremony; and getting the Center involved in International and U.S. domestic educational efforts.  She also coordinates CME visitations and presentations for potential high school seniors.


     Mia Elizardi is the new Assistant Director and Coordinator for Intergroup Relations.  She will be responsible for expanding several signature programs for the Center including the Diversity Summit, the Diversity and Unity Retreat, and the Voices of Discovery Intergroup Dialogue Program.  In addition, Mia will also assume new duties in increasing our efforts to train additional multicultural allies through new programmatic efforts as well as manage the budgetary responsibilities that accompany CME's signature programs. 


     Sarah Nickels is the new Assistant Director and Coordinator for LGBTIQA and Social Justice Initiatives.  Sarah will design and administer new programs as well as support LGBTIQA individuals and groups on campus.  In addition, she facilitates the annual LGBTIQ and Allies Celebration Gala, develops connections between DU and Denver LGBTIQA communities, and works closely with campus-wide efforts to change policy and procedures that increase inclusivity.


     Tracey Peters is the new Associate Director and African American Services Coordinator. Tracey will continue in her role supporting all undergraduate student programming for CME and in particular support for African American students, faculty, staff and alumni.  In addition to personnel and budget officer responsibilities,she will work closely with me to set the vision and goals for the Center for Multicultural Excellence.


     We look forward to continuing to work with the entire campus community to make DU an institution that values and practices inclusive excellence.  At this time, I particularly want to acknowledge the contributions of all the student organizations that are part of the CME umbrella -Queer Student Alliance, Black Student Alliance, Hawaii Club, Asian Student Alliance, Vietnamese Student Association, Latino Student Alliance, Muslim Student Association, GLAMA (Graduate Leadership Association for Minorities & Allies), and the Native Student Alliance-for all the educational programming and initiatives that they have and continue to provide the DU community. 



                                                Jesús Treviño, Ph.D.

                                               Associate Provost for Multicultural Excellence
                      NSMH at DU
Featured Writer Josh Castanon, DU Student
     Hello DU!!  This is marketing-chair Josh Castanon writing on behalf of the newly-founded chapter of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH) here at the University of Denver.  We wanted to take this opportunity given to us by the CME to introduce ourselves not only as an organization that strives to increase diversity within the hospitality field, but that also helps to prepare students for what may lie ahead in the business world.  NSMH is a student run organization that focuses on creating a positive environment for students of all ethnicities through different activities ranging from social events like dinner at Rioja and group outings to networking events like the NSMH Regional and National Conferences.  NSMH is the perfect opportunity for people to network, build leadership and communication skills, spread diversity and be active on campus.  2008 continues to be a very promising year for NSMH as we will be holding an "Iron Chef" competition with students from George Washington High School, volunteering at Brent's Place and cooking food for ill children, taking a trip to Vail, and participating in numerous other social and service events.  Whether you're interested in the hospitality field, looking to spread diversity or just looking for a good group of people to hang out with, NSMH is the group for you. 
Feel free to contact NSMH at with any questions, comments or opinions or stop by the HRTM Commons at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15th for the NSMH Informational Session.  Everyone is welcome so don't hesitate to come and see what we're all about!

Leadership for the 21st Century: Multicultural Skills for a Diverse World"

By Claudia Giannetti & Denise Pappas-Lucero


     Following the recommendations of the Provost's Internationalization Task Force, the Center for Multicultural Excellence is working to bridge the gap between study abroad experiences, international student experiences, and U.S. domestic multicultural education.   More specifically, the Study Abroad Office and the Center of Multicultural Excellence are working together to develop a pilot program entitled: "Leadership for the 21st Century: Multicultural Skills for a Diverse World".  The three-hour workshop, which will take place on April 10th, 2008, at the Study Abroad Office, is designed to capitalize on students' cross-cultural journeys; elicit deeper meaning out of their experiences; allow students to make connections with U.S. domestic diversity issues; and to enhance the students overall intellectual and personal development.  


     The Staff of the program will be bringing together returning students who studied overseas (many of which are students of color) and international students, given that both possess similar cross-cultural challenges, to share and learn about their experiences.  The goals of the program are to educate and train the students to be multicultural leaders by asking them to reflect on their study abroad experiences and perceptions; examine and apply their learning, knowledge and skills to the critical understanding of diversity issues in the United States; explore how their new skills can be applied to the practice of multicultural leadership in the U.S., the world or, in the case of international students, their home country.


     For more information please contact Co-Chairs Claudia Giannetti at and/or Denise Pappas-Lucero at



By Dr. Fernando Guzman
      Bernadette Marie Calafell, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Communication Studies. Dr. Calafell is a Chicana originally from Arizona. She completed her doctoral degree from the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC-CH her coursework and dissertation focused on issues of Chicana/o identity, performance, and queerness.  Prior to earning her doctorate at UNC-CH, she finished an undergraduate and master's degree in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University. At ASU Dr. Calafell focused on rhetoric and performance studies which culminated in a Master's thesis that examined Ricky Martin's performances of racial and sexual ambiguity.


     Her current research focuses on issues of Latina/o and Chicana/o representation, performance, and identity. Overall, she is committed to finding ways to span differences across Latina/o groups and I is interested in the possibilities of affective coalitions and performances. Dr. Calafell has published articles in various journals such as Text and Performance Quarterly, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Cultural Studies: Critical Methodologies, and The Communication Review. Most recently her book Latina/o Communication Studies: Theorizing Performance was published by Peter Lang.


     She is currently the Chair of the Latina/o Communication Studies Division and is a member of the Awards Committee of the Performance Division in the National Communication Association. Additionally, Dr. Calafell is the Vice-President of the Organization for Research on Women and Communication, a Western States Communication Association affiliate. She is also on the Editorial Board of the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, NCA Non-serial Publications, Women's Studies in Communication, and the International and Intercultural Communication Annual Vol. 31.




Consortium for Student Success

and Inclusive Excellence
By Johanna M. Leyba

     Approximately a year ago, Provost Gregg Kvistad approached Kathy Grieve, Director of Special Programs and Johanna Leyba, Assistant Provost for Inclusive Excellence, to create a working group of individuals from across campus committed to working on issues of success and graduation related to DU's diverse students.  Dr. Afeni Cobham, Assistant Provost for Student Life, joined the effort in November of 2008 and after several planning meetings, the Consortium for Student Success and Inclusive Excellence was born. 


     The main goal of the group is to bring together representatives from departments across campus to share information, collaborate, and coordinate support initiatives in order to increase student success, graduation rates, and the overall satisfaction of students of color on the DU campus.  The group meets the second Friday of every month, in the Leo Block Conference room.  Currently, the Consortium has 29 members representing over 17 departments on campus.  Meetings have generated lively and productive discussions and generated ideas and solutions to systemic barriers that impede student success.


     To date, the group has received a presentation from Barbara McFall Marshall, Director of Financial Aid; reviewed current persistence data for undergraduate students of color; and discussed ways to increase our ability to support students in navigating numerous DU systems.  In the near future, the group will establish goals for increasing student persistence and graduation rates and create plans to fulfill these goals.  One group accomplishment has been to create an events calendar to help in improving the coordination of support efforts at DU.


     Currently, the consortium is working on hosting a summer symposium on student success for DU staff and faculty.  For more information, contact Johanna Leyba, Assistant Provost for Inclusive Excellence at 303-871-7661 or by email at


7th Annual Diversity Summit
May 2nd, 2008
By Mia Elizardi

Building on last year's summit, the focus and theme of the 2008 Annual Diversity Summit will once again be on "Inclusive Excellence" with the added dimensions of exploring greater expectations related to learning and preparing students for a diverse world and becoming one DU. The theme "One DU: Greater Expectations for Inclusive Excellence" is a call for faculty, staff, and students to examine how DU is doing with respect to achieving greater expectations in the curriculum, teaching, and learning as well as the larger goal of implementing inclusive excellence throughout the University community.  Moreover, the theme is aligned with the All Undergraduates Students Association's (the founders and major sponsors of the Diversity Summit) call for "One DU" and the goal of creating a new community for the 21st century. Supporting this year's theme, the Summit Workshop Committee worked diligently to invite workshops and presenters that reflect and support the theme.  We hope the keynote speaker, workshop presenters, and summit activities will challenge you to reflect on your own area of responsibility and your potential contributions toward embedding inclusive excellence throughout DU!

For more information, please contact Mia Elizardi at 303.871.2270 or


Retaining by Mentoring the Best at DU


By Dr. Fernando Guzman


It is common practice that most new tenure track faculty learn to navigate the tenure process with minimal guidance.  Yet it is not uncommon that faculty take at least two years before they begin feeling comfortable balancing teaching, community service, and scholarship.  There is no disputing the fact that all new faculty members face challenges in preparing courses, advising students, chairing student thesis, grading exams, attending faculty and committee meetings, planning research projects, identifying funding sources for research, and writing proposals for conference presentations.  While some faculty successfully learn to balance the rigors of their professional responsibilities, some faculty are not as successful and therefore do not earn tenure.


    To help facilitate the process of integrating new faculty into the academic community, Fernando Guzman, Assistant Provost for Multicultural Recruitment and Retention, has designed and implemented a new structured mentoring program that aims to decrease the learning curve for new faculty in order to retain them at DU.  In its inaugural year, nine recently hired tenure track faculty members have chosen to be part of the program.  Each faculty member was asked to select their mentor of choice from anywhere in the United States. The expectations of the faculty and mentor include developing a three to six year plan that outlines opportunities for 1) collaborating on research projects, 2) reviewing paper(s) and chapters for publication; 3) assisting and guiding through the tenure process; and 4) helping with teaching strategies.  In addition, the faculty member is strongly encouraged to invite their mentor to the University of Denver to deliver a presentation to the department and/or University.
     For more information about this program please contact Dr. Fernando Guzman at (303) 871-7660 or at

Spotlight on the DU Health and Counseling Center

By Sarah Nickels

The DU Health and Counseling Center (HCC) makes tremendous contributions to the DU community by providing services and educational programs that promote physical and mental well-being.   HCC Staff, Interns, and Graduate Student Trainees spearhead and co-sponsor numerous initiatives to respond to emerging needs of diverse communities at DU.  A sampling of these initiatives includes:

·         A new drop-in/discussion group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and questioning undergraduate students

·         Smoking cessation/prevention programs targeting at-risk communities

·         Providing QPR Suicide Prevention Education trainings across the campus

·         A new therapy group, "Queer Men Relating"

·         Annual  "Queer and Ally Training" for all Counseling Services Interns and GST's

·         Planning and participation in Sexual Assault Awareness Week activities, including the Take Back the Night March and Rally

Additionally, HCC Staff are visible and supportive co-sponsors of diversity-related initiatives and are active members of campus-wide groups/programs such as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, the DU Queer and Ally Commission, and Men as Allies.  

HCC's upcoming events include National Alcohol Screening Day (Thursday, April 3rd @ the Driscoll Greens) and free HIV testing for HIV/AIDS Awareness Week (April 22-25, from 1-4pm daily).  For more information about HCC's services and programs, please visit: or call:  303-871-2205. 

Profiles of Excellence

     Please join us on Thursday, May 29th, for the 2008 Profiles of Excellence: Graduation and Awards Ceremony.  This year will mark a special celebration for the Center for Multicultural Excellence as the first cohort of the Community of Excellence Scholars will be graduating.  The ceremony is a standing tradition for CME and it gives the Center an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of graduating students of color, students of Hillel, LGBTIQ students, allies and advocates.  The event is free and open to family, friends and supporters.  To register for this event go to and click on the link on the bottom of the homepage.  For more information contact Denise A. Pappas-Lucero at or at (303) 871-2507.


Community of Excellence Celebrates its First Graduating Class

By Tracey Peters

The Center for Multicultural Excellence and Academic Advising, in The Center for Academic and Career Development are proud to celebrate the first graduating class of the Community of Excellence Scholars' Program. The Community of Excellence was created in 2004 by Lamont Sellers, former Assistant Director for the Center for Multicultural Excellence and Niki Latino, Assistant Director for Academic Advising. The Community of Excellence is modeled after the Maroon and Gold coach-scholar program at Arizona State University.  The program was designed to provide a network of resources for first year Daniels Fund Scholars, MLK Scholars, Native American Scholars, Bridge Scholars and other scholarship recipients as they transition from high school to their first year of college. 
The Community of Excellence consists of a Coach/Scholar partnership designed to cultivate academic preparation and planning and graduation planning as an effort to create a community of scholars and highlight their talents utilizing a success model based on Laura Rendón's Validation Theory (Rendón, 1994). The Community of Excellence encourages students in a supportive, validating environment that brings university administrators, faculty, staff and graduate students together to coach students as they persist throughout their four year college experience. Key to the success of the Community of Excellence program has been the unique relationship between the Center for Multicultural Excellence and Academic Advising. Community of Excellence Scholars are paired with Academic Advisers that provide one-on-one advising and assistance with degree planning for each Scholar. Since 2004 the Community of Excellence has grown from 43 students to over 160 students and over 200 coaches dedicated to support students during their critical first year of college. 

A reception will be held to honor our graduates and recognize Community of Excellence coaches Thursday May 29th 3:00pm- 4:30pm in suite 1864 in The Driscoll Student Center just prior to the Profiles of Excellence Graduation program.  Please contact Tracey Peters at for any additional information.  

By Sarah Nickels
     Karen Bensen is the Director of Partners in Learning at the University of Denver.  Her work creates meaningful opportunities for students to engage with faculty outside the classroom.  Issues of social justice and dialoguing across differences are often the themes of these programs as she feels passionate about this work.  Prior to her current position, she was the Director of GLBT Student Services on the Auraria Campus for eleven years.  She received her Masters in Social Work from DU in 1991 and has been doing social justice work for over 20 years.


     As an experienced social justice educator, extraordinary networker, and skilled programmer, Karen is a significant contributor to diversity-related initiatives at DU each year.  She has been an active member of planning committees for the LGBTIQ and Allies Celebration Gala; the DU Diversity Summit; the Lamont A. Sellers Diversity & Unity Retreat; the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations; Sexual Assault Awareness Week; Gay? Fine By Me Week; Queer University Employees; and the Queer and Ally Commission.  Additionally, Karen served as one of the co-chairs for the 2008 DU Women's Conference.  


     It is difficult to find a person at DU who doesn't know of Karen Bensen and her tremendous work as the Director of Partners in Learning.  We are so fortunate to collaborate with Karen and appreciate her many contributions to CME and the campus as a whole. 


  • Consuming Misogyny Syposium.  Friday, April 11th, 12:00 - 4:15 at Sturm Hall.  RSVP Required: or at (303) 871-3654.
  • Festival of Nations.  Saturday, April 12th, 12:00-5:00, Driscoll Ballroom.  For more information contact Eric Streeper, ISO Co-President at
  • Hip Hop:  Beyond Beats and Rhymes.  Featurning Documentary Filmmaker Byron Hurt.  Monday, April 14th at 7:00 p.m. at Davis Auditorium. 
  • Freedom Seder: A Celebration of Our Freedom.  Wednesday, April 16th @ 6:30 p.m. at the Gottesfeld Room.  FREE Dinner & Event!  To RSVP contact Joel Portman at or at (303) 777-2773 x228. 
  • GSAC Social, Cafe SAME.  Thursday,April 17th, HRTM Tuscan Room, 5:00 -7:00 p.m. For more information contact
  • Tranny Road Show.  Thursday, April 24th, @ 6:30 p.m .- 9:30 p.m. at Driscoll Ballroom.
  • Community of Excellence Graduation Celebration.  Thursday, May 29th at 3:00-4:30 p.m.  Contact Tracey Peters @
  • Profiles of Excellence Graduation & Awards Ceremony.  Thursday, May 29th, 2008, Driscoll Ballroom & Gallery, 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.  To register for this event please go to (bottom of web page).  For additional information contact Denise Pappas-Lucero at
  • For the Bible Tells Me So.  Wednesday, April 30th @ 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.  Contact Sarah Nickels at or Rev. Gary Brower at