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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:

  • 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.

Office of Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan: 2020-2023 

Diversity and Equity Strategic Planning Toolkit

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:

  1. Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Expertise and Strategy Build equity minded practitioners (administrators, faculty and staff) through professional development opportunities.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Campus Climate Support the work of Minnesota State colleges and universities to ensure welcoming and inclusive environments across the colleges and universities.

Andriel Dees
Andriel Dees

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).

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 to the Vice Chancellor




Desiree Clark

Desiree' Clark
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.

Tarrence Robertson

Tarrence Robertson

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.

Tarnjeet Kang

Director of Equity Assessment 

Tarnjeet K. Kang is an interdisciplinary researcher who advocates for community-centered, inter-sectional and participatory approaches to research. Recently, she has worked in South Sudan to support the research and evaluation needs of United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations. Prior to this she has worked as a lecturer and in California's educational policy sector. She holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy Studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. 

Alexandria Technical and Community College
Cindy Hager at
Eli Dotts at

Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Brandyn Woodard at

Anoka Technical College
Brandyn Woodard at

Bemidji State University
Chrissy Downwind at

Central Lakes College
Mary Sam at

Century College
Rosa Rodriguez at

Dakota County Technical College
Rachel Roberson E-mail:

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

Hennepin Technical College

Inver Hills Community College
Rachel Roberson E-mail:

Lake Superior College
Sarah Lyons at

Metropolitan State University
Josefina Landrieu at

Minneapolis Community and Technical College
Trumanue Lindsey at

Minnesota North

Itasca Campus: Harold Annette at
Rainy River Campus: Brad Krasaway at
Hibbing Campus:
Mesbai Campus: Antavius Thomas at
Vermilion Campus: Chris Koivisto at

Minnesota State College - Southeast
Pao Vue at

Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Jocelyn Santana at

Minnesota State University Moorhead
Frank King at
Jered Pigeon at

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Henry Morris at

Minnesota West Community and Technical College
Abdullahi Farahabdigaani at

Normandale Community College
John Parker-Der Boghossian at

North Hennepin Community College
Eda Watts at

Northland Community and Technical College
Michelle Benitt at

Northwest Technical College
Chrissy Downwind at

Pine Technical College
Robin Johnson at

Ridgewater College
Mark Taylor at

Riverland Community College
Dani Heiny at

Rochester Community and Technical College 
Interim - Teresa Brown at:

Saint Paul College
Wendy Roberson at

South Central College
John Harper at

Southwest Minnesota State University
Alexander Wood at

St. Cloud State University
Chocoletta Simpson at:

St Cloud Technical and Community College
Debra Leigh 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 find resources at the SO-Campus Diversity Officers Team Site. If you need access please contact with subject line: Access to CDO Team Site.

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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