Inclusive Community Year-End Review, July 2022 - June 2023
The University of Central Oklahoma recognizes the university's campus is located on the traditional lands of the Caddo and Wichita people. Visit the UCO Land Acknowledgement website to learn more.
About Inclusive Community
The University of Central Oklahoma affirms and promotes diversity in areas including race, class, gender identity/expression, ethnicity, culture, religion, sociological ideology, (dis)ability, affectional orientation, veteran or military-connected status, citizenship or residential status, first-generation student status, caregiver or parental status, and other aspects of self-identification. Our appreciation of diversity includes an awareness of the historical heritage on which the university was founded and the many struggles and sacrifices confronting systemically marginalized communities.
Inclusive Community, which houses the student-facing Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), exists to create and engage the community, assure equitable access and fair distribution of resources and opportunities, and strengthen the cross-cultural intelligence of faculty, staff and students.
Inclusive Community Vision
The University of Central Oklahoma promotes and sustains an inclusive community that embraces diversity and advances equity in every area of the institution. To fulfill this vision, the university engages in ongoing, reflective efforts to foster a sense of belonging and to provide empowering transformative learning experiences for all students, faculty, staff and community stakeholders, including those who have experienced or continue to experience exclusion or marginalization in higher education and our society.
Inclusive Community Mission
The mission of Inclusive Community (IC) is to plan, lead and implement, in collaboration with university partners, institutional change initiatives that advance equity to cultivate and sustain inclusive excellence at UCO. Our goals are to:
- Work with our university partners to identify and overcome potential barriers to equity; and,
- Advance an inclusive community that recognizes human dignity and mutual respect.
University of Central Oklahoma Mission
The University of Central Oklahoma empowers students to become ethical, creative and engaged citizens and leaders through our commitment to transformative learning experiences.
How Inclusive Community Fulfills the Mission
The Office of Inclusive Community fulfills this mission through its work advancing inclusive excellence. Evidence suggests that a learner’s academic outcomes improve when they feel a sense of belonging, which is a product of inclusive excellence. Additionally, Inclusive Community fulfills the mission of UCO through the creation of transformative learning moments to enhance the intercultural intelligence of our faculty, staff and students. Intercultural intelligence is a key leadership skill in today’s global world.
A Letter From Our Assistant Vice President
The Office of Inclusive Community collected the diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) work conducted throughout the past academic year to create a Year-End Review. This review first highlights the projects, policies and initiatives in which our team directly leads or engages. It concludes with a collection of work from across the university that shows the impact this entire community has on creating a more inclusive and equitable institution.
The University of Central Oklahoma has remained committed to structural change that advances our long-term efforts to be more inclusive, diverse, equitable, accessible, and accountable in ways that enrich the quality of our campus climate and improve a sense of Broncho belonging. While the review is not intended to be a comprehensive record of the activities that occurred during the 2022-23 year, it does provide a snapshot of efforts led and supported across the UCO community. We recognize that in the life of any university, progress continues for improvement with no absolute end. While this review contains accomplishments in which we can take pride, it should not be viewed as a finite list of statistics and achievements. Rather, the contents of this review reflect broad foundations upon which we continue to build as we create genuine and lasting change.
The journey toward achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive institution is one we collectively share. Cultivating belonging is the responsibility of each of us, and its long-term benefits—both within our community and at large—are immeasurable.
As we prepare for the 2023-24 academic year, we have high expectations of continued growth in inclusive excellence. We will develop greater partnerships with our Edmond neighbors and effectively increase the retention rate of our historically marginalized populations of students, faculty and staff.
We hope this review motivates and inspires you to persist with us in advancing inclusive excellence at UCO and beyond.
Jennifer Williams Molock, Ed.D.
Assistant Vice President for Inclusive Community
Office of Inclusive Community
A Department of People and Culture
A Year of Change
The 2022-23 academic year saw much change for Inclusive Community. The student-facing Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) started its first academic year as part of Inclusive Community and the Division of People and Culture. The Office of Inclusive Community focused on reimagining its role within the institution and the greater OKC Metro, preparing for future strategic change initiatives and supporting intercultural programming and education. Throughout the academic year, the ODI created programs and events connecting more than 7,000 students and community members.
The major functions of our work included:
- Identity-based student organizations and retention initiatives;
- Identity-based student outreach conferences;
- Cultural and commemoration events;
- Cross-cultural education and upskilling;
- Ongoing demographic and climate data assessment and analysis; and,
- Organizational culture strategic planning.
The work of Inclusive Community occurred while the department's leadership thoughtfully rebuilt the ODI team, staffing the department with compassionate and motivated individuals.
Cristi Moore (she/hers), '08 B.A., '20 M.Ed. Moore continued in her role as the inclusion strategist focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) education, research, assessment and strategic initiatives.
Liz Wallace (she/hers/we), '18 B.A., '21 M.Ed. Wallace managed the student-facing side of Inclusive Community as the director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, providing stability and leadership through much growth and change.
Mickey Loveless II (they/them), '22 B.A. Loveless began their role as administrative assistant for the Student Office of Diversity and Inclusion, providing office support through creation and implementation of policies and procedures, while ensuring compliance with UCO policy.
Sonia Rodriguez-Escobar (she/hers/ella), '11 B.A., '19 M.Ed. Escobar provided guidance and support for student organizations and diversity-related initiatives in her role as senior coordinator, while spearheading conferences, workshops and programming to promote an inclusive community.
Christopher Hendricks (he/his), '21 B.A. Hendricks advised multiple student groups, helping them stay aligned with UCO policies while trying to achieve their respective goals of building communities, advocating for cultural issues, celebrating differences and providing cross-cultural education.
David Farias (he/his/el), '21 B.S. Farias started his role as a Student Success Coordinator, advancing student-led events for the UCO community with an emphasis on the Indigenous, Asian American and Pacific Islander and First-Generation populations.
In the coming academic year, Inclusive Community has exciting things in the making. One major endeavor will be administering a full campus climate survey to assess faculty, staff and student perceptions of UCO's climate, experiences with discrimination and harassment at UCO, and how UCO supports diversity and equity. Intercultural education, celebrations and events will continue to be a priority, as will strategic planning.
Additionally, we hope to implement or enhance some of the following initiatives and programs:
- Create a shared name of Inclusive Community and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.
- Facilitate book discussion groups that lead to constructive dialogue across difference.
- Develop an Inclusive Leadership Academy micro-credential.
- Implement the Inclusive Community Faculty and/or Graduate Student Fellows program.
- Expand partnerships with the Edmond community.
- Enhance UCO's infrastructure to increase supplier diversity.
- Obtain status as a First Gen Forward Institution through the First Scholars Network.
- Expand student-focused on-campus collaborations and partnerships.
- Obtain status as an Age-Friendly University Global Network.
- Expand use of diversity data to inform strategic decisions.
- Support and encourage the development of new Faculty and Staff Associations.
A Brief Summary of Our Work
In collaboration with our many campus partners, Inclusive Community has advanced diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) through the following initiatives.
- Furthered the intercultural intelligence of the UCO, Edmond and OKC Metro communities through the development, curation and facilitation of multiple learning experiences. Those created and facilitated by Inclusive Community include:
- Engaging Across Difference at UCO; online option available
- Recognizing, Reducing and Responding to Microaggressions; online option available
- Operationalizing Equity at UCO; online option available
- Authentically Engaging With UCO's Land Acknowledgement; online option available
- Inclusive Leadership
- Being an Inclusive Manager
- Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Assessment for Enhancing Cultural Humility
- Diversity and Inclusion Budgeting micro-credential
- Diversity and Inclusion Critical Thinking and Problem-solving micro-credential
- Diversity and Inclusion Event Planning and Logistics micro-credential
- Diversity and Inclusion Public Speaking micro-credential
- Diversity and Inclusion Risk Management (planning) micro-credential
- Diversity Leadership Institute micro-credential
- Diversity Peer Educator micro-credential
- Planned and implemented over 200 programs and events, connecting more than 7000 students and Edmond/OKC community members. Some of the programs and events included:
- Latinx Heritage Month Kickoff and Día De Los Muertos observation
- Lunar New Year celebration
- Native American Heritage Month Kickoff and 50th Annual Powwow
- Black History Month Kickoff, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial March across campus and Enterprise MLK Oratory Competition
- Juneteenth education and observation
- Women's Heritage Month Kickoff and Exceptional Women's Brunch
- First Gen Week, celebrating the accomplishments of first generation students, faculty and staff
- Prímeros Pasos outreach conference for Hispanic or Latinx high school and college students
- Black Male Summit outreach conference for African American high school and college students
- Black Girl Magic outreach conference for African American high school and college students
- Student Success Initiatives for peer mentoring and leadership coaching
- Diversity Peer Educators (student educators trained by the ODI professional staff) delivered several learning experiences to faculty, staff and students, facilitating intercultural dialogue.
- Created more inclusive and culturally responsive learning environments through the development and distribution of a Multicultural and Interfaith Calendar, highlighting dates that might affect student, faculty and staff attendance or participation.
- Administered the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and debriefs for more than 50 individuals and teams at UCO, Edmond and OKC metropolitan areas.
- Simplified and streamlined the Continuous Cultural Competence intiative to increase learner participation and comprehension.
- Collected and analyzed UCO workforce and student demographic data, as well as demographic data of the OKC metropolitan statistical area to develop a Demographic Dashboard - This dashboard highlights some spaces where UCO can improve its demographic representation.
- Invited to join UCO’s Data Governance Committee to speak to the need for more inclusive data analytics as a means to measure DEIB progress at UCO.
- Met with various UCO offices, faculty and staff to propose the creation of an accessible, easy-to-use data dashboard that can quickly pull disparate sources of data together and measure the effectiveness of UCO's DEIB and other initiatives.
- Attended various campus events to increase awareness and visibility of Inclusive Community.
- Participated in intercultural and DEIB events within the greater OKC Metro. Some events included:
- The Restorative Justice Institute of Oklahoma community circle event (learned how to facilitate circles and developed partnerships within the local community)
- The Asian, American Indian, Black, Hispanic and African American OKC Chambers of Commerce events (networked with community partners)
- Flourish and The Spero Project's art exhibit opening highlighting Oklahoma's refugee experience (learned about some aspects of life from the refugee experience)
- Urban League Gala where UCO’s own Barry Lofton was honored for his continuous service with the Urban League of Oklahoma City
- State of the City Address for Oklahoma City
- State of the Schools Address with Chancellor Allison Garrett
- Worked with the Office of Equal Opportunity to update the process for bias incident reporting.
- Volunteered with the Office of Equal Opportunity and the Office of Student Accountability and Conflict Resolution as Procedural Advocates and Hearing Panelists.
- Partnered with the Office of High Impact Practices for a presentation at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research to increase awareness among faculty research mentors of diverse student challenges and needs.
- Volunteered in support of the UCO Endeavor Games for Athletes with Physical Disabilities.
- Participated as a member of Leadership Edmond’s class XXXVIII and served as an intern with the Edmond History Museum (Dr. Jennifer Williams Molock).
- Worked with the UCO Strategic Plan leadership team to incorporate goals from the Inclusive Community Strategic Framework into the institutional strategic plan.
- Developed and presented objectives and metrics to be included in the UCO Strategic Plan that prioritize diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and intercultural intelligence.
- Met with each College at the start of the academic year to increase awareness of Inclusive Community and its role at UCO.
- Assisted the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) writing team with responses to questions regarding UCO's diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
- Assisted in planning, implementing and presenting at the College of Education and Professional Studies’ Multicultural Education Institute, a conference designed to assist teachers, future teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, counselors and other personnel in education to understand and implement strategies and programs in schools that build cross-cultural appreciation and academic success for all students.
- Facilitated restorative mediation among diverse students to build their skills in engaging across difference.
- Facilitated restorative justice community building circles to enhance faculty and staff sense of belonging across departments.
- Awarded the 2022 Inclusion Champion Award to Barry Lofton, executive director of TRIO & GEARUP programs.
- Awarded student Mentee of the Year awards to Faith Alvarez and Natalie Grant.
- Awarded student Mentor of the Year awards to Joscelyn Dsane Crabbe and Jacob Reavis.
- Recognized seniors Diallo Foster, Ashley Jimenez, Tianna Samuel and Lauren Summers; juniors Genelle James and Evelyn Martinez; sophomores Sierra Bratcher, Brittani Killingsworth and Jaylen Rider; and Freshmen Mariah Deere and Kim Smith for their contributions to the ODI with Leadership Awards.
- Established regular meetings for the Faculty and Staff Association Presidents to learn the needs of their members.
- AVP Appointed by former President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar, NCAA/MIAA-Athletics Diversity & Inclusion Designee (ADID); serves as the conduit for information related to national-, local- and campus-level issues of diversity and inclusion and supports diverse and inclusive practices related to student athletics.
- Planned and presented the Indigenous Peoples Garden ceremony in partnership with the Office of the President and the Native American Faculty and Staff Association.
- Coordinated the United Way Campaign for all of UCO, bringing in multicultural food trucks from the local community.
- Began the process of seeking designation as an Age-Friendly University by the Gerontological Society of America (an initiative spearheaded by Dr. Melissa Powers, Professor of Kinesiology & Health Studies).
- Engaged in several professional development learning experiences to enhance our own individual and team intercultural competence/humility. Some experiences included:
- Intercultural Development Inventory Qualified Administrator
- Learning Experience Design
- Adult Mental Health First Aid
- DREAMER (undocumented student) Ally Training
- Gehring Academy: Restorative Justice Track
- Early Settlement Civil Mediation
- National Conference on Race & Ethnicity (NCORE) Conference
- NASPA First-Generation Student Success Conference
- Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education Annual Conference: DEIB in Assessment Track
- NCAA ADID Summit and Inclusion Forum
- Performed a DEIB institutional assessment of UCO through the completion of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award application.
Practicing Inclusion and Equity Across UCO
The following is a collection of nominations for the 2022-23 Inclusion Champion Award submitted to Inclusive Community from faculty, staff and students recognizing specific individuals and groups for their diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging work at UCO.
Liliana Renteria Mendoza
Staff, Academic Affairs Curriculum and Policy Department
Dr. Liliana Renteria Mendoza is a driving force on the UCO campus when it comes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts and advocacy. She has been instrumental in developing, initiating, and supporting multicultural programs upon her arrival at Central in 2012. Liliana has contributed so much to helping students lead and learn. Liliana unselfishly serves as a mentor to students and staff. She relates and connects to people from all backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures and is always willing to share her expertise, talents and leadership skills to ensure students, staff and faculty feel comfortable on campus and they are successful in meeting their DEI goals. Liliana’s DEI contributions to UCO are unmatched, including leading the Latino Faculty and Staff Association, spearheading the creation of the Hispanic Student Success Initiative, writing successful TRIO and GEARUP grants, Connecting UCO with the OKC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Translating UCO's viewbook and other recruiting materials into Spanish, soliciting scholarships for UCO's undocumented students, advancing digital accessibility in Academic Affairs, etc.
Faculty, College of Education and Professional Studies Curriculum and Instruction Department
Since starting in 2018, Dr. Montgomery has demonstrated excellence in building equity and strengthening inclusive education at UCO. She coordinates the Urban Teacher Preparation Academy. The mission of UTPA is to recruit, welcome, encourage, and sustain a network of comprehensively trained teacher advocates who believe in equity for all learners and who serve the diverse communities of Oklahoma City and Putnam City Public Schools. Since she started, Shannon has increased the number of students and schools who participate in UPTA. She incorporates social justice issues into her courses. Students shared the impact that Shannon has made. One wrote, “Dr. Montgomery showed me how to approach sensitive issues for children to give them something to think about. No topic is taboo, and students are capable of asking and answering the big questions. She showed me how to be accepting and welcoming to all my students.” Another shared, “Dr. Montgomery opened my eyes and heart to the tough issue surrounding education—equity. Her class made me look beyond my own socialization and privilege to learn about the struggles and challenges that so many students face every day in education. She has transformed my thinking and understanding so that I now look at my curriculum and pedagogy through a critical social justice lens and try to provide and promote learning to ALL students no matter their background or experiences. She has truly transformed me into a better teacher and a better person.”
Staff, Chemistry Labs for the College of Math and Science
Ryan continually works with multiple departments on campus on a plethora of projects. Each instance, Ryan has demonstrated cross-departmental collaboration with planning, preparedness, safety and success at the forefront. Gender, race, cultural and religious backgrounds and other forms of sociodemographic identifiers are never limitations but welcomed through Ryan's initiatives.
Faculty, College of Liberal Arts History and Geography Department
Dr. Lindsey Churchill and her Center students do so much for equity, diversity and inclusion around campus, and they do so despite pushback. For many of the Center students, her space is the only safe space they know. She was also part of the Interdisciplinary Incubator, and the College of Liberal Art's National Endowment for the Humanities grant to digitize the Herland archives.
Faculty, College of Liberal Arts Political Science Department
Dr. Provencio is a champion of equity and diversity. She applies her knowledge, experience and skills at various levels throughout UCO to ensure representation for faculty, staff and students. She has been awarded several grants to further this cause. She teaches leadership classes that equip students to serve as future leaders in inclusivity. She also leads workshops on how to be a mentor to diverse students, faculty and staff. Provencio always finds a way to include those that lack representation at UCO.
The Department of Wellness and Sport
The department of Wellness and Sport created a new event this past year called the Broncho Games. This event was for students, faculty and staff and was a series of competitions with small teams. The events included two Paralympic sports - sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball. After initial hesitation by able-bodied individuals, once it was explained everyone could participate, teams signed up and student groups, faculty groups and staff members competed the full week. Participants were taught how to play these sports before competition and then they experienced what it was like to play adaptive sports. In addition to this new event, the department hosts the annual UCO Endeavor Games for Athletes with Physical Disabilities in June. Many faculty and staff volunteer every year, exposing them to individuals with different disabilities. In addition, UCO is a training site for USA Volleyball's men's and women's sitting volleyball program. High level athletes can be seen training every morning to prepare for the Paralympic Games. It is extremely important disability is always included in DEI initiatives. Often times this group is overlooked and the department works hard to expose individuals to adaptive sports and disabled individuals.
Shay Beezley, Anona Earls and Kaitlyn Palone
Staff, Library Metadata Department
Metadata and how we describe information matters. Chambers Library’s professional catalogers are at the forefront in Oklahoma by establishing the Inclusive Metadata Initiative. This initiative addresses the way library patrons are able to search for library resources by creating more inclusive and accurate search terms and cataloging. Examples include:
- Replacing the subject heading “illegal aliens” for undocumented immigrants or the term “riots” for massacres of Black people;
- Avoiding use of the subject heading "Sexual Minorities" as a description of The Center's LGBTQ+ book collection and resources, and replacing with the term "Homosaurus", a LGBTQ+ oriented controlled vocabulary;
- Remedying classification labels, such as using N (Negro) or O (Oriental) to collocate materials by/about Black or Asian authors; and
- Removing the outdated phrase “Five Civilized Tribes” from the library’s website.