Chief diversity officer candidate discusses accessibility, promoting diversity
Shawna Patterson-Stephens made her case for why she deserves the position as the next chief diversity officer at Central Michigan University during an online forum.
Patterson-Stephens, one of three final candidates for the position, spoke at to two open forums on Feb. 23.
During her student forum, Patterson-Stephens answered questions about her plans for her first 100 days in the position, promoting diversity programs and her thoughts on including diversity, equity and inclusion into courses.
Patterson-Stephens, originally from Detroit, is a CMU alumna. She currently works as associate vice chancellor of student affairs and director of the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“I just think that it would be a great honor to be able to give back to the community that fed so much into me,” Patterson-Stephens said. “I think that this role and the opportunity to work with so many different community members lends itself to innovation and creation in a way that is exciting to me.”
Patterson-Stephens wants to be accessible to students and have a thorough understanding of student’s experiences.
She wants to understand experiences in dorms, curriculums, student services, leadership opportunities and more, Stephens said.
“I also would hope to make sure that I'm a visible presence,” Patterson-Stephens said. “I want people to know who I am because I really value understanding who people are and I'm really relationship centered and focused.”
The forums for the other two candidates will take place on Feb. 24 and 25 at 2 p.m. for faculty and 4 p.m. for students.