Saint Anselm anticipates first chief diversity officer: Ande Diaz

Dr.+Ande+Diaz.\Saint Anselm College

Dr. Ande Diaz.

Emily Craig, Assistant News Editor

Ande Diaz, Ph.D., will officially join the Saint Anselm College community this summer as the newly-appointed Chief Diversity Officer for the college. In an interview with The Crier, Dr. Diaz gave insight to her thoughts on the position and how she came across it.

“Many schools across the country are recognizing the need to coordinate their diversity initiatives as a way to increase the momentum of positive change,” Dr. Diaz said. “I was fortunate to be contacted by the search firm that was assisting Saint Anselm College in the CDO search process.”

The search firm mentioned was R.H. Perry & Associates, who partnered with Saint Anselm’s CDO search committee last year to consult candidates suitable for the position.

Dr. Diaz said that two particular things caught her attention when the search firm presented the position to her. The first was the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

“You might wonder why the [Institute] would be such a big attraction to a diversity educator, so let me explain,” Dr. Diaz said. “For me, diversity is one part of building a strong, inclusive, and just democracy. So to do my work in a community that is so committed to raising civil discourse around public issues that matter, really excites me!”

The second thing that attracted Dr. Diaz to the position was, as she said, “the opportunity to do [her] work in a spiritual and contemplative context where welcoming and inclusion are core values.”

Dr. Diaz utilizes resources from the Association of American Colleges and Universities to define terms such as inclusion. Inclusion, therefore, as defined by the AAC&U, is “the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity — in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect — in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institutions.”

In our interview, Dr. Diaz offered to make the distinction between inclusion and diversity as a way to further the discussion on what it means to be a Chief Diversity Officer on a college campus.

“Diversity often focuses on composition or representation.​ Inclusion is how we infuse diversity into our day to day teaching and learning. That learning happens in classrooms, labs, residence halls, student organizations, and at dinner tables. As our nation’s colleges bring in more diverse student bodies, colleges also need to be student-ready and adapt to the changing needs of that student body.”

In an previous interview with The Crier, the Director of the Multicultural Center, Wayne Currie, said, “The main focus [of the CDO] is looking at the curriculum and seeing how integrated it is in terms of other races.”

When asked what she thought in terms of diversifying the curriculum at Saint A’s as the CDO, Dr. Diaz responded, “Even though I currently serve as associate provost, it would be premature for me to offer suggestions on any curriculum that I have yet to learn myself. As I learn more about St. A’s, I will look forward to being a resource on both liberal arts curricula and on inclusive pedagogy.”

In terms of her duties as CDO, Dr. Diaz will report to the President of the College, and she will sit as a member of the college’s Cabinet, as well.

Many student and faculty groups on campus have said that the possibilities that come with the hiring of the CDO are endless and they are excited to see what change will soon come.

As for Dr. Diaz herself, she said, “Most of all I am excited to be part of a learning institution that takes seriously the responsibility to prepare young people to work, study, and live in a global interconnected world. That mission fires me up every morning — who needs coffee!”

Dr. Diaz will relocate to New Hampshire from Pennsylvania to take up the position as Chief Diversity Officer this summer. She will officially begin her work with the college on July 15.