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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:


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:

Office of Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan: 2020-2023 

Diversity and Equity Strategic Planning Toolkit

Date: March 2, 2020

From: Dr. Clyde Wilson Pickett, System Diversity Officer 

I wish to share appreciation and commend the combined efforts of colleagues and students across our colleges and universities, who were instrumental in the development of the plan. Please know that I am eternally appreciative for all your time, efforts and feedback in crafting this plan. Throughout the process, our team built upon the work being advanced across our system to further renew our commitment to ensure that individuals of all identities, from all backgrounds, and with varying life experiences are supported with inclusive and equitable environments across
Minnesota State.

The attached final plan and appended toolkit identifies the goals and initiatives which will make our work further impactful and lasting. I affirm that our work must systematically address the historic and institutional barriers which have hindered equitable access, opportunities, and outcomes for historically marginalized and underrepresented individuals. I further understand that our commitment must support our students, extend to our faculty, staff, administrators, and also impact our surrounding communities.

As I pause to reflect upon our successes as part of our work to this point, I recognize that we must not be content as there is much work yet to be done. I understand that the years to come will present new challenges and this plan will serve as the next step in advancing our efforts to help transform our campuses and system office to achieve our diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

Thank you once again for your commitment and dedication in supporting the work in drafting this plan and for all your efforts to support our students, faculty, and staff in Minnesota State. If you have questions or would like additional support regarding the strategic plan and/or toolkit, please contact Josefina Landrieu, Assistant Diversity Officer at or Tarrence Robertson, Project Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at

Andriel Dees
Andriel Dees

Interim System Diversity Officer

As Interim System Diversity Officer, 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).

Andriel holds a Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia.

Ka Her

Ka Her
Executive Assistant





Desiree Clark

Desiree Clark
Interim Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance Officer

On August 5, 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.

Priyank Shah

Priyank Shah
Director of Equity Assessment

Dr. Shah joined the Office of Equity and Inclusion at Minnesota State as the Director of Equity Assessment in October 2019. In this role, he will be focusing on collaboratively advancing the System’s and Office of Equity and Inclusion’s strategic goals with a focus on guiding assessment efforts, developing metrics, and evaluating and promoting equity minded strategies and best practices.

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 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 live in Rochester with his wife and 3-year old daughter.   

Tarrence Robertson

Tarrence Robertson

Project Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Tarrence Robertson joined the Minnesota State team in August 2019 after returning from his second deployment overseas. Tarrence currently serves as the Project Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Minnesota State Office of Equity and Inclusion. Additionally, Tarrence is a Major within the Minnesota Army National Guard where he serves as the principal Engineering Planner within the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division.

Once a former felon who experienced homelessness, gendered violence, and overcame substance abuse issues, Tarrence’s personal and professional journey have placed him at the forefront of battling systemic oppression across a multitude of institutions and systems. As an openly transgender man, Tarrence is widely recognized as a leader and advocate for LGBTQIA+ communities both inside, and outside of the military.

In his previous role working full-time in the National Guard, Tarrence developed Minnesota’s Substance Abuse Prevention Program and served as the Program Manager overseeing the Army National Guard’s Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention Programs across a 7-state region. A few of Tarrence’s accomplishments include: Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Two Army Commendation Medals, Five Army Achievement Medals, MN Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Lavender Community Award, MN Lynx Inspiring Person Award, an exhibit featured in the US Army Women’s History Museum, and one local Emmy award.

Alexandria Technical and Community College
Muzambe Sibajene at

Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Venoreen Brown-Boatswain at

Anoka Technical College
Venoreen Brown-Boatswain at

Bemidji State University
Interim: Travis Greene at

Central Lakes College
Mary Sam at

Century College
Rosa Rodriguez at

Dakota County Technical College
Michael Birchard at

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

Hennepin Technical College
Jean Maierhofer at

Hibbing Community College
Miriam Kero at

Inver Hills Community College
Michael Birchard at

Itasca Community College
Harold Annette at

Lake Superior College
Sarah Lyons at

Mesabi Range Community and Technical College
Antavius Thomas at

Metropolitan State University

Minneapolis Community and Technical College
Interim: Patrick Troup

Minnesota State College - Southeast
Interim: Josiah Litant at

Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Johnathan Judd at

Minnesota State University Moorhead
Jered Pigeon at

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Henry Morris at

Minnesota West Community and Technical College
Le Lucht at

Normandale Community College
John Parker-Der Boghossian at

North Hennepin Community College
Eda Watts at

Northland Community and Technical College
Kristi Lane at

Northwest Technical College
Interim: Travis Greene at

Pine Technical College
Jen Rancour at

Rainy River Community College
Brad Krasaway at

Ridgewater College
Stacy Griffey at

Riverland Community College
Danielle Heiny at

Rochester Community and Technical College

Saint Paul College
Wendy Roberson at

South Central College
John Harper at

Southwest Minnesota State University
Jay Lee at

St. Cloud State University
Ellyn Bartges at

St Cloud Technical and Community College
Debra Leigh at

Vermilion Community College
Timothy Loney at

Winona State University
Jonathan Locust at

“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 click here to access resources in Office 365 SharePoint. Remember to use your specific

Commitment to Inclusive Excellence

More than an initiative or a short term approach, Inclusive Excellence informs every effort, aspect, and level of our work.

Inclusive Excellence re-envisions both quality and diversity. It reflects a striving for excellence in higher education that has been made more inclusive by decades of work to infuse diversity into recruiting, admissions, and hiring; into the curriculum and co-curriculum; and into administrative structures and practices. It also embraces newer forms of excellence, and expanded ways to measure excellence, that take into account research on learning and brain functioning, the assessment movement, and more nuanced accountability structures. In the same way, diversity and inclusion efforts move beyond numbers of students or numbers of programs as end goals. Instead, they are multi-layered processes through which we achieve excellence in learning; research and teaching; student development; institutional functioning; local and global community engagement; workforce development; and more. -Williams, et. al (AAC&U)

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