Diversity and Community Engagement
Preparing students for tomorrow's challenges is one of the most important goals for any institution of higher learning. Of the many initiatives the UT Dallas leadership outlined in its Strategic Plan, perhaps none could have a greater impact than the decision to strongly support excellence and inclusion by creating the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement (ODCE) to recognize, enhance and celebrate diversity.
To meet its goals, three new departments were created: Faculty Diversity, Community Engagement and Institutional Diversity Initiatives. The Community Engagement arm reaches beyond the campus into the community to forge a stronger working relationship with different constituencies, including highly underrepresented minority high schools, community colleges and corporations across the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The Faculty Diversity arm aims to provide leadership for achieving and sustaining faculty diversity as an indispensable element of academic excellence. The Institutional Diversity Initiatives arm develops grants, communications, and maintains and publishes a diversity scorecard.
Manager, Grants and Contracts
Kerri West is the Manager of Grants and Contracts for the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement. In this role, she works to build philanthropic support and strategic relationships aimed at enhancing and expanding diversity initiatives at UT Dallas.
Before joining UT Dallas in July 2013, West served as Associate Director of the Institute on Disability and Public Policy at American University, where she provided strategic leadership for an international network of university and outreach partners focused on research and education on disability policy. Previously, she served as a project manager at the Stimson Center?an international peace and security think tank in Washington, DC?and as an associate at Human Rights Watch. She has also held short-term assignments with the U.S. State Department in Vienna, Austria and with the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining in Geneva, Switzerland.
A proud alumna of UT Dallas, West was a Eugene McDermott Scholar and received a bachelor’s degree in American Studies. She earned her master’s degree in Security Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 2012.
ChaRhonda Chilton joined the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement as a Temporary Employee April 2014 as the Administrative Assistant to Interim Vice President Dr. George Fair. Before joining UT Dallas, ChaRhonda has worked at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center and UT Southwestern Medical Center.
ChaRhonda's responsibilities include assisting the vice president with the day-to-day operational management of the ODCE, providing support to the departments of Faculty Diversity, Community Engagement, Institutional Initiatives, the Multicultural Center and the Galerstein Women's Center.
The Office of Diversity and Community Engagement was originally opened on September 8, 2008, and is located in the Administration Building 3.207.