Forward Momentum on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


A lot has happened since our last Diversity, Equity and Inclusion update.

We’ve said goodbye to a few of our DEI working group members and gained a few more that are just as passionate about this work and have already made incredible contributions to our progress.

Our current roster of DEI working group members are Alex Pan, Anthony Sampson, Avery Rissling, Karen Carter, Nataša Goronja, Ricardo Cortez, Sharon Bunyard, and Kailyn Pedersen

In June 2022, we were pleased to have Fellow Kailyn Pedersen, SCU ‘23, join the team as our first DEI student intern. She came to Miller Center with genuine concern for making lasting change within the Center. After hearing her story and journey, her passion for DEI was palpable, and we are happy to have her on board. Be sure to check out her blog.

Roughly nine months ago, Miller Center joined Santa Clara University’s Council on Inclusive Excellence. This group of select individuals from across campus, along with the University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, work on exploring and developing systemic policy change across campus.

Each liaison is responsible for their own unit and was tasked with the following (not a comprehensive list):

  • They must engage their work units, departments, and teams, and complete a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis of their DEI status
  • SWOT’s are turned into summaries and themes are categorized into one of the following: Access & Success, Climate and Intergroup Relations, Education and Scholarship, Infrastructure and Investments, Community and Partnerships.
  • From this summary, we then developed a strategic plan with goals for each category.

I am a firm believer in keeping folks up to date on processes, especially when working on a priority of this magnitude. I was fortunate to be able to hold quite a few working sessions with the entire Miller Center staff on our SWOT analysis — assessing our strengths and opportunities, dissecting our weaknesses and threats, and engaging in discussion around DEI strategic goals. From there, we implemented DEI tracking in our annual workplan and reported our DEI dashboard in this year’s annual report! All of this work throughout the year has allowed us to engage in dialogue and identify solutions that are actionable and practical.

We recently submitted our Miller Center Strategic Plan for review by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Without getting into too much preemptive detail, at a fundamental level Miller Center wishes to increase our diversity in all areas of work — from recruiting and hiring efforts to develop ways to better engage with students and mentors from various backgrounds, to actively engaging in and supporting DEI events across campus and in the community. These are among the goals we will work on for the next two years of strategic implementation. Once we receive final approval, we will post our plan online for the purposes of transparency and accountability.

Taking on DEI work is a layer of my job that I never expected. I am forever grateful to be a part of an amazing team that embraces change and seeks to carve out important spaces for our voices to be heard. It’s hard to put into words how incredibly fulfilling it feels to see change happening and being embraced, both in the Center and across the University.