Office of Equity and Inclusion
The Office of Equity and Inclusion consults, advises, trains, and provides policy development in the areas of equity, inclusion, diversity, equal opportunity, and affirmative action. The office provides programs and services to support its colleges and universities, as well as the system office. In addition, the office partners with communities, businesses, and civic and educational organizations to impact student success, procurement practices, and campus climate.
Programs and services focus on:
- Strategic diversity leadership
- Program and professional development
- Policy and compliance
- Student success
- Evaluation, assessment, and accountability
- Community engagement
The Office of Equity and Inclusion ensures students, faculty, and staff in Minnesota State learn and work in environments that actively promote equity and inclusion. The values that guide our work include: access and opportunity, equity and inclusion, cultural competence, cultural responsive pedagogy & service, and community engagement.
Our educational environments are culturally relevant, responsive, and innovative to the students we serve.
Our students are assets, we affirm their identities and lived experiences, and provide spaces that are emotionally safe and reflect who students are.
We are recognized and valued as thought-leaders on equity and inclusion and feel empowered to lead as experts in the field.
Our systemwide equity and diversity goals include:
Improve Minnesota State capacity, strategy, and stakeholder competency to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts through planning, policy, training, and professional development initiatives.
Establish and improve intentional and authentic connections with Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) and other institutions that strive to address educational disparities and workforce needs at Minnesota State.
Improve Minnesota State supplier procurement practices with minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) and veteran owned businesses.
Recruit and retain a more diverse workforce across Minnesota State and address disparities affecting employees of color and American Indian employees.
Achieve equity in student success academic outcomes across all Minnesota State colleges and universities to support Equity 2030.
Improve compliance support and capacity for colleges, universities, and the Minnesota State system office and college and university compliance with Board of Trustees Policies 1B.1, 1B.2, and 1B.3 as supported by state and federal civil rights laws.
Ensure civil rights compliance of campuses receiving federal funding (i.e. Perkins Funds).
Support the work to ensure welcoming and inclusive environments across Minnesota State.
Official Juneteenth Statement from the Office of Equity and Inclusion
"We find ourselves in the midst of acknowledging the painful truth that persistent and systemic racism continues to grip aspects of our society and fuels deep injustice toward African Americans. As a system, as campuses, and as a broader community, we must acknowledge and learn from the lived experiences of our African American students and colleagues. We must commit to building the capacity to have difficult conversations and that begins with the recognition that their lives and lived experiences matter."
To read our official statement in its entirety, please click: Office of Equity and Inclusion Juneteenth Statement
Official COVID-19 Statement from Minnesota State
"Minnesota State remains committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all stakeholders throughout the response to COVID-19. We recognize that the diversity of our student body and employees is one of our greatest strengths. While fear, concern, and anxiety are normal reactions to this public health challenge, we cannot let such feelings cloud our judgment, or lead us to target, stigmatize or discriminate against any individual or group. We must be aware that certain employee and student populations, especially those of Asian-descent, may experience xenophobia, racism or be treated differently on our campuses or in the surrounding community because of fears related to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Stigma, bias and misinformation hurt all of us, create mistrust and shift attention away from the critical effort to prevent and contain COVID-19. There is no excuse for xenophobia or discrimination and it will not be tolerated on our campuses."
To read our official statement in its entirety, please click: Minnesota State COVID-19 Statement
Minnesota State: Prioritizing an Inclusive Environment
Minnesota State is committed to maintaining an environment that prioritizes dignity and respect free from discrimination and is supportive of all members of our community affected by this global health crisis. Bias, discrimination, and harassment are against our values and violate Minnesota State policies. For more information, please go to https://www.minnstate.edu/board/policy/1b01.html.
For the latest COVID-19 updates for Minnesota State students, faculty, and staff, please visit:
Equity and Inclusion Priorities for COVID-19
This resource has been prepared by the Office of Equity and Inclusion with support from Campus Diversity Officers around Minnesota State. The purpose of this document is designed to assist campus leaders, faculty, students and staff in providing suggestions for areas of priority during the COVID-19 crisis to advance a supportive, positive, and inclusive campus climate.
To read our full list of priorities, please click: COVID-19 Priorities
The Office of Equity and Inclusion undertook a strategic planning process in spring 2019, to better inform and align its work of establishing the strategy for diversity, equity, and inclusion with the strategies of Minnesota State. It builds on previous equity and inclusion strategic plans (both 2011-2015, and 2015-2017), and draws on the commitment of the Minnesota State chancellor and chancellor’s cabinet to address equity education gaps through the Equity 2030 framework. Equity 2030 aims to eliminate educational equity gaps at all colleges and universities of Minnesota State by 2030. This strategic plan is intended to guide the Office of Equity and Inclusion’s work in the immediate and long-term future (2020-2025).
As of January 2020, the Office of Equity and Inclusion has received feedback from campus diversity officers (CDOs), Minnesota State leadership, bargaining units, and student associations (Lead Minnesota and Students United) on the priority areas and Minnesota State goals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In the coming months, the Office of Equity and Inclusion will continue to engage in a consultative process and review the strategic plan with additional key stakeholders including Minnesota State divisions (HR, ASA, etc.), the chancellor’s cabinet, the Minnesota State Leadership Council (college and university presidents), and bargaining units to ensure a collaborative approach to setting and achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.
Strategic Priority Areas and Goals
The Office of Equity and Inclusion has identified four strategic priority areas which outline specific goals within each area that are consistent with its Theory of Change and emphasize that work in one area relies on and influences work in all other areas. The four priorities rely on strong partnerships and collaboration across Minnesota State and are designed to achieve diverse, equitable, and inclusive working and learning environments within the system. They are as follows:
- Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Expertise and Strategy Build equity minded practitioners (administrators, faculty and staff) through professional development opportunities.
- Equity in Academic Outcomes Ensure all Minnesota State students have access to equitable opportunities in all aspects of their education and that all colleges and universities are student ready to serve a more diverse student body.
- Civil Rights Compliance Improve support and resources for colleges and universities related to compliance with federal and state civil rights laws and supporting board policies.
- Campus Climate Support the work of Minnesota State colleges and universities to ensure welcoming and inclusive environments across the colleges and universities.
Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion
As Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion, Andriel has oversight responsibilities for the system-wide strategy to support diversity, equity and inclusion. Prior to joining Minnesota State, Andriel served as the Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Capella University, Chief Diversity Officer at University of Wisconsin River-Falls, and Associate Dean of Multicultural Affairs at William Mitchell College of Law (now Mitchell Hamline).
Associate Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion
As Associate Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion, Dr. Shah collaborative leads major efforts to advance the System’s and Office of Equity and Inclusion’s strategic goals to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion. His work focuses on taking a holistic and multifaceted approach to improving and mitigating disparate outcomes and experiences for marginalized and underrepresented stakeholders. Dr. Shah originally joined the System Office as the Director of Equity Assessment in October 2019.
Priyank’s academic research focuses on examining factors that shape disparities in educational attainment and outcomes between demographic groups and his professional background is in institutional research and effectiveness, advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education, and strategic planning. He holds a PhD in Sociology from the Ohio State University and Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Sociology from the University at Buffalo, SUNY.
Prior to joining the System Office, Priyank served as the Director of Institutional Research at Rochester Community and Technical College. Originally from the New York City area, he now lives in Rochester with his partner and 3-year old daughter.
Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance Officer
On August 5, 2020 Mrs. Clark joined the Office of Equity and Inclusion as the Interim Civil Rights/Title IX Compliance Officer. In her role, Desireè will be responsible for guiding compliance efforts for federal and state nondiscrimination laws, along with the policies and procedures relevant to Minnesota State. Desireè comes to us from St. Cloud State University where she has been the Affirmative Action Officer and Title IX/1B.1/1B.3 Investigator in their Office for Institutional Equity & Access for the last 5 years.
Desireè is a proud alumni of St. Cloud State University where she earned her Master’s Degree in Social Responsibility. She also received her Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree with a focus on modern dance and ballet at University of Missouri, Kansas City.
Project Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Tarrence Robertson is an openly transgender man and currently serves as the Project Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Minnesota State Office of Equity and Inclusion. His work focuses on driving several projects and strategies to advance equity and inclusion and address equity gaps for both employee and student stakeholder groups. Tarrence recently retired from the MN Army National Guard as a Major, where he led numerous strategic planning efforts and served as the champion of the MN Army National Guard LGBTQ+ Special Emphasis Council.
He is currently pursuing graduate studies focusing on issues of race and equity at Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minnesota. His undergraduate degree is biomedical science from St. Cloud State University, Minnesota. A few of his awards include: Bronze Star Medal, (2) Meritorious Service Medals, Combat Action Badge, (3) Army Commendation Medals, (5) Army Achievement Medals, and numerous civilian recognitions.
Itasca Campus: Harold Annette at Harold.Annette@minnesotanorth.edu
Rainy River Campus: Brad Krasaway at Brad.Krasaway@minnesotanorth.edu
Hibbing Campus: Aaron Reini at Aaron.Reini@minnesotanorth.edu
Mesbai Campus: Antavius Thomas at Antavius.Thomas@minnesotanorth.edu
Vermilion Campus: Chris Koivisto at Chris.Koivisto@minnesotanorth.edu
Abdullahi Farahabdigaani at Abdullahi.Farahabdigaani@mnwest.edu
“The Campus Diversity Officer or CDO strengthens the college or university local and national leadership in advancing institutional diversity; maintains a balanced advocacy role between historic considerations of access and equity for students and the expanded portfolio of institutional transformation; establishes and maintains strong, effective collaborative partnerships with peers across the college or university; and develops partnerships and programs with diverse communities and constituencies across the region or state to respond effectively to their needs.” - Mark Emmert, president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and former president of the University of Washington.
The CDO is an integrative role that coordinates, leads, enhances, and in some instances supervises formal diversity capabilities of the institution in an effort to create an environment that is inclusive and excellent for all. Within this context, diversity is not merely a demographic goal but a strategic priority that is fundamental to creating a dynamic educational and work environment that fulfills the teaching, learning, research, and service mission of postsecondary institutions (Damon Williams, 2012). For additional information on the strategy, structure, and change management of campus chief diversity roles, refer to "The Chief Diversity Officer" by Damon Williams and Katrina C. Wade-Golden.
Minnesota State campus CDOs strive to build strategic diversity capacity at the institutional level. Key competencies as defined by the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education include:
- Multidisciplinary appreciation of diverse cultures, communities, and histories that constitute American society.
- Understanding of American traditions of democracy, active citizenship and how they serve as a means to understand and resolve conflicts linked to race, ethnicity, gender, and class.
- Ability to describe the historical patterns and demographics of American society in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and class.
- Ability to carry out an intellectual discourse with diverse peoples for the purpose of evaluating public policy and creating a shared vision for American society.
- Development of problem-solving and analytical skills for diverse issues, with an understanding of the diverse American culture and the higher education field.
- Knowledge of the origins and systemic nature of prejudice, discrimination, and oppression that has been directed toward people of diverse backgrounds and orientations.
- Capacity to visualize public situations and issues involving diversity from multiple perspectives.
- Understanding of current experiences and issues in the U.S. of different racial groups (including discrimination in all forms, experiences, and privilege).
- Ability to think about race in the U.S. context of global diversity, patterns of prejudice, and equity.
Campus Diversity Officers can find resources at the SO-Campus Diversity Officers Team Site. If you need access please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line: Access to CDO Team Site.
Check out some of our stories in the news and various publications:
Commitment to Inclusive Excellence
More than an initiative or a short term approach, Inclusive Excellence informs every effort, aspect, and level of our work.