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Chief diversity officer candidate discusses visibility, cultivating a diverse community


Elizabeth Martinez-Podolsky discussed cultivating a diverse community and student engagement during forums for Central Michigan University's next chief diversity officer.

Martinez-Podolsky, one of three candidates for the position, spoke at two forums on Feb. 24.

During the student forum, she discussed her plans to promote diversity and visibility for minority groups on campus. She also spoke about intersectionality and how she plans to engage with student organizations.

Currently, Martinez-Podolsky is the Director of Multicultural Student Success for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University. 

During the forum, Martinez-Podolsky said hearing student perspectives and experiences is important to her.

"I hope to provide a formal introduction to who I am and the work that I bring with me," she said. "My cultural belief is that it is important to enter a space with respect and honoring who is already in that space."

For her first 100 days in the position, Martinez-Podolsky plans on doing a campus ecology tour. This means she will be looking at different aspects of CMU's campus that are promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. This tour will also see how CMU highlights different student populations and campus accessibility. 

Martinez-Podolsky wants to promote more intersectionality on  campus. She said it would help to support many of CMU's communities and bring unity.

"It reminds us that people are not a monolith, that there are so many different types of experiences," Martinez-Podolsky said. "I think we need to give voice to this concept with our student organizations because we should be working in solidarity in so many ways."

The forums for the final candidate will take place on Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. for faculty and 4 p.m. for students and can be accessed on the President's website.