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Chalane Lechuga, Ph.D., named director of Faculty Diversity Research and Development

She will work with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to develop, implement and collaborate on programs that support professional development.

By Lindsey Coulter

September 15, 2021

Chalane Lechuga, Ph.D.Chalane Lechuga, Ph.D., associate professor of Chicana/o Studies, was recently named Metropolitan State University of Denver’s inaugural director of Faculty Diversity Research and Development. Lechuga, a seasoned pedagogue, has served as a faculty fellow for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion over the past four years. She brings the theoretical foundation, research expertise and understanding necessary to move the needle forward on MSU Denver’s faculty diversity efforts.

In her new role, Lechuga will work with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to promote a campus culture in which faculty members are welcomed and supported. This includes conducting research on faculty diversity and pathways to and through the professoriate. She will develop, implement and collaborate on faculty recruitment and retention efforts, with a particular focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. As a member of the vice president for Diversity and Inclusion’s leadership team, Lechuga also will create, maintain and assess initiatives that promote and foster an inclusive climate within academic units, with an emphasis on underrepresented and minoritized faculty representation. This will include facilitating the design and coordination of programs and workshops that foster inclusive and culturally responsive pedagogic development, leadership development, mentoring, networking, community building and career progression.  

“This an important time at MSU Denver as we embark on the next journey of our University’s new 2030 Strategic Plan, which includes DEI as one of the central pillars,” said Michael Benitez, Ph.D., vice president for Diversity and Inclusion. “Part of this work includes assuring a demonstrated and resourced commitment to advancing faculty diversity to reflect not only our student body but the type of inclusive and culturally relevant pedagogy necessary for a world-class education.”

“It is so refreshing to see institutional recognition of and support for this work, and I’m grateful to be able to contribute in this way,” Lechuga said.

Lechuga’s teaching and scholarly activity demonstrate her lifelong commitment to social justice as it manifests through the educational pipeline. As a Chicana/o/x Studies scholar, she is grounded in the sociology of race, ethnicity and education and seeks to reveal the multiplicity of Latina/o/x identities, to be responsive to students’ multiple and intersectional identities and to educate the larger society about the effects of public policy and educational practices. Her substantive focus has been on the barriers and facilitators of educational attainment for Latina/o/xs and is situated in a historical flashpoint of civil-rights and social-justice actions: the schools. 

Further along the educational pipeline and in the context of her work with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Lechuga has engaged in research that explores the pathways through the professoriate at MSU Denver and advocates for the recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty members in higher education through a history of and commitment to developing and implementing practices, programs and policies that support their recruitment and retention.

“Dr. Lechuga was the clear person to assume this new role, given her experience as faculty member, her  scholarship and deep knowledge of faculty diversity issues in higher education,” Benitez said. “The office recently launched the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Faculty Fellows program with the aim of supporting MSU Denver’s schools and colleges to develop strategies and promising practices for faculty diversity recruitment, retention and success. I am excited that Dr. Lechuga will be leading this work.”

Stay tuned for a follow-up story on the EDI Faculty Fellows Initiative featuring fellows Jovan Hernandez, Ph.D. (Psychological Sciences); Eric Olson, Ph.D. (School of Hospitality); Ofelia Schepers, Ph.D. (Elementary Education and Literacy); and K Scherrer, Ph.D. (Social Work).

Topics: CADRE, Diversity, Excellence, Inclusion

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