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Director champions campus diversity

Erin Foltz
Staff Writer

Daniel Loera is on a mission to create an environment of diversity and acceptance on the University of La Verne campus.

As an important member of the President’s Working Group on Diversity, he is already on the fast track to implementing the new Strategic Plan for Diversity.

Loera, the director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, has been working for the University of La Verne for about 10 years.

His most recent task has been to address issues of diversity on campus and his focus has always been primarily the students.

Since October 2009, he has been working with a group of nine people on the Strategic Diversity Plan.

“We have been working on the plan for a few months now, and now that we are in the position to begin implementing it on campus, we want to make sure that we do it in a way that is well-thought out and planned accordingly,” Loera said

The members of the group were chosen for their zeal in various areas of diversity and through the rich conversations they have had discussing the topic, a fundamental plan was built.

“We need to feel that we have gotten enough feedback from students and faculty so we are content we have a shared vision for the plan,” Loera said.

Diversity is not just a list of traits. Diversity is a set of conscious practices, Loera said.

Some of the ways the plan aims to create a more diverse campus include creating a welcoming climate, recruiting and retaining a diverse student body, faculty and staff, and ensuring that the curriculum supports and reflects the goals of diversity.

“Promoting and sustaining diversity is an active and intentional commitment to academic excellence and intellectual integrity, as well as a tool to help develop the whole person and help educate students to become contributing citizens,” Loera said.

“We are very excited about the plan we have created,” Loera said.

“The process of implementing it on campus will be made possible by allowing people to read the document, letting us know what they think and taking it upon themselves to be able to have conversations with students and faculty to help create a shared vision of diversity,” Loera said.

Other members of the Presidents Working Group on Diversity believe that Loera is the perfect person for this job, and a pleasure to collaborate with.

“Daniel is extremely important to this group because he is great at brainstorming and keeping the human side of diversity in mind and how conversations about it need to be straightforward and compassionate,” said Zandra Wagoner, assistant dean of undergraduate studies.

“Daniel is very conscientious about how we need to incorporate the students’ needs into the plan,” Wagoner said.

Students are very impressed with the work Loera and the Working Group on Diversity have done so far.
“The plan Daniel helped create is a great start for projecting new ideas and meeting the needs of students being we want to be a more diverse campus,” Lili Gradilla, senior liberal studies major who attended one of Loera’s diversity presentations.

“The main issue is there are a lot of opportunities for improvements, and implementing the program Daniel has been working on will help fulfill these areas and meet the expectations of students and faculty,” Gradilla said.

Erin Foltz can be reached at erin.foltz@laverne.edu.

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