- Arts & Life
Diane Ariza took her post as associate vice president for academic affairs and chief diversity officer on Oct. 1, filling part of the hole left last year after the departure of Tyrone Black, former director of multicultural affairs.
The position is half of Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Mark Thompson’s plan for two administrative positions to advance diversity initiatives on campus.
“I want to have outsiders see Quinnipiac as the center of how they understand diversity,” Ariza said. “I want Quinnipiac to be state-of-the-art in that aspect.”
Thompson plans to work with Ariza to create a “broad community view in ensuring that Quinnipiac does all they can to have inclusion and diversity throughout the campus.”
Ariza’s first priority is to meet people and learn what they do.
“I need to understand the culture here before I can help everyone to understand the impact diversity has on the individual,” she said. “After that, we will talk about goals together.”
Thompson and Ariza agreed that they will work on faculty and staff development, and ensure that there are more programs available for faculty and staff to gain more opportunities for discussion about diversity.
Ariza explained that society gets stuck on the differentiation of race, ethnicity and religion among many others as the definition of diversity.
“Don’t get locked into what one sees on the outside,” she said. “Diversity is about experience, learning and exposing oneself to that.”
Ariza explained that a feeling of belonging and of welcoming is essential.
“You are a part of us regardless of religion, ethnicity, race or gender,” she said.
Thompson explained the previous position similar to Ariza’s was the director of multicultural affairs, a spot Tyrone Black held until he left in February of 2009. Black’s position was primarily related to student programming, but after the position was left vacant, Ariza’s position was created.
“She has a wider array of responsibilities beyond programming,” Thompson said.
Thompson said Ariza is perfectly suited for what the school is asking of her due to her background in developing multicultural programs.
Ariza explained President John Lahey described their goals best when stating that they want students to leave Quinnipiac having exposed themselves to new travel, students and adventures.
“We would be failing as an institution if we couldn’t accomplish that,” Ariza said.