My first few weeks at DU have certainly been a pleasure, and I look forward to continuing to get to know the DU community while remaining intentionally accessible. I want folks to get to know me and my approach to collaboratively lead DU’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. To provide a glimpse, I would like to express my desire to build upon the excellent work already underway in the interest of institutionalizing DEI as a priority in faculty affairs and across the university. At every point in our decision-making, collaborative leadership, policy-making, policy-implementation, and in our communications, we must employ an equity lens.
Let us make sure we consistently keep in mind the ways in which we may help or hurt the most vulnerable members of our university community with what we do, or fail to do. Deep considerations of intersectionality cannot be far from our thoughts as we engage across the university, be it for academic concerns or operations. My desire is for us to continue to grow as a community focused on learning, engaged inquiry, and innovation that feels like a welcoming home for individuals regardless of the intersecting identities that make each person unique. Members of the DU community should ultimately feel they can thrive—living in their complete humanity, as their full and authentic selves.
Clearly, I recognize there are many tall tasks in front of me in this new role, and there is much for all of us to do collectively. What gives me hope that we will excel in all of the great work already underway by so many talented and passionate individuals across the university. Anything of great quality takes time, so we will not see broad instantaneous change, but we will accomplish much along the way to realize our desired transformations. As we reach various DEI accomplishments and milestones, I hope we can take a moment from time to time to celebrate before continuing to push forward. Do not hesitate to reach out to me, as I am extremely interested in listening, learning, and collaborating in the interest of positive progress.
Christopher M. Whitt, Ph.D
Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
University of Denver