CALS representative selected for Inclusive Excellence Leadership Academy

Friday, June 1, 2018

A representative from the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences is one of five individuals from the University of Arizona selected to participate in the Inclusive Excellence Leadership Academy, an online annual program designed to train campus leaders with best practices of Inclusive Excellence (IE) - the conscious and intentional practice of diversity and inclusiveness. This is the first year the University of Arizona has participated in the national academy.

Heather Roberts-Wrenn, CALS assistant director of organizational effectiveness and an active member of our Diversity & Inclusiveness (D&I) Committee, will join the other four individuals selected from across campus to represent the UA and infuse IE methods and ideals throughout campus. Of the inaugural cohort, Heather is one of only two to be selected from outside central administration. The other participants from the UA are:

Melissa Silva—Student Services Cochise County Coordinator – UA South

Sherard Robbins—Assistant Director, Equity & Student Engagement – Housing & Residential Life

Lydia Kennedy—Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Helena Rodrigues—Assistant Vice President, Human Resources

This is one more way that CALS is striving to achieve our Foundational Goal – to be the most sought-after place to be a part of.

Diversity and Inclusion are values in CALS that we measure ourselves against. CALS has had one of the earliest D&I Committees at the UA (initiated in 1992) and age has not slowed it down. When asked about the various achievements of the D&I Committee, and what we can expect going forward, Dr. Ursula Schuch, Chair of the CALS D&I Committee had this to say:

CALS has a proud history where the leadership has supported diversity. The former CALS Diversity Committee initiated more than 12 years ago a diversity category to the annual faculty performance report, a first for any college at the University of Arizona. In 2016 we collected statements from all CALS unit leaders on their commitment to promote diversity and inclusion. You can see these commitments on the monitors in the Forbes lobby and in the Norton School. In spring 2016, our committee launched the ‘Perspectives on Diversity and Inclusion Speaker Series‘ which is presented live and in a webcast for remote viewing. Word is spreading in the CALS community how the presentations encourage discussion about diversity and inclusion. Our next steps include offering more opportunities for training and discussions about D&I and following up on results from the Inclusive Excellence survey with action items to promote a more inclusive environment for students, staff, and faculty.

Under her leadership, the Committee has created an active Perspectives on Diversity and Inclusion Speaker Series with topics ranging from Reframing Disability, Unconscious Bias and Micro-Aggression, to Challenging Notions of Toxic Masculinity. The committee also is in the planning stages for a Professional Development Workshop Series designed to provide development opportunities to career-track faculty, appointed professionals, and staff.

Extra Info

The National Inclusive Excellence Academy is an online 4-week training course designed to coach institutional leaders to increase their diversity leadership skills and to become change agents around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. See more at: