Advocating for Access, Community and Success
At the School of Education & Human Development (SEHD), we believe strongly that all students—diverse in race, ethnicity, economic resources, language, fluency, abilities, geography, first-generation status, age, gender and sexual identities—deserve the opportunity to learn. To advance our mission and meet the changing interests of our local and global communities, Dean Rebecca Kantor recently initiated the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, welcoming Aswad Allen, assistant dean of diversity and inclusion, and Jason Clark, director of recruitment and retention.
Prior to coming to CU Denver, Allen served for 11 years as director of the Office of Diversity Affairs at the CU Boulder Leeds School of Business. Clark was most recently a retention manager at the Denver Scholarship Foundation.
In the last year, Allen and Clark have been active on many fronts including:
- Formulating a new diversity plan for SEHD
- Recruiting a diverse talent pipeline of undergraduates, community college students, adult learners and career changers who are committed to becoming culturally responsive leaders and change agents
- Spearheading a new Black Youth and Family Community Initiative, a community-driven effort to improve mental health, expand educational opportunities, improve educational outcomes, shape polices and set priorities to achieve excellence in education for African American and Black youth
- Reaching out to the Latino community as part of a Latino Community Initiative to inform the school’s strategic plan, scholarship initiatives, community outreach opportunities and fundraising efforts to attract a new endowed chair of Latino/a education
- Promoting student success and listening to student voices at new SEHD student forums
- Engaging SEHD faculty in diversity discussions and initiatives
- Collaborating with Pathways2Teaching, a SEHD program that encourages high school students from diverse backgrounds to consider a career in teaching
“The mission of our school is to prepare teachers, administrators, researchers and mental health professionals who are committed to inclusivity, excellence and service to the community,” said Dean Kantor. “To educate our students with rigor, to foster outstanding research, and in order to be national and global leaders, we must have a diverse faculty/staff and we must increase the diversity of our student body, including first-generation college students and students from various underrepresented communities. Aswad and Jason are great collaborators and thoughtful colleagues who are going to help further our great mission.”
“The CU Denver Campus is aggressively positioning itself to be a regional and national leader in urban education,” said Allen. “I’m excited about being part of that. The work we all have committed to is valuable, critical and at times tough. Although at times it may not be visible, it is quite necessary in order to advance education and mental health for all people.”
“I love that our mission intimately revolves around the local community,” said Clark. “As we move towards diversifying our current student population, I am most excited to partner with our current students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members to accomplish our goals. We desperately need education and mental health practitioners who reflect the diverse population they serve and understand the unique assets and strengths of our diverse communities. Moving in this direction will create more positive momentum towards educational access, equity and success.”