Greetings! I am humbled and honored to serve you as the Interim Deputy Vice Chancellor for Diversity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer and to lead the UW-Madison Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement.
When my family first moved to Madison, I had the privilege of working in the community as the education and academic administrator with the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. It was the perfect introduction to the Greater Madison community, its people, history, needs, goals, and dreams.
Serving as an Assistant Vice Provost in the Division for the past three years, I’ve become familiar not only with UW-Madison, but a renewed knowledge of higher education trends and challenges through the University’s expansive role and leadership as a major research institution.
UW-Madison is in the midst of critical work implementing its comprehensive diversity framework, which encompasses decades of thought, research, initiatives and commitment. Our work in diversity, equity and inclusion is more crucial than ever in what feels like a turning point in history. We don’t have to be in the same room or building to share mutual thoughts – proximity of agreement can be tiny or immense because it emanates from within. We can instinctively agree to do the right thing – the best thing for everyone — and I’m excited to be working with you on transferring our mutual desire into meaningful and effective change.
Without missing a beat the hard-working staff of the DDEEA has pushed forward with educating our gifted scholars and supporting the Wisconsin Idea. I have just one request of the Badger Nation – please reach out to any student, especially first-year scholars and new graduate-level scholars and welcome them to our campus community. Let them know although we may be physically separated for now, they are not alone on their journey and always within reach of the Badger Spirit and support.
Our commitment to leading, supporting and promoting inclusion, equity and diversity will not waiver, as we build a virtual campus experience that is safe, encouraging and inclusive through our pipeline and scholarship programs like PEOPLE Summer University. We’re so grateful to our alumni like Gabriel Stulman for sharing his personal story of how becoming a Badger was integral to who he is and realizing success. And we will continue to build our sense of community through traditional and innovative ways to uplift the contributions of campus peers like our annual Call for Outstanding Women of Color Nominations.
If we rise to the Call to Action, we have an opportunity to apply our collective skills in overcoming adversity while mentoring one another. I’m not saying what lies ahead from the global pandemic and the transition to virtual communication and learning or the unprecedented call for social change will be easy, but I do believe together we’ll come out stronger and better prepared for the future than we could have ever imagined.
Cheryl B. Gittens, Ed.D.
Interim Deputy Vice Chancellor for Diversity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer
Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement