Diversity Taskforce Named at UHD
President-Appointed Group Members to Include Faculty, Staff, Students
By Mike Emery
This week, University Community members assembled for the first meeting of the institution’s Diversity Taskforce.
The group, which includes faculty, staff and students, has been formed to address issues of race, gender, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status and the many ideologies that are of relevance to UHD and the region. Its immediate goals include creating actionable steps that will create positive changes on campus with respect to diversity, inclusion and equity.
“The Diversity Taskforce will explore the many challenges faced by UHD and other universities with regard to cultural diversity. It also will support our institution by monitoring trends and issues affecting higher education and our community,” said UHD Interim President Antonio D. Tillis, Ph.D. “The faculty, staff and students selected for this group will bring different perspectives to the table and help our institution develop strategies and practices that support diversity and inclusivity.”
Taskforce members (appointed by Interim President Tillis with recommendations from his Cabinet) are as follows:
- Erika Harrison, Title IX Equity and Diversity Officer
- Jennifer Bloom, UH System Senior Assistant General Counsel
- Dr. Jerry Johnson, Associate Vice President of Faculty, Research and Sponsored Programs
- Chetiqua Matthews-Herron, Director of Talent Acquisition and Management
- Dr. Ron Beebe, Professor of Urban Education and Faculty Senate President
- Dr. Vida Robertson, Associate Professor of History, Humanities and Languages and Director of Center for Critical Race Studies
- Bobbi Shaw, Accounting Specialist and Staff Council President
- Dr. Meritza Tamez, Interim Dean of Students
- Kedrienne Day, Associate Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations
- Dr. Whitney Botsford Morgan, Associate Professor of Management and Insurance Risk Management
- Alan Modrow, Student Government President
- Krysti Turnquest, Project Director for Title V Accelerated Transfer Program
- Jesse Lopez, Coordinator
- Ali Maghoo, Assistant Director of UHD's Office of Study Abroad
- Daniel Villanueva, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management and Registrar
- Dr. Creshema Murray, Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Special Assistant to the President
- Samantha Moseley, President of UHD’s Black Student Association
This group will undertake a range of prospective tasks throughout the academic year that may include developing training for UHD Community members on a range of topics, including microaggressions and implicit bias; reviewing campus policies and procedures; providing actions/steps related to diversity statements from campus groups (Student Government Association, Faculty Senate, Center for Critical Race Studies and others).
The Diversity Taskforce complements a number of other initiatives and programs focused on enhancing diversity and inclusion on campus. These include the Center for Critical Race Studies, the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, the Lab for Equity in Action in the College of Public Service and SynergiE in the College of Sciences & Technology. Additionally, UHD recently was recognized for its efforts in diversity and inclusion with the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award by INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine.
“It goes without saying that UHD is among the most culturally diverse institutions in our city and within the state,” said Interim President Tills. “Our institution hosts a number of programs and centers aimed at generating dialogue and promoting tolerance and understanding. This Taskforce will support all of their efforts and work to ensure our campus remains a fair, welcoming environment for Houstonians to learn and work.”
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.